Knowledge discovery from within. An examination of records management and electronic records management syllabi

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-11-2015-0034
Pages259-278
Publication Date21 November 2016
AuthorDonald C. Force,Jane Zhang
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance
Knowledge discovery
from within
An examination of records management and
electronic records management syllabi
Donald C. Force
School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, and
Jane Zhang
Department of Library and Information Science,
Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, USA
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report the ndings of a research project that analyzed
records management (RM) and electronic records management (ERM) course syllabi from North
American archival studies’ programs. By identifying the convergences and divergences of the topics
and literature found within the syllabi, the authors sought to understand the relationship between the
two courses and gain insight about how these courses continue to serve as an integral component of
archival studies education.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a qualitative analysis of 23 RM and 12
ERM course syllabi from 26 academic institutions from North America. The research examined three
different aspects of the syllabi: textbooks, required articles and weekly topics. The syllabi were
analyzed as separate data sets (RM syllabi and ERM syllabi), which was followed by a comparative
analysis of the two types of syllabi.
Findings – The ndings of this study reveal that RM, ERM and (to a lesser extent) DA (digital archives)
knowledge as represented in archival education converges in some course contents but diverges in others.
Archival educators should pay close attention to overlapping areas so that the courses can better
complement each other and advance knowledge representation within archival studies.
Research limitations/implications – This study only considered graduate-level programs in the
USA and Canada. The study did not include syllabi or instructional guides from associate-level
programs or professional organizations such as the International Certication of Records Managers or
Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) International.
Practical implications The results of this study lead the authors to present two different
approaches for how RM and ERM knowledge may be incorporated into archival curriculum.
Originality/value – This is the rst research project to analyze RM and ERM syllabi with regards to the
enhancement of records and information management education and archival curriculum development.
Keywords Records management, Electronic records management, Archival curriculum,
Archival education, Syllabus analysis
Paper type Research paper
The authors would like to thank the reviewer for his/her feedback which signicantly contributed
to the improvement of this article. Additionally, the authors wish to thank Sukwon Lee, PhD
student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies, for his
assistance in collecting, organizing and parsing the syllabi data.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0956-5698.htm
Knowledge
discovery
from within
259
Received 1 November 2015
Revised 8 April 2016
Accepted 10 April 2016
RecordsManagement Journal
Vol.26 No. 3, 2016
pp.259-278
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0956-5698
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-11-2015-0034
1. Introduction
The inclusion of records and information management (RIM) education in archival
programs can be traced back to the late 1940s, although records management (RM)
courses did not become a foundational component of archival education until the late
1980s and early 1990s. More recently, electronic records management (ERM) courses
have become an imperative component of many archival programs in North America.
Although archival educators have applauded the growth of archival curriculum and
noted the inclusion of RM and ERM courses, few have considered the implications of
these developments and the relationship between courses such as RM and ERM. This
article discusses a project that analyzed RM and ERM course syllabi from North
American archival studies’ programs. By identifying the convergences and divergences
of the topics and literature found within the syllabi, the authors sought to understand
the relationship between the two types of courses and to gain insight about how these
courses continue to serve as an integral component in archival studies education.
2. Literature review and research questions
RM was rst introduced in the early 1940s as a “pre-archival phase” undergraduate
program in the American University’s archival program (Posner, 2006, p. 68). The
inclusion of RM as an integral part of archival curriculum in the American graduate
program started in the late 1940s when American University “established a new records
administration course on the graduate level to tie this phase of the program in more
closely with the graduate work in archives administration” (Trever, 1948, p. 156). The
integration of RM into archival curriculum took several decades before it became
standard in the archival programs in North America. Archival literature published in
the 1970s indicates that the profession adopted a different approach. The Society of
American Archivists’ Committee on Education and Training survey on archival
education programs in the 1970s omitted two sets of courses: “directed research and
reading courses” because they were “those informal learning programs tailored to
individual student needs”, and “records management courses” because it was “an
instructional eld itself worthy of a survey” (Warner, 1992, p. 350). RM was considered
a separate instructional eld and not an integral part of archival education (Evans, 1977,
p. 71). This trend would soon change.
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, RM had become a regularly offered course in
archival programs in North America. In the survey report published in 2001 on archival
education in North American Library and Information Studies (LIS) schools, archives
and records management was deemed as an integrated information discipline “with its
own history, purposes, principles, standards, and methods” (Cox et al., 2001, p. 142).
Thirty-four schools offered an RM course at the time of the study. Along with
introductory archives and preservation, RM became one of the three basic areas of
knowledge in archival education in LIS schools (Cox et al., 2001, p. 174).
The past decade of the twentieth century saw not only the dramatic growth of
archival programs offering RM courses but also the introduction of ERM into the
archival curriculum. The emergence of ERM courses resulted from the exponential
growth of electronic records in businesses and other work places. Archival researchers
and educators quickly became aware that these new formats would drastically
challenge traditional RM concepts and principles (Dollar, 1993;Duranti, 2001;
McDonald, 1995). In 1992, a new course in the archival administration of electronic
RMJ
26,3
260

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT