LIBR 579G (3) Introduction to Archives for Librarians


MLIS: completion of MLIS core
MAS and Dual MAS/MLIS: course not available to MAS or Dual students

GOALS: What are archives? How are they different from libraries? What is the relationship between archives and history? Can a hard drive be an archive(s)?

Recognizing that libraries frequently acquire archival materials, particularly in communities not served by an archival repository, the goal of the course is to provide MLIS students with an overview of the principles and functions that govern the management of archives.


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

  • Understand the aggregate nature and distinguishing qualities of archival materials.
  • Understand the concepts of provenance, respect des fonds, and original order, and how these concepts govern the activities of archivists.
  • Understand the core archival functions: appraisal, accessioning, arrangement and description, preservation.
  • Recognize and assess evolving contemporary ideas about the nature of archives and their treatment.
  • Recognize and assess developments and trends in the convergence of library, archival and other heritage institutions.


  • Development of archives in Canada
  • Characteristics of archives as records, aggregates and institutions
  • Archival principles: provenance,  respect des fonds and original order
  • The continuing evolution of thinking about archival principles
  • Appraisal for acquisition and selection
  • Arrangement and description
  • Preservation of traditional materials
  • Digital preservation
  • Providing public access, and limits to public access
  • Library, archival and museum (LAM) convergence
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