Information Studies


Jenkinson Lectures


In 2007, The Department of Information Studies established a new annual lecture named in honour of Sir Hilary Jenkinson, Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, who was instrumental in instituting the new Diploma in Archives Studies at UCL in 1947, the first such programme in England. The lecture series was launched to celebrate the diamond jubilee of archival education at UCL. In 1947 Hilary Jenkinson, Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, gave the inaugural lecture 'The English Archivist: a new profession' for the new Diploma at UCL. 

Jenkinson Lecture 2021

We are delighted to welcome Dr Laura Millar to deliver the 2021 Jenkinson Lecture, delivered remotely, on Thursday 15 April 2021. The Zoom recording is available here.

Just, Temperate, and Brave: The Importance of Evidence – and Evidence Keepers – in Chaotic Times

2020 and 2021 have been marked by chaos, disorder, and despair: from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, to the violent insurrection in January 2021 on the United States Capitol, to protests against autocratic and dictatorial regimes from Myanmar to Russia to China. These events have also demonstrated the critical importance of records, archives, data, and other sources of recorded proof: as tools to uphold justice and fight tyranny and oppression. In this year’s Jenkinson Lecture, Dr Millar will draw on the issues addressed in her 2019 book A Matter of Facts: the Value of Evidence in an Information Age, to argue that evidence serves not only as a bulwark against alternative facts, fake news, and outright lies but also as an essential foundation for justice, reconciliation, democracy, and peace. She will also argue that records and archives professionals must uphold their ethical obligations as trusted and trustworthy guardians, so that the documentary record, whatever its form, may serve as the standard against which “the conditions of human life” may be tested.


Dr Laura Millar
Dr Millar is an independent consultant and scholar in records, archives, and information management, based in Vancouver, Canada, an alumna of UCL and an Honorary Research Fellow in DIS. She has consulted with governments, universities, professional associations, and other agencies around the world and is the author of several award-winning publications. She has taught in several universities in Canada and internationally.

Jenkinson Lecture 2020: a Centenary event


Are We Still at War with Eastasia? The Importance of Evidence in Orwellian Times

Dr Laura Millar

Jenkinson Lecture 2019

Thursday 16 May 2019

Jenkinson Disrupted?

Professor Luciana Duranti, Professor of Archival Studies, iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies), The University of British Columbia

The InterPARES (International research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems) Project began in 1998 using as theoretical foundation Jenkinson’s concept of archival document (for us in North America, the equivalent of a record) and its implications for the exercise of archival functions. The Project has since developed through four phases, each investigating a new type of record and/or record environment, and in each phase has firmly maintained its theoretical foundation, though refining it each time and making it more detailed. The 4th and last phase (2013-2019) has dealt with the trustworthiness of records kept in networked environments, the Internet and the Cloud, where it is increasingly challenging to analyse disruptive technologies and develop solutions to the issues they present without disrupting the theoretical views of Jenkinson. Can traditional archival theory still support the design of preservation systems capable of maintaining accurate, reliable and authentic records created, kept or used by means of disruptive technologies? Differently put, can we disrupt Jenkinson and live to tell the tale? This lecture will briefly outline the premises and outcomes of the four phases of the InterPARES project and focus on the challenges ahead and the ability of traditional archival theory to support new ways of meeting them.

Click here to download the slides from the lecture

Jenkinson Lecture 2018

Thursday 22 March 2018

Trust, transparency and Just in Time FOI: Sustainable Governance and Openness in the digital age

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner

Elizabeth Denham

Massive changes in public expectations for information, new tools and technologies, and loss of trust in traditional institutions demand a corresponding shift in information governance and accountability tools such as Freedom of Information.  In her second year as Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham reflects on the critical link between information management, archives, and the UK's decade old freedom of information regime. Is the regime fit for purpose for 21st century? What does sustainable information governance look like, beyond fads and flights of fancy? How can we re-engage the public with FOI?  How can we build new practice frameworks? The Commissioner will outline her strategic approach -innovative partnerships and plans to build trust and transparency in public bodies. In her plan:  'FOI Beyond Requests', the ICO seeks to assist public agencies to perform better and tackle more systemic transparency issues and areas that make the most difference to the public. 

Elizabeth Denham was appointed UK Information Commissioner in July 2016, having previously held the position of Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Canada and Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Thursday 30 March 2017

To what lengths the "physical and moral defence of the record"? A contemplation of the ethics of, space for and constraints on the agency of the archivist in times of conflict and exigency

Professor Anne J. Gilliland, Department of Information Studies Director, Center for Information as Evidence, University of California Los Angeles

Professor Anne Gilliland

Hilary Jenkinson and Ernst Posner both played key roles in the identification and securing of records in Europe during World War II. While their activities exemplified their individual agency, expertise and experiences as archivists, Jenkinson and Posner's respective circumstances in England and the United States during the war were starkly different. Today, as archivists in many places around the globe are on the front lines of war and ethnic conflict or under extreme political pressures, how can the examples of Jenkinson and Posner help us to think through the challenges and personal dangers of professional agency, activism and advocacy on behalf of records, archives, and their constituents?

Three generations of records continuum theory

Professor Sue McKemmish, Professor of Archival Systems, Monash University, Australia

7 April 2016 

The presentation will trace the evolution of records continuum theory - its early beginnings in the Archives Division of the National Library of Australia under the first Commonwealth Archivist, Ian Maclean: the formative years spanning the 1970s to 1990s: and the transformative nature of recent continuum research and writing. It will explore the distinguishing features of records continuum theory and major influences shaping records continuum consciousness, with particular reference to the way in which Jenkinson's ideas about the nature of Archives influenced the development of key records continuum concepts.

Sue McKemmish

Professor Sue McKemmish, PhD, is the Associate Dean Graduate Research for the Faculty of Information Technology.  Professor McKemmish is also Chair of Archival Systems, Monash University and Director of the Monash University Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics. She is engaged in major research and standards initiatives relating to the use of metadata in records and archival systems, information resource discovery and smart information portals, Australian Indigenous archives, and the development of more inclusive archival educational programs that meet the needs of diverse communities. Sue McKemmish directs the postgraduate teaching programs in records and archives at Monash, has published extensively on recordkeeping in society, records continuum theory, recordkeeping metadata, and archival systems, and is a Laureate of the Australian Society of Archivists.

Records and Archives in the Age of Information

Geoffrey Yeo, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, UCL DIS

5 March 2015

It is often said that we live in an age of information. If this is true, what is the place of records and archives in the information age? Does a new emphasis on information governance require archivists and records managers to dismiss the centrality of the record to their theory and practice? Do they still have distinctive contributions to make in the digital world of the 21st century or should they now simply become generic information managers?

This lecture considers whether and how far archives and records management differs from information management; what contribution archival science can make to our understanding of 'information' and 'data'; and what insights the new world of global information can bring to our understanding of archives and records.

Geoffrey Yeo

Geoffrey Yeo has worked in the archives and records profession for more than thirty years as a practitioner, consultant, educator and researcher. He has published widely on archives and records management topics and is a past winner of the Hugh A. Taylor Prize and the Society of American Archivists Fellows' Ernst Posner Award. He is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Information Studies at University College London.

Traces and Transformations: A Case for the Archival Nature of Digital Surrogates

Paul Conway, Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Information

25 September 2013

Paul Conway

Large-scale digitization is generating extraordinary collections of visual and textual surrogates, potentially endowed with transcendent long-term cultural and research values. Understanding the nature of digital surrogacy is a substantial intellectual opportunity for archival science and the digital humanities. The paper presents an argument that one of the most significant requirements for the long-term access to collections of digital surrogates is to treat digital surrogates as archives in their own right, worthy of preservation as archives. It advances a theory of the archival nature of surrogacy founded on longstanding notions of archival quality, the traces of their source and the conditions of their creation, and the functional "work of the archive." The paper presents evidence supporting a post-custodial "secondary provenance" derived from re-digitization, re-ingestion of multiple versions, and de facto replacement of the original sources. The design of the underlying research that motivates the paper and summary findings are reported separately. The project has been supported generously by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Paul Conway is associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. In the autumn of 2013 he is Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Kings College, University of London. He conducts research and teaches courses on archival science, the digitization and preservation of photographs, books, and audiovisual resources, and the ethics of new technologies. Prior to joining the Michigan faculty, he was a senior administrator for the libraries at Yale and Duke University. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

The lecture is published as: Paul Conway 'Digital transformations and the archival nature of surrogates' Archival Science 15: 1 (March 2015): 51-70.

Listen to the lecture on soundcloud here

Forgetting to Remember; Archivists and the Memory Imperative

Professor Jeannette Bastian, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston

13 March 2013

The 'memory boom ' of the past several decades, has moved memory studies to the forefront of academic concerns bringing fresh lenses to bear on such diverse areas as social history, anthropology, geography, and literature. Through these memory lenses that largely focus on non-textual tropes and traces, scholars have found new ways to explore and understand questions of identities, cultures and communities. Although archivists have long claimed a special relationship with memory, they have been slow - even reluctant - to jump on this bandwagon. This presentation theorizes why this might be so, suggesting ways that archivists might think about incorporating memory into their practice and, by so doing, expand the archival ability to 'document' contemporary society.

Professor Bastian is Director of the Archives Management Program at Simmons College, Boston, USA. Prior to coming to Simmons, she was the Director of Libraries and Archives and Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands and served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. Professor Bastian received her master's in library science from Shippensburg University, and a master's degree in philosophy from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica; she received her doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Science. Her publications include articles and books focusing on archival education, memory, community archives and postcolonialism.

Listen to the lecture on soundcloud here

The Day Parliament Burned Down and its impact on British record keeping

Dr Caroline Shenton, Clerk of the Records and Director of the Parliamentary Archives

26 September 2012

In the early evening of 16 October 1834, to the horror of bystanders, a huge ball of fire exploded through the roof of the Houses of Parliament, creating a blaze so enormous that it could be seen by the King and Queen at Windsor, and from stagecoaches on top of the South Downs. In front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses the great conflagration destroyed Parliament's glorious old buildings and their contents. No one who witnessed the disaster would ever forget it - yet today this national catastrophe is a forgotten disaster. Find out about one of the most seminal events of 19th century London, which not only changed the face of the capital but also had a profound impact on recordkeeping in the UK. 

Dr Shenton is Clerk of the Records and Director of  the Parliamentary Archives in London. Educated at the University of St Andrews, Worcester College Oxford and University College London, she was previously a senior archivist at the National Archives where her interest in the fire of 1834 was first kindled. She has worked in and around collections relating to the old Palace of Westminster for over 20 years, and is a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. She is author of the acclaimed new book, 'The Day Parliament Burned Down'

Trust, Custodianship and Digital Records

Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper of the Public Records

29 September 2011

Oliver Morley

In presenting the third in the ongoing Jenkinson Lecture Series, Oliver Morley spoke about the challenges offered by technological change and 'big data' and suggested that the best way to build a long term digital archive was to build a sustainable institution. It is hoped that his lecture will be published in the future and details will be placed on this page as they become available.                                                                                  

Archival Identities

Professor Eric Ketelaar, Emeritus Professor, University of Amsterdam

5 March 2009


The recently published reader What are Archives? Cultural and Theoretical Perspectives concerns the distinguishing characters of the archive and the Archives, of the archivist and the archival discipline, and of people creating and using archives. Are all these different but interrelated "archival identities" true? Louise Craven, the editor of this collection of essays, writes (p. 17) "Over time then, identity as meaning making is perpetually constructed and reconstructed through the experience of archival documents." In my lecture I intend to discuss this question and to propose some of the answers, using as a case study the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

Eric Ketelaar (1944) is Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam. From 1997 to 2009 he was Professor of Archivistics in the Department of Media Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. As a honorary fellow of his former department he continues his research which is concerned mainly with the social and cultural contexts of records creation and use.

Archival Identities audio file, UCL staff and students only

60 years on: the role of the 21st century National Archive vs Jenkinson's model

Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive of The National Archives 

26 October 2007


Lecture published as, Natalie Ceeney, 'The role of a 21st century National Archive- the relevance of the Jenkinsonian tradition, and a redefinition for the information society', Journal of the Society of Archivists 29:2 (April 2008): 57-71.