Winter term classes at Michigan begin this week. I will be teaching as the instructor of record for “Understanding Records and Archives” (SI 580) at the UM School of Information. The course is an introduction and overview of major ideas, principles, practices, and current debates in the field of archives. The course provides an understanding of why cultures, organizations, and individuals create and keep records and make archives. We will examine the methods and technologies that have been used to create, store, organize, and preserve these materials. We will also consider how people and groups use records and archives for research, ongoing operations, accountability, and organizational memory, as well as the legal, policy, and ethical issues surrounding the administration and use of archives. Finally, students will understand the basic functions of archives including inventory, classification, appraisal, acquisition and disposition, arrangement, description, preservation, reference, access, use, outreach, and public programming.
If you are not able to take the course but interested in learning more about archival methods and issues, information about the course content, as well as an overview of the readings and materials, is available through the University of Michigan’s open courseware portal, Open.Michigan. Full course materials for SI 580, as taught by Prof. Paul Conway in 2009, are publicly and openly available at http://open.umich.edu/education/si/si580/winter2009.