Archival studies offers you the opportunity to investigate the processes that shape the historical record. By studying how records are selected for preservation, arranged and described, and made accessible to the public, archives students have a unique opportunity to research a field that mixes history, ethics, technology and philosophy. Through this study, you are able to research the influences that help determine how society views itself.
The Archives Program provides a range of professional development opportunities, as well as alumni and other professional connections around the country in order to ensure that you are competitive in the job market and have a well-rounded view of the complex issues facing archives. Completion of this program provides you with a graduate degree that will help you gain employment at a variety of archives throughout the United States.
Things to know…
- Highly Ranked Program
The School of Information Studies Archival Studies Program ranks ninth among LIS programs for Archives and Preservation!. US News and World Report “Best Colleges 2013”
- Online & Onsite Program Options
Milwaukee is full of opportunities to gain archival experience.
Can’t come to campus? Complete the MLIS + Archives Concentration fully online.
Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS)
Archives & Records Administration
The Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS in Archives and Records Administration consists of 15 credits of advanced coursework designed to help working professionals develop a specialty in archives and records administration. Visit our Archives & Records Administration CAS page for complete details.
To pursue the Archival Studies Concentration you must complete and submit the Archival Studies Concentration Declaration of Intent form. This will allow the program coordinator to track your progress and communicate with you via the email list.
Things to know…
- Your concentration program must be approved by the Director of the Archival Studies Program.
- You may not earn a concentration and a certificate based on identical coursework.
- Online and onsite availability of electives vary each semester.
You must take 15 credits of coursework in archives as electives within the overall MLIS program. A maximum of 6 transfer credits from an institution other than UWM may count toward the concentration, subject to Graduate School and SOIS transfer policies and procedures. UWM graduate coursework taken prior to admission to the current degree program is subject to standard transfer limits. Any transfer credits applied toward a concentration are part of the total transfer limit for that degree.
Before declaring the concentration, we recommend that you take INFOST 650 An Introduction to Modern Archives Administration. INFOST 650 is the a prerequisite for most archives courses. This class is offered online every semester provided there is sufficient enrollment. We offer the onsite version of it at every Spring semester. INFOST 650 provides an overview of the field and will give you a sense of whether or not you wish to pursue this career track.
- 650 An Introduction to Modern Archives Administration
Students must take at least 12 credits of electives from the following list of courses
(Unless indicated otherwise, courses are 3.0 credits each)
- 655 Information and Records Management
- 656 Electronic Document and Records Management
- 682 Digital Libraries
- 691 Special Topics: Archiving Audiovisuals (1 cr.)
- 714 Metadata
- 740 Information Literacy Instruction
- 750 Arrangement and Description in Archives
- 752 Archival Outreach: Programs and Services
- 753 Preserving Information Media
- 758 Technology Issues in Archives (Advanced Topics)
- 759 Fieldwork in Archives and Manuscripts*
- 791 Topics in Library and Information Science: Community Archives (3 cr.)
- 850 Seminar in Modern Archives Administration
- 855 Appraisal and Collection Development for Archives and Manuscripts (Advanced Topics)
- 891 Introduction to Legal Issues for Archivists and Records Managers (1 cr.)
- 891 Access and Privacy Legal Issues for Archivists and Records Managers (1 cr.)
- 891 Copyright Legal Issues for Archivists and Records Managers (1 cr.)
- 999 Independent Research
* Fieldwork is highly recommended for the concentration. You must have completed INFOST 650 before arranging a fieldwork opportunity. A maximum of 3 credits of fieldwork may be included in the 15 credits of electives for the concentration (another 3 credits of fieldwork may count toward the MLIS, but not toward the concentration). If you are interested in completing a fieldwork, contact the archives program coordinator: email@example.com. The archives program coordinator must approve all fieldwork assignments.
- 680 History of Books and Printing
Note: Recommended courses do not count towards the concentration
Gain Hands-on Experience
The archival profession is highly competitive. You should have or obtain job experience prior to the completion of their MLIS. Participating in Alternative Spring Break and/or enrolling in INFOST 759 Fieldwork in Library and Information Science is highly recommended.
Three credits of fieldwork are strongly encouraged for students in the Archival Studies concentration. Fieldwork students must have completed INFOST 650 before arranging a fieldwork opportunity. Fieldwork is generally taken for three credits during any semester.
Former Fieldwork Sites Include:
|Folger Shakespeare Library||Library of Congress|
|Lincoln Presidential Library||University of Texas-Austin’s Harry Ransom Center|
|Milwaukee Art Museum||Marquette|
|National Parks Service||Wisconsin Historical Society|
How to get started…
- Identify a repository
You are responsible for identifying a repository to work with, but the Archives Program staff can assist you. If you are planning to undertake fieldwork in the Milwaukee area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before initiating contact with a repository so we can coordinate with other students. You may be able to find fieldwork opportunities at colleges and universities, academic libraries, some public libraries, historical societies, museums, and community organizations. Many of these also advertise when fieldwork opportunities become available.
- Complete the Archives Fieldwork Form ( PDF | DOC)
After the fieldwork forms are submitted, Archives Program staff will contact the repository to ask for confirmation if they can host the student and to formally approve the fieldwork project(s). Once the repository is confirmed, Archives Program staff will send an email introducing the student and Field Supervisor to each other. The student also must submit the SOIS Fieldwork Placement Form as soon as possible after receiving the introductory email.
- Share your experience
During the fieldwork you will be expected to contribute to discussions on the Fieldwork D2L site. Specific instructions will be given tat the beginning of the semester.
- Complete the Fieldwork Evaluation
Students and Field Supervisors must complete a fieldwork evaluation at the conclusion of the fieldwork.
Deadlines for fieldwork submission are as follows:
Fall fieldwork: June 15
Spring fieldwork: Dec 15
Summer fieldwork: March 1
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a non-credit, volunteer career development program which places interested and motivated online and onsite MLIS and CAS students in archives during the week of spring break. Students are placed in archives where they gain hands-on experience and network with professionals. Participation requires that students commit to volunteering 30 hours during the week (Monday-Friday) of spring break.
Want to Learn More? Check out our ASB Frequently Asked Questions
The archival profession is highly competitive and the MLIS is usually a requirement for professional-level employment. However, a MLIS is, by itself, not sufficient. Participating in Alternative Spring Break and/or enrolling in INFOST 759 Fieldwork in Library and Information Science is highly recommended.
Examples of other ways to strengthen your resume are: full or part-time paid employment as a paraprofessional, records management certification, leadership positions and/or active participation in professional organizations and the SAA student chapter, technical skills, grant-writing, paper presentations and community engagement, among others.
Many entry-level positions are short-term and/or grant-funded positions.
UWM offers support through the following:
- UWM Career Development Center: The Career Center provides career counseling and resume review services to graduate students on both a walk-in and appointment basis.
- PantherJobs: PantherJobs is a database of general positions targeted towards UWM alumni and students. It also provides a resume referral service, and a system for storing and managing job search materials.
Funding Aid & Scholarships
Society of American Archivists (SAA)
- F. Gerald Ham Scholarship
- Mosaic Scholarship
- Josephine Forman Scholarship
- Donald Peterson Student Travel Award
- Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award
Midwest Archives Conference (MAC)
Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC)
Northwest Archivists (NWA)
Society of Southwest Archivists
- General Scholarship
- John Michael Caldwell Scholarship (Restricted to SSA Members)
- David B Gracy II Scholarship (Restricted to SSA Members)
Society of California Archivists
Research and Presentation Advice
Students are encouraged to use their class assignments as a way in which to explore an issue of importance to them that has the potential for further dissemination. For example, major essay assignments can serve as the first draft of an article for publication or for a conference panel or a course project could turn into a conference poster. SAA and regional conferences have a history of accepting posters highlighting community engagement work by student chapters or other student groups.
Engaging in this kind of activity provides experience for positions in places like archives within academic libraries where a tenure process is the norm. It also gives you an edge on your resume.
The following journals publish archival studies research and some are specifically focused on student research. You are of course always encouraged to apply to any other journals that seem like a good fit:
- American Archivist
- Archival Issues
- Archival Science
- InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies
- Journal of Archival Organization
- Library and Archival Security
- Library Student Journal
- Provenance: Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists
- RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage
- Records Management Journal
- Student Research Journal at San Jose State School of Library & Information Science
The following student research awards are available for student papers:
- Poster printing: Free for students, but may require on-site pickup.
- UWM Poster templates
- Campus Institutional Review Board: researchers doing any kind of work with human subjects must complete human subjects research training and submit research for review or apply for exemption from review.
- The Writing Center: Both online and onsite students may use the writing center for assistance with the writing process.
Student poster presentations are a great opportunity to share your research interests and network at professional conferences. It is also generally easier to have a poster accepted at a conference than a professional paper or panel.
Please see the below links for examples of student poster presentations and advice on creating them:
Joining professional archival organizations is a great way to network and participate in conferences, either as an attendee or a presenter. Organization websites often have information on upcoming conferences, submission information and networking opportunities. Members may also pursue leadership positions in archival organizations.
The archival profession is divided into groups of professional organizations, usually by geography.
Directory of archival organizations in the United States and Canada: http://www2.archivists.org/assoc-orgs/directory
ARMA Chapter Directory:
ARMA’s Chapters and Regions Website
Archives and Records Management Conference Information
Conference attendance is a great way to network with other archivists and develop as a professional. Find information about archives and records management conferences here.
Organization: New England Archivists
( http://www.newenglandarchivists.org/ )
Conference Location: Portland, ME
Conference Date: March 31 – April 2, 2016
Registration Information: http://www.newenglandarchivists.org/Spring-2016
Organization: Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (http://www.marac.info/)
Conference Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Conference Date: April 14-16, 2016
Registration Information: http://www.marac.info/upcoming-conferences#Spring2016
Organization: Midwest Archives Conference ( http://www.midwestarchives.org/ )
Conference Location: Milwaukee, WI
Conference Date: April 27-30, 2016
Registration Information: http://www.midwestarchives.org/index.php?option=com_mc&view=mc&mcid=9
Organization: Northwest Archives, Inc.
( http://northwestarchivistsinc.wildapricot.org/ )
Conference Location: Seattle, WA
Conference Date: April 28-30, 2016
Registration Information: http://northwestarchivistsinc.wildapricot.org/AnnualMeeting
Organization: Conference of Intermountain Archivists (http://cimarchivists.org/ )
Conference Location: Ogden, UT
Conference Date: May, 2016
Registration Information: http://cimarchivists.org/conferences/
Organization: Society of Southwest Archivists (http://southwestarchivists.org/)
Conference Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Conference Date: May 18-21, 2016
Registration Information: http://southwestarchivists.org/event-2019063
Organization: Association of Canadian Archivists ( http://archivists.ca/ )
Conference Location: Montreal, Quebec
Conference Date: June 2-4, 2016
Registration Information: http://archivists.ca/content/annual-conference
Organization: Society of American Archivists ( http://www2.archivists.org/ )
Conference Location: Atlanta, GA
Conference Date: July 31 – August 6, 2016
Registration Information: http://www2.archivists.org/conference