LAIS 609B (3): Archival Theory

GOAL: To develop a clear understanding of the theoretical foundations and core subject areas of archival science from an academic and research perspective.

OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • discuss in depth the nature of the entities and activities that are the object of archival study;
  • analyze theoretical and methodological ideas and concepts in the historical context in which they were formulated and used, and in relation to present archival methods and practices and to areas of knowledge auxiliary to the archival one; and
  • identify their major and minor areas of study.


  • the archival body of knowledge as a science and a discipline
  • the concepts of record(s) and archives
  • the concept of trustworthiness
  • the concepts and principles linked to records creation and record-keeping
  • the concept of appraisal
  • the concepts of archival arrangement, description (including access and use)
  • the concepts of permanence, custody, and preservation, and related principles
  • the auxiliary disciplines of archival science and their contribution to archival knowledge
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