LIS-S 584 Archival Arrangement and Description
- Prerequisite(s): LIS-S 500, LIS-S 507, and LIS-S 581
- Delivery: Online
- Semesters offered: Fall, Spring (Check the schedule to confirm.)
This course explores the theories, terms, concepts, principles and methods of arrangement and description of documents and materials in archives. Students will be introduced to the principles of archival description as expressed in Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) and implementation of those principles through Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and MARC structures. Other topics will include the nature of archival aggregations; the principles of provenance, respect des fonds and original order; the history and development of archival description; issues and technologies related to current archival descriptive standards; authority and subject analysis work in archival description; and an introduction to Encoded Archival ContextCorporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF).
Program Learning Goals Supported
Instructors map their courses to specific LIS Program Goals. Mapped program goals drive the design of each course and what students can expect to generally learn.
- Connect Core Values and Professional Ethics to Practice
- Curate Collections for Designated Communities
- Organize and Represent Information
- Conduct Systematic Research to Inform Decisions
- Innovate Professional Practice with Information Services and Technology
Instructors develop learning outcomes for their courses. Students can expect to be able to achieve the learning outcomes for a given course after successfully completing the course.
- Analyze the historical context and evolution of practices, principles, standards, and tools for archival arrangement and description, including the impact on representation and access.
- Evaluate how core archival functions of selection, appraisal & acquisition, arrangement & description, relate to each other and influence the administration of archival materials.
- Compare and contrast processing methods and application of archival principles.
- Apply knowledge through firsthand analysis of a fonds: assess existing order, design, and implement an arrangement and description plan, interpret and apply archival principles (provenance and original order), methods, and concepts (hierarchical levels of control, physical v. intellectual order).
- Distinguish types of standards used for archival description (content, data structure, data value), compare/contrast, interpret relationships, and apply standards.
- Develop skills for discovery, navigation, creation, and dissemination of archival description in an Archives Management System (AMS) and access tools through systems exploration, analysis, and input of a finding aid in an AMS.
- Author an original DACS-compliant, multilevel finding aid, interpreting and applying DACS and completing subject analysis to create standardized access points and authority records.
- Encode a multi-level record with appropriate data structure (encoding) and complimentary content standards.
Instruction is in Canvas. Lessons are organized into Modules whose length may vary.
Module 1: Intro and Basics, Weeks 1-3
History and Principles; Introduction to Archival description
- Review provenance and original order
- Build context for archival description before standards like DACS and EAD
- Cultivate an understanding of factors influencing archival appraisal and acquisitions (e.g. policy, resources, culture, politics)
- Consider how archives change over time
- Demonstrate comprehension of overall acquisitions, appraisal and accessioning
- Analyze relationship of appraisal and accessioning to collection processing (A&D)
- Understand the work of addressing collections gaps via acquisitions
- Recognize mechanics of accessioning, creation of accession records, and integration of minimal processing as part of process
Basics of Processing and Finding Aids
- Define the finding aid, its purpose and the four types of information it provides
- Identify phases of arrangement and comprehend how to break down actions and plan a project
- Differentiate structure, content and encoding (data interchange) standards
- Recognize distinct features of archival description vs. other types of resource description
Module 2: DACS, Weeks 4-6
- Analyze a fonds; apply archival principles and methods to arrange and describe it
- Record arrangement and description plans with a processing plan template
- Demonstrate and apply knowledge of DACS through authoring a DACS-compliant finding aid
- Review principles underlying DACS & recognize how they are expressed through elements and the rules for formulating them.
- Recognize DACS identity and content and structure elements
- Differentiate levels of description and core elements useful below the collection level
DACS-Doing the Work
- Recognize DACS access and use, acquisition and appraisal, and other elements
Authority Control and Subject Analysis in Archival Description
- Gain familiarity with archival authority records in DACS
- Understand subject analysis for archival description
- Complete subject analysis for sample collection as part of planning processing
Module 3: MARC, Week 7
- Become familiar with MARC for archival collections
- Interpret relationships between standards (crosswalks)
- Explain purpose of single-level resource records
- Demonstrate knowledge with a quiz
Module 4: Archives Management Systems (AMS), Weeks 8-9
- Become familiar with AMS and compare/contrast leading systems
- Learn how to navigate AtoM public interface and back end
- Apply knowledge and practice entering archival description in AtoM
- Demonstrate overall understanding of systems functionality
Module 5: EAD and EAC-CPF, Weeks 10-12
- Establish EAD literacy
- Apply knowledge and practice creating an EAD record in oXygen
- Establish EAC-CPF literacy
- Articulate applications
- Understand development and relationship to EAD
Module 6: Access and Representation, Weeks 13-15
- Build awareness and knowledge of union catalog, aggregators, portals with collaboratively created or contributed description, and other discovery services
- Evaluate the role of stands in tools, systems, or services
- Articulate differences, advantages, and disadvantages of access tools from user and archivist perspectives
Born Digital Arrangement and Description
- Differentiate processing born-digital from analog records
- Identify differences in description process and approach
Issues of Representation and Outreach
- Discuss context and challenges of unequal representation in archives and the role of description
- Critique SAA Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics against realities of legacy practices
- Identify emerging reparative archival practices
Policies and Procedures
Please be aware of the following linked policies and procedures. Note that in individual courses instructors will have stipulations specific to their course.