The Historic Information Management Program
The world’s museums hold the collections and treasures of art, science, and civilizations that stand as cultural evidence connecting us to history and heritage. Museums also present learning opportunities for shared experience by collecting, displaying, and preserving important objects and information. Responsibility for these priceless collections and irreplaceable artifacts falls to the museum professionals or those entrusted to the care and superintendence of civilizations past. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) provides an extraordinary opportunity for those entrusted with care of historical resources and those who desire to know more about the exciting field of Historic Information Management (HIM).
WHAT IS HIM?
Historic Information Management is the discipline associated with collecting and providing access to information resources documenting historical activity while preserving and ensuring the integrity and authenticity of that information. Professionally, such work is considered the responsibility of archivists, records managers, and museum curators.
Increasingly, businesses, government agencies, and organizations alike are recognizing the legal, fiscal, and ethical requirements to responsibly manage the historically significant information they generate or acquire. In addition, many organizations and businesses consider having a small museum or archives beneficial to promoting their image in the community. Ideally, these organizations would seek out a college-trained professional to care for and administer these materials. Unfortunately, financial considerations often preclude creating a new position for an archivist, records manager, or curator, and someone on staff is delegated to assume the responsibility, quite often in addition to ongoing responsibilities. The question then becomes, how does one gain the education and training needed to administer these historical resources, especially when one has other job-related duties and possibly family responsibilities and lacks access to an undergraduate or graduate school program?
WHAT IS THE HIM PROGRAM?
The Historic Information Management Program at KCTCS consists of three certificate programs: Archives Studies, Museum Studies, and Records Management. Each certificate program incorporates the core concepts and functions of the specialty profession along with specific theory and practice.
The HIM Program has sought out qualified international professionals and faculty with a passion to share their knowledge and experience in the management of historical information resources. As a result, KCTCS HIM students and practitioners actively engage and learn from professionals with expertise in the daily work, struggles, and challenges of this dynamic field – albeit through a distance learning environment.
The HIM Certificate Programs include a series of courses and learning outcomes focused on the special cultural and professional skills required in this converging and multidisciplined field of art, history, sociology, and archaeology.
The Archives Studies Certificate consists of five courses.
Characteristics and Overview is an introduction to the basics of collections management and development, intellectual control, preservation, conservation, and technological applications.
Appraisal and Accessioning is an in-depth examination of the information appraisal and accession process in archives work, with students developing a complete accession record, including records transmittal forms, deed of gift, and accession form as a project outcome.
Arrangement and Description pr ovides students with a theory and practice exercise in archival settings. Topics covered include provenance, original order, arrangement practices, media-specific description fields, MARC and EAD formatting, and indexing, with students completing archival descriptions for several collections and media types.
Preservation and Conservation o ffers an in-depth analysis of the conservation and preservation issues confronting archive staff with students preparing and completing an archives emergency response plan as a course outcome. Included in this course are the impact of environmental condition upon collections, problems associated with various records media and formats, conservation and working with conservators, security, and emergency mitigation and response procedures.
Automation and Electronic Records p rovides students with an understanding of the archive’s automation practices, to include database theory, design and development, and data field content and structure as related to archives automation. In addition to creating a complete archival catalog records, students generate an automated accession report, collection description with appended image, and container list.
The Museum Management Certificate courses series consists of five courses.
Characteristics and Overview is an introduction to the profession of museum studies and includes history, development, and nature of work in the profession.
Collections Care and Management focuses on the analysis of the curatorial needs of museum collections, with topics including collections policies and development, accessioning, registration, preservation, exhibiting, and ethical consideration regarding deaccessioning and collection sales.
Conservation and Preservation is an in-depth analysis of the conservation and preservation issues confronting museum staff, with topics including the impact of environmental condition upon collections; problems associated with historic structures; artifact conservation; and working with conservators, security, and emergency mitigation and response procedures.
Exhibits includes extensive analysis of the issues presented in the display of a museum's collections, with topics focused on exhibit planning, design, fabrication, installation, and interpretation. In addition, ethical considerations and cultural sensitivity issues regarding the presentation of cultural artifacts are addressed.
Automation examines the significant role played by automated information management systems, the application and use of databases in fiscal management, inventory control, and retail management promotion, as well as web presence and virtual museum presentation in museum management.
The Records Management Certificate courses series includes five courses.
Characteristics and Overview provides an introduction to the profession of records management, focusing on the basics of file and form management, records inventory and analysis, scheduling and reprography, electronic records, and record center operation.
Files and Forms Management identifies and applies rules and standards of filing systems and procedures, emphasizing management of both hard copy and electronic media using alphabetic, numeric, subject, geographic, chronological, and color filing systems.
Records Inventory and Analysis provides in-depth coverage of the process of records identification and analysis, with students mastering records inventory and vital-records discovery, records information content and value, and disaster mitigation and response.
Electronic Records Management offers in-depth coverage of the process by which electronic records are created and managed, to include identification and analysis of electronic records for scheduling and the use of database systems for monitoring compliance with scheduling and disposition of electronic and paper-based records. As part of the course, students design, develop, and implement a database for tracking records-schedule compliance.
Records Reproduction and Imaging Systems provides in-depth analysis of information reproduction systems for the management, preservation, and access of records. Students will master the appropriate use of use of a variety of image reproduction formats, quality control standards associated with each format, and the cost-benefit considerations appropriate for each image-reproduction format.
The KCTCS HIM Program provides comprehensive and professional development options for those currently employed in the field of Historic Information Management, and for those interested in museum studies seeking to develop a greater understanding of the work and profession prior to committing to extensive and expensive undergraduate or graduate education work. The flexibility of the online HIM Program also provides opportunities for the many adult learners choosing to pursue professional careers in the Historical Information Management profession, but finding it necessary to manage multiple responsibilities or work full-time schedules while continuing their undergraduate or graduate education.
For more information on The Historic Information Management Program at KCTCS, contact Larry LaFollette.
To preview Project SAIL programs and courses and learn how to participate, visit www.league.org/sail.
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