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2. Target groups of archival training

2.1 Different levels of the profession
2.2 Categories of archival personnel
2.3 Archivists in different types of archives
2.4 Training of users

 

2.1 Different levels of the profession

In his paper given to the Second International Symposium on Archival Training in Milan in September 1989 "Curriculum contents for various levels of archival training", Eckhart G. Franz notes three major personnel groups in archives:

a) archival personnel, i.e. specialized personnel concerned with the administration archival (or pre-archival) records, ranging from the head archivist to repository attendants.

b) technical staff for conservation, restoration and photographic work.

c) staff for administrative and financial management and for secretarial work.

Categories a) and b) need special archival training, while basic training for category c) is normally common with any other branch of administration.

2.2 Categories of archival personnel

The questionnaire used for this study divided archival personnel into three levels.

a) Paraprofessional level

This level consists of the assistant staff in archival institutions and some records managers in archive-creating organizations. This group needs basic knowledge of archives administration, although it concentrates mainly on practical work. In some countries, for example in the United States, paraprofessionals are trained on the job, not in the classroom. In other countries there are special training programmes which provide better and more varied professional skills than does training on the job. In any case the training of this group can be practical without the need for a deeper theoretical background. In some countries professional archivists may first follow the same training programme as paraprofessionals after which they continue with more theoretical aspects.

b) Professional level

This group includes professional archivists who need a thorough, versatile training in both the theory and practice of archives. In the last 20 years they have benefitted from the development short courses allowing them to keep up with new techniques and changing methods.

c) Managerial level

This group includes the managers or heads of archival institutions. They have often been professional archivists but may also have some other scientific or administrative background. Archival studies also, of course, help these managers in their work. Their main duty, however, is to plan and develop the activities of their archival institutions. For that they need an understanding of international developments and of decisions made elsewhere. In developing countries these managers often have to create institutions out of almost nothing and the experiences of other countries are of great value to them. As it is difficult to get directors of archival institutions to participate in training programmes, it is even more important for them than for archivists to have suitable manuals.

Several RAMP studies, devised as basic material for planning and development work at the managerial level are available.

2.3 Archivists in different types of archives

Archival professionals can also be divided according to the kind of archives they administer, for example the archives of governmental agencies, of local government, and of business. These archivists may need special training in the management and arrangement of their records. However, it is usually desirable that training is generally a professional specialization left to postgraduate studies or to in-post training. This approach guarantees the students a wider choice of jobs which would not be accessible to them if they were to specialize too early.

There are of course manuals and handbooks for managing specific kinds of archives. These are useful for specialised training courses as well as for broadening the individual interests of the archivist.

2.4 Training of users

Researchers and other users of archives need a general understanding of the objectives of archives administration, and of the work of different kinds of archives services. Professionals in information services, such as librarians and information managers, also need this kind of training. National archives and other archival institutions publish catalogues and guides to their material, but users may also need to know the principles by which the documents are arranged and described. There are some general manuals which can be used as an introduction to archives administration in this context, for example, Einführung in die Archivkunde by Eckhart G. Franz, or Les archives. Pourquoi? Comment? by Françoise Hildesheimer.


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