Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code RIMB019
Coordinator Ms MR Procter
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2009-10 Level Three Second Semester 15


The aim of this module is to introduce you to the nature of archives and archival management processes and to outline some methodologies for ensuring their permanent preservation both in the context of government and in the broader sectoral, national and international environments.  While the focus will be on practice at The National Archives, other archival environments are considered too, in order to provide a broad perspective of practice in the UK.

Learning Outcomes

When you have completed this module you should be able to:

1.     Describe the relationship between records and information management and archival services

2.     Describe the nature and attributes of archives

3.     Demonstrate an understanding of the role of an archive service in governmental and non-governmental contexts

4.     Analyse the processes by which archives are managed, described and made accessible

5.     Describe systems for enabling access for users

6.     Contribute to the permanent preservation of different media and formats of archival material

7.     Demonstrate an understanding of government record keeping within a wider national and international perspective.


  • Comparison of attributes of information, records and archives
  • Introduction to definitions and attributes of preservation and conservation management.
  • Analysis of preservation issues, especially management and sustainability of electronic records in relation to their content, context, structure
  • Acquisition anddocumentation policies.
  • Procedures for transfer to archives, including physical and virtual transfer.
  • Archival description and descriptive standards.
  • Distributed custody options.
  • Conversion and migration strategies.
  • Access policies.
  • User services in archives.
  • National archival policies and networks.
  • Role of The National Archives.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

It is compulsory for all Certificate and Diploma students to attend a Study Skills Day, prior to commencing the first module of the programme. The aim of the Study Skills Day is to:

  • Prepare students for studying at a distance.
  • Introduce students to the theory and practice of learning.
  • Provide an opportunity for students to develop skills to support studyign at a distance, such as time managment, using the learning materials, finding and using information, preparing for assessment.
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of learners, tutors and support staff.

The Study Skills Day also provides the opportunity to meet with the tutors, administrators and, when possible, a current or past student.

Each module begins with a 1 day short course to introduce the module. The distance learning materials and the module assignment are issued during the session. < /p>

The module tutor is available to discuss issues with students over the phone, via email, fax or letter. In addition students are allocated a personal tutor who is available to discuss the student's progress through the programme.

The student's line manager will also be involved in the programme where appropriate as the student's mentor. The mentor will be aware of what the student is doing and will be in a position to contribute to his/her successful progress. Where a line manager is not able to participate, the Director of Studies will assign a mentor through the Association of Departmental Record Officers. This may be a more senior or experienced colleague.

The module assignment assesses whether the learning objectives of this module have been met.

The assignement will be applicable to the work placeand as far as possible the student will have a choice of topic or scenario which will be directly relevant to their own situation. 60;  

The assignment will be marked and moderated by internal markers and a selection submitted to an external examiner.

Candidates will either fail, pass, or achieve a distinction on the basis of the following marks: 0-39 = fail; 40-69 = pass; 70-100 = distinction.

Assessment criteria set out what percentage of marks can be gained for each element of that question. 

To achieve the pass mark, candidates must present work that is competent and thorough, showing knowledge and practical skills, and indicating critical ability.  To achievea distinction, candidates must present work of originality, demonstrating command of the subject along with a grasp of the wider perspective. 

In effect marking is done within a relatively narrow range of marks and any mark over 50% can be considered good. A mark of 70%+ is uncommon and only achieved for excellent pieces of work.

Feedback is provid ed for the student in the form of a constructive commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of the work submitted with, where appropriate, suggestions for improvement in future assessments.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           6
1 day short course to introduce the module.
Timetable (if known)           Introduction provided during short period (2 days) of blocked teaching at beginning of semester
Private Study 144


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Module Assignment  10 weeks  Semester 1  Pass/Fail  One occasion  Standard University Policy applies - see Department/School handbook for details.   

Recommended Texts

If you are studying for an award you will be expected to buy or have ready access to at least one of the books listed below.  If you are new to the discipline then you are particularly recommended to purchase either the book by Hare & McLeod or by Elizabeth Parker.  Shepherd and Yeo, recently published, is also a very useful textbook.

 Robek, M.F., Brown, G.F., Stephens, D.O. 1996. Information and records management: document-based information systems. New York: GLENCOE/McGraw-Hill.

 Kennedy, J. andSchauder, C. 1998. Records management: a guide to corporate record keeping. 2nd ed. South Melbourne: Longman.

 HARE, C. and McLEOD, J. 1997. Developing a records management programme. London: Aslib.

 PARKER, E. 1999. Managing your organization’s records.  London: Library Association Publishing.

 SHEPHERD, E.& YEO, G., 2003. Managing records: a handbook of principles and practice.  London; Facet Publishing.

 WILLIAMS, C. 2006. Managing Archives: Foundations, Principles and Practice. Oxford, Chandos.

 Wherever possible NATIONAL ARCHIVES and other government publications will be referenced. Other readings or sources, including Internet resources, may also be suggested.