Information Studies


INSTG060: Curation and Stewardship

Curation and Stewardship deals with the issues and activities involved in maintaining authentic and usable records over time and through change. It aims to enable students to build a clear appreciation of the vulnerability of the physical and virtual record, and to develop the knowledge and skills to ensure that such records are maintained and that the risks to them are properly addressed and managed. To this end, students should, by the end of the module, be able to;

  • Explain what is meant by and involved in the preservation and management of records over time
  • Identify and apply the most appropriate standards, strategies and processes to ensure the ongoing preservation of records in a variety of contexts

An indication of the structure and more detailed content of the module is given below;

  • Week 1 - Introduction
  • Weeks 2-3 Taking Custody including topics such as; collections development, collecting policies, stages in accessioning, interviewing donors, terms of deposit, automated metadata extraction, accessions registers and cataloguing policies.
  • Week 4 - Building the Store - including topics such as; the key characteristics of paper and parchment, the chemistry of paper, the nature of acid deterioration, security, the use of off-site storage or alternative approaches and building green and sustainable archives.
  • Week 5 - Managing the Store - including topics such as; the influence of standards on funding for archive buildings, a review of new building examples and consideration of how to address risks such as flood, pollutants, dust and pests, monitoring procedures and the use of packaging as both protection and support.
  • Weeks 6 and 7 - Processing - including topics such as; the application of the principles of provenance and original order, archival descriptive standards, including ISAD(G), the qualities of good archival description and indexing and vocabulary control.
  • Weeks 8 and 9 - Preservation Planning - including topics such as; standards. e.g. PD 5454: 2012 and PAS 198: 2012, the function and application of benchmarking, disaster planning and emergency response, the use and function of a preservation policy, surrogacy options and digital preservation.
  • Week 10 - Conclusions

The method of delivery will be mixed, involving lectures, class discussion, practical sessions and seminars. There is also a two-week work placement attached to this module, which takes place at the beginning of term 3. The module is assessed by two pieces of coursework, one to be submitted at the beginning of term 2 and the other following the work placement in term 3.

Taught by: Jenny Bunn and Jonathan Rhys-Lewis in term 1.

Compulsory for: Those registered on the MA in Archives and Records Management from 2012-2013 onwards.

Optional for: The course is also available for short course students

Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites, although some familiarity with archives and records management services is assumed.

Preliminary reading: It is not essential for students to read these or other texts before starting the module, although a little preliminary reading before the module begins can often be beneficial.

Forde, Helen. Preserving Archives. London: Facet, 2007.

Millar, Laura. Archives: Principles and Practices. London: Facet, 2010.

Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn. Preserving Archives & Manuscripts. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, c2010.

The National Archives, Archives and Records - a selection of useful resources.

Williams, Caroline. Managing Archives; Foundations, Principles and Practice. Oxford: Chandos, 2006.

More detailed reading lists and further information for students currently taking this module