CITRA day 2 – 19th November morning

Following last night’s interesting visits to the historical city of Mdina, and to the National Archives of Malta’s branches in Mdina and Rabat, CITRA day 2 opened with a plenary session on “Developing new curricula and training programmes to meet the challenges of the modern profession”.

Margaret Turner outlined the Society of Archivists’ UK & Ireland approach to the accreditation of archival education programmes in UK & Irish universities. Margaret began with a history of the process since the quinquennial accreditation procedure was introduced in 1984, surveying the increasing variety and number of individual programmes and methods of delivery, and concluded with the benefits to the universities and the profession. The purpose of the process is two-fold: to ensure that education of appropriate content & standard and to maintain dialogue between Society & each programme – mutual co-operation/development of profession. Commitment shows importance profession attaches to professional education & training. The criteria used to accredit the programmes can be found at http://www.archives.org.uk/resources/accreditation_criteria.doc. I spotted for the first time this conference an explicit distinction made between education (the acquisition of knowledge and principles, professional awareness) and training (specific skills eg. cataloguing).

Mariella Guercio then outlined her proposals for a “digital curation” profile and associated curriculum, drawing on the themes of change, inter-disciplinary collaboration and range of skills and knowledge which had been identified in part by other speakers on day 1. The paper was a wide-ranging one, but unfortunately again there was little time to explore the issues raised in question/discussion.

Parallel session 9 considered three approaches to the identification of recognised professionals through certification, accreditation or registration programmes. Fred van Kan described the plans of the Royal Society of Dutch Archivists to introduce an accreditation framework. My own contribution analysed the development and operation of of the Society of Archivists’ UK & Ireland registration scheme. Trudy Peterson then considered the certification programme/examination of the Association of Certified Archivists and Records Managers in the USA.

There was time for extensive discussion, as the session was a round table, with questions raised on a variety of related topics. These included the accreditation of archival institutions/organisations alongside the accreditation of individual professionals; whether there should be a regulatory aspect to the profession and to the job titles of Archivist/Records Manager; whether accreditation of individuals is a barrier to entrants, and associated queries about costs; the relationship with employers; the role of international standards with regard to the employment of professionally qualified staff, and reactions to the introduction of the new system in the Netherlands.

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