Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Archives and Manuscripts : Content and Use
Academic Year
Available all semesters

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment A critical bibliography study relating to a given area  An investigation of the primary sources associated with a specific topic (3,000 words) weighted 34%  equivalent to 3,000 words  33%
Semester Assessment An investigation of the primary sources  A critical bibliography study relating to a given area ( equivalent to 3,000 words) weighted 33%  associated with a specific topic, equivalent to 3,000 words  33%
Semester Assessment A contextual study and documentary analysis  A contextual study and documentary analysis of a chosen record source ( 3,000 words) weighted 33%  chosen record source, equivalent to 3,000 words  34%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this modules, student should be able to:

  • explain the relationship between creators of records and the records created

* identify and evaluate the factors affecting the survival of records

*evaluate critically the informational value of a range of archival sources etc.

* identify and locate sources which may be used to supply information on specific subjects

*demonstrate competence in the use of appropriate secondary sources and reference material

*discuss the uses and presentation of archival material in outreach and access initiatives

Brief description

The module focuses on the range of archives and manuscripts generated by the principal administrative bodies over the centuries, on the uses made of such records in the process of developing national and local history and the role of collectors and custodians in the survival of such material.


The module begins with a survey of the principal administrative structures of government at many levels in Britain and of the Church, identifying principal categories and series of records in terms of context, interpretation and use.

Attention is then turned to the uses of archives and manuscripts over time, considering historical concepts, antiquarianism, publication of texts, manuscript studies and the development of country and local history, in order to develop skill in the use of a wide variety of primary sources and historical writings from early centuries, and in making connections between archives and printed sources and using specialised reference material.

The third section is devoted to consideration of specialised topics with which particular categories of records are associated and which comprise areas of fundamental knowledge for professional archivists

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Extensive use of location devices for archival sources in this module requires dexterity in use of number, but students will also master the use of Roman numbers in early accounting practice, the complexity of non-decimal accounts (#.s. d.) and archaic measuring and dating systems.
Communication A wide range of reading of both manuscript and printed material is required, also clear written expression and appropriate academic writing skills. The research element will require oral interaction with practising professionals and oral skills are developed at Study School
Improving own Learning and Performance Students taking this module are pursuing student-centred learning. They are well motivated and able to manage the learning process. Tutorials and feedback will facilitate continuous development.
Information Technology This module requires sophisicated use of websites, but those who follow this Masters course have excellent ICT skills. Specific skill will be further developed in other modules that require use of archival cataloguing software and evaluation of technical standards for electronic data exchange.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is part of a vocational course that leads to a qualification for a particular professional field. Participation represents significant personal development and personal investment. Career planning is assisted by tutors but the direction is already clearly established.
Problem solving The syllabus and the coursework require frequent identification of relevant factors, testing theories and suggesting solutions
Research skills Students will complete individual investigations of original source material and research the context and content. Developing skill in the use of reference sources is essential to the process
Subject Specific Skills High level skill in the location and use of primary sources in manuscript or print and of associated referene material
Team work Students pursuing this module will already be in full-time employment, working in teams. Computer conferencing facilities and study schools will also facilitate interaction and cooperation.


This module is at CQFW Level 7