Information Studies


INST0008 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: Hannah Ishmael , Thursday mornings 10am-1pm during term 1, and some Thursday afternoons during term 1.

Further information for students currently taking this module