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INSTG001 Access and Use of Archives and Records

This module provides students with the knowledge and understanding necessary to provide appropriate and meaningful access to physical, digitised and born-digital records and archives. The course reviews the changing concept of 'access' to records and archives within the context of UK government policies and international developments, technological developments, cross-sectorial collaboration and community-based archive initiatives. It covers topics such as compliance with access to information and privacy legislations; diversity imperatives and the recognition of physical and social barriers to access archives and records; the development and provision of outreach programmes, exhibitions, publications, websites, and social media initiatives; user services (online and onsite) including supporting learning and the identification of user needs.  

Topics covered:

  • Access – the context. Including an introduction to access standards, policies and the law
  • Understanding internal and external user needs and targeting audiences
  • Compliance: Access to information. FOIA, DPA and other access to information legislation.
  • Copyright
  • Managing access onsite:  Balancing excellent, inclusive and accessible user services with security / Reading room and physical access design 
  • Reaching Outwards (1): Engaging Users in an online environment
  • Reaching outwards (2): Wider public  and community engagement / exhibitions

Learning outcomes: By the end of this module students will be aware of the professional contexts underpinning access strategies, be able to provide appropriate access to records in a given situation using a range of tools, will be able to identify and work towards the removal barriers to access and be able to deal positively and effectively with users.

Introductory reading

J Bettington, K Eberhard, et al (eds.), Keeping archives (3rd edition), ASA Canberra 2008, esp. chapters 11-14

H. Jenkinson, A Manual of Archive Administration, 2nd edition, London 1966

Randall C. Jimerson, Archives Power. Memory, Accountability and Social Justice, SAA 2009

C Kecskemeti & I Szekely, Access to archives, Council of Europe 2005

S. McKemmish et al, Archives: Recordkeeping in Society, Wagga Wagga 2005

C Williams, Managing Archives, Oxford, 2006, Chapters 5

Assessment: Assessment coursework only (15 credits)


This module is compulsory for students taking: Archives and Records Management (MA & Diploma) 
Optional for:
Archives and Records Management (Certificate)
This module is also available for short course students
Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this module
Taught by: Andrew Flinn, Thursday mornings 10am-1pm during term 2. Darwin Building B15

Further information for students currently taking this module