Session 2: Archival Education in the Digital Age

Moderator: Sigrid McCausland (Charles Sturt University)
Preparing the Next Generation of Records and Information Management Professionals? / Donald Force (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)

Records and information management (RIM) is a growing need for many organizations. RIM professionals contribute to making organizations more effective and efficient, and therefore, more profitable. Moreover, RIM professionals also help reduce certain risk for organizations, such as legal or compliance. Despite the increasing need for RIM professionals, the future of the RIM professional remains in flux. There is a clear divide between expectations of employers for what constitutes a RIM professional and educational programs that try their best to prepare students to be these professionals. In short, the state of RIM education in academia has received little attention. Educators in archival studies continue to examine the nature of archival education but have overlooked the unique nature and needs of RIM professionals. Drawing on research that compares the activities and duties of RIM job announcements with RIM syllabi and topics at RIM conferences, this presentation evaluates the current state of RIM education in academia and discusses the future of the RIM professional. The presentation will explore the growing schism between the archives and RIM professions in North America and the implications of this division for archival studies programs, such as the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

To What Extent Does the Curriculum at Higher Learning Institutions in South Africa Embrace Records Stored in Networked Environments? / Mpho Ngoepe (University of South Africa)

The need for education in archives and records management cannot be over-emphasised especially in this era of technological developments. Education can help to empower archivists and records managers in tackling the challenges of managing records created in networked environments such as ensuring security, authenticity and integrity of records. In view of the tectonic shifts that have taken place within Africa, particularly South Africa and the use of social media in innovative ways, archives and records management professionals’ demands have changed. Additionally, the pressure for accountability is increasing. In the past there has been general weakness in accountability mechanisms and there is hope that new opportunities are brought about by digital access. Therefore, there is a need to align the curriculum at higher learning institutions in South Africa to also embrace records created in networked environments. This study will examine the archives and records management curricula in different educational institutions in South Africa and investigate the extent to which they address the changing digital environment. First, the websites of all 25 public universities in South Africa will be visited to identify schools offering archives and records management programmes. This will be followed by content analysis of the curricula of universities that offer archives and records management programme from the website. Lastly, the faculty members responsible for teaching these programmes will be interviewed. It is hoped that the study will inform curriculum development and review in the area of electronic records management at the universities in South Africa. It is recommended that the study be extended to the rest of universities in the Africa.

Bringing Digital Curation Projects into the Archives Classroom: Approaches and Strategies / Richard Marciano and Michael Kurtz (University of Maryland) 

Archival education programs increasingly confront the need to provide classroom and field study experiences that enable students to apply archival theory in hands-on, real world applications. This is particularly the case in the arena of digital archives and curation, where potential employers have an expectation that graduates of archival education programs will be fluent in all aspects of the management of digital information. In this presentation, we shall discuss current initiatives at Maryland’s iSchool that illustrate the intersection of education and research in preparing students for careers in the archives profession of the digital 21st century. We offer strategies that link classroom instruction and digital research projects (often multi-disciplinary) in creating holistic approach to archival education.