Understanding Records and Archives: Principles and Practices – UMich SI580

This 2009 Open.Michigan graduate course presents cornerstone terminology, concepts, and practices used in records management and archival administration. It also examines the evolution of methods and technologies used to create, store, organize, and preserve records, It also addresses the ways in which organizations and individuals use archives and records for ongoing operations, accountability, research, litigation, and organizational memory.

Learning Objectives

This course will train students to:

* understand why societies, cultures, organizations, and individuals create and keep records and archives.

* become familiar with the evolution of methods and technologies used to create, store, organize, and preserve records and archives.

* become conversant in the terminology and concepts used in archives and records administration.

* be aware of the ways that organizations and individuals use records and archives for research, ongoing operations, accountability, litigation, and organizational memory.

* understand the basic components of programs including inventory, classification, appraisal, disposition, acquisition, arrangement, description, preservation, reference, access, use, outreach, and public programming.

* understand the relationships between these program elements.

* be aware of the various environments where archives and records are created, managed, and used.

* understand how archival and recordkeeping practices differ from and relate to other information management practices.

* be aware of the legal, policy, and ethical issues surrounding archives and records administration.

* become familiar with the structure, organization, literature, and current issues in the archives and records professions.

Course Organization

This course combines lecture, discussion, demonstrations, and problem solving. It requires independent research and writing. Critical reading of course materials is essential to stimulate active participation and learning of the material.

The course is based on 13 lectures, a final project, and a final exam. Recommended reading is assigned with most every lecture. Lecture slides (PDF and PPT) are available for each session; however, no videos or audio is associated with the sessions. Several assignments were also given out during the course of the semester.

Original Syllabus

This is the original syllabus associated with this course: PDFFile IconOriginal course syllabus for SI580

Further Reading

Two texts were originally required for the course:

Recommended reading was also assigned for every session. Consult the Recommended Reading associated with each session.

The Society of American Archivists has posted an online glossary that will also prove useful to you during this course.

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