Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Archives Collection Development and Description
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2,500 - 3,000 words  40%
Semester Assessment Process a small archive or digital collection  equivalent to enable public accessibility and disseminate results. (2,500-3,000 word group portfolio and 40 minute group presentation).  60%
Supplementary Assessment Submission of supplementary coursework for failed course element in line with the learning outcomes of the original assignments  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

*Identify and appraise the policies and processes required for effective collections development and description;

* Critically assess a range of archival theories relevant to collection development and description;

  • Describe and discuss the archival principles which underpin collection development and description;

* Assess the practical application of archival theories and principles for collection development and description;

* Critically review current international and national archival descriptive standards and guidelines, and other relevant standards for finding-aid creation;

* Explain and critically review the functionality required from archive management software and the implications of electronic data exchange;

* Identify and give critical consideration to the challenges and benefits associated with providing Internet access to archive catalogues and/or archival material.

Brief description

This module is concerned with the core professional activities for Archivists of collection development and description. It will enable students to understand the principles which underpin collection development, and the policies and processes required for this to be undertaken in an organised and responsible manner. Students will consider the principles of archival description and the standards and technologies which support the creation of usable finding-aids, and digital surrogates of archival material. Maintaining accessibility to these over the long-term will also be addressed.


Semester 1: the topics to be covered in lectures/seminars will comprise:
• Policy and Process – Developing an Archives Collection
• Collection, and Acquisition
• Accessioning and Appraisal
• Principles of Arrangement
• Description for Resource Discovery
• IT Solutions for Collection Development and Description
• Digitisation for Collection Development
• Ensuring Long-term Access
(Semester 2)
• IT workshops will teach relevant data management solutions and software
• Practical Project: Students will undertake a practical group project to arrange, describe, create a finding-aid and recommend further action for a small archival collection, and personally reflect on the process

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Consideration of the specifications required to enable usable computer searching of archival descriptions and linkage to associated digital materials.
Communication A requirement to discuss and collaborate with members of the group in both seminar and practical work, and external professional archivists during practical work.
Improving own Learning and Performance Use of professional sources and documentation will foster student awareness of available learning resources, and improve critical and evaluatory skills.
Information Technology IT skills are integral to coursework and presentation of assignments. Additionally students will gain an understanding of the application of IT to archival description, digitisation and digital preservation.
Personal Development and Career planning The module provides an academic baseline and essential skills for archive professionals
Problem solving Assignment work and seminar activities will utilize professional scenarios in which strategies for dealing with particular issues and problems need to be formulated.
Research skills Assignment preparation will require the identification and location of relevant academic and professional literature, and best practice within the profession.
Subject Specific Skills Professional skills in the theory and practice of acquisition, appraisal, arrangement, archival description, digitisation and digital preservation will be developed.
Team work A group practical project will give the opportunity for extended team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 7