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Digital Archival Research and Education

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

By Trevor Owens, Senior Program Officer
Emily Reynolds, Program Specialist
Office of Library Services, IMLS

Recently, the two of us were thrilled to attend and participate in the Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI), hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park, last month. Now in its seventh year, AERI brings together doctoral students, recent doctoral graduates, and faculty in archival studies. The institute has been supported by two Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants since its inception. We wanted to take a moment to share some of what we presented, as well as how the various areas of work discussed at the event connect to IMLS grant opportunities. As our portfolios of work at IMLS are focused on the national digital platform priority, our comments primarily focus on how work at AERI intersects with this area; however, there are certainly opportunities for archives in other IMLS programs and priority areas as well.

Archival Studies and IMLS Grant Opportunities

We participated in a panel discussion with three colleagues from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access about funding opportunities for work on archival practice and research on archives. We highlighted the national digital platform priority area in the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program as potential sources of funding for the kind of work being presented at AERI. The former program has supported a range of research and development projects for archives and the latter has supported a number of education and training projects.  Our colleagues from the National Endowment for the Humanities primarily discussed the Research and Development program, Preservation and Access Education and Training program and the new Common Heritage program.

Collecting, Preserving and Enabling Use of Digital Content

Across the various sessions at AERI, many touched on research related to digital materials that have a natural place in the national digital platform portfolio. There were sessions on a variety of digital topics, including digital preservation, archival description and web archiving, research on digital archives, access to born digital archival content, collecting, preserving, and understanding and interpreting social media content. View the full meeting agenda here.

Education and Training for Digital Archivists Alongside the research on display at the meeting, there were several sessions that focused on education and training for archivists, including formal curriculum development. Efforts in this area could logically connect with the national digital platform portfolio through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program which funds activities including master’s programs, doctoral programs, and curriculum development. For a sense of some of the work going on in this area within the AERI community, see the sessions on archival training in the digital age, developing AV archives curriculum and on curriculum for archival studies master’s degree programs.

In short, it was great to have a chance to learn about the various kinds of work that archival studies researchers and archivists are doing in this area. We were particularly excited to see how the grants that AERI has received through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program are fostering a community of researchers exploring these issues together, and look forward to more great work from this group.

Programs: 
Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program
National Leadership Grants for Libraries
State: 
MD