ARST 573 (3) Archival Systems and the Profession *

Previously ARST 573 (3) Archival Systems and the Profession


MAS and Dual Students take this as part of the MAS Core.

Core courses in the MAS program can only be taken by students registered in the MAS program.

GOAL: The goal of this course is to give students a broad understanding of the various components of the Canadian archival system and profession and how they have developed over time in comparison with archival systems and the profession in other countries as a means of developing a critical appreciation of the context in which archivists work.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the origins, broad lines of development, and current state of the institutions and organization that constitute the Canadian archival system. [1.4]*
  • Demonstrate understanding of the broad lines of development of archival systems in countries comparable to Canada. [1.4]*
  • Demonstrate understanding of the mandates of Canadian public archival institutions as reflected in the laws establishing them, regulations governing management of public records, and laws governing use and access to public records. [1.4]*
  • Demonstrate understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and functioning of archival programs in a variety of settings, including for example, national, provincial and municipal levels of government, universities and colleges, churches, businesses, and other private organizations in Canada with comparisons to similar programs in other countries. [1.4]*
  • Analyze and evaluate the evolution of the responsibilities, values, and culture of the archival profession as a means of assessing its role in contemporary society. [1.4, 5.1, 5.2]*

* Course objectives are stated in terms of student learning outcomes and reference the iSchool Statement on Graduate Competencies.


  • The concept of an archival system
  • The origins and broad development of contemporary archival systems in Europe and North America
  • The origins and evolution of the mandate, functions, and structure of Canadian public archives and the “total archives” concept, and comparison with public archives in other countries
  • The origins and development of archival programs in educational institutions, churches, businesses, and other private organizations
  • Contemporary Canadian archival institutions: their governance, principal policies, programs, and challenges, and comparison to institutions in other countries
  • The roles of international, national and regional archival organizations (e.g. the Canadian Council of Archives, regional councils of archives, and professional associations)
  • The origins and development of archival education programs
  • The archival profession: its history, organization, responsibilities, values and role in contemporary society
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