It seems worth rounding out this tangent into archival education by looking at some more recent viewpoints.  In May 2007, Joseph Turrini published “The Historical Profession and Archival Education” in Perspectives on History, the news magazine of the American Historical Association.  Turrini worked at the Walter P. Reuther Library, as assistant curator at the Detroit Historical Museum, as records analyst at the United Federation of Teachers Archives and Records Center, and as assistant archivist at the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives at the Catholic University of America.  He was an assistant professor of history and archival program officer at Auburn University (2005-7) and now works at Wayne State University, coordinating the Archival Administration Program in the School of Library and Information Science.

In 2007, Turrini stated unequivocally:

“History departments should continue to be a part of archival education.”

He then identified two root causes for change in archival education that require history departments to adapt:

  1. more specialized archival courses
  2. greater technological job requirements for archivists

Turrini explained that library science schools have been quicker to embrace the educational requirements of the archival profession by offering more archives-specific content.  He referenced A Guide to Graduate Programs in Public History, published in 2002 by the National Council on Public History, which identified 34 history departments with archival concentrations but only a handful of these offered more than three archival courses — accomplished by cross-listing courses with library science programs at their schools or nearby schools.  The current web-based version of this guide is available here.  Although it indicates 71 public history programs have Archival Practices as a strength, it’s unclear what rubric is used to define strengths.  He also cited the addition of full-time archival faculty as an indication of the dedication of library science schools to the training of archivists.

Turrini acknowledged that the technologies needed to standardize archival procedures have emerged from library science schools.  He cited MARC-AMC and Encoded Archival Description (EAD) as two prime examples and lamented that history departments rarely expose students to these concepts and technologies.

Turrini concluded,

“History-based archival programs must find ways to increase their archival offerings and provide their students with the opportunity to acquire the technical skills.”

One possible solution he offered to this problem is distance education.  In 2002, Elizabeth Dow at LSU’s School of Information and Library Science created the Southeast Archives Education Collaborative.  Joining with the history department at Auburn University, the Schools of Information and Library Science at the universities of Kentucky and Indiana, and the public history program at Middle Tennessee State University, LSU coordinated specialized archival courses that were offered across these institutions.  By 2012, this coalition had replaced the University of Kentucky with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and had taken on the name Archival Education Collaborative.  Unfortunately, this 2012 news release is the last evidence I can find of the organization (and Dow is no longer at LSU), so I’m left to assume this decade-long endeavor ceased operations.  Perhaps Turrini’s transition to a position at a School of Library and Information Science also indicates something about the viability of this solution.

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