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Academics / Specializations / Archival Studies  

May enter this specialization in the Fall Semester.


The Archives and Records Management Specialization at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences is one of the leading programs in the United States. Students can pursue three programs: the Master of Library and Information Science degree, the Certificate of Advanced Study (for those already possessing a master’s degree), or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, depending upon their career goals.

Recordkeeping, from government to organizational to personal, is one of the most ancient and essential human and institutional functions.  Records are created and maintained for purposes of evidence, accountability, and social and corporate memory.  Archives serve a crucial cultural function, providing society with a sense of identity and memory, while records management programs assist organizations to be compliant with regulatory agencies, responsible to constituent groups, and effective and efficient in the use of informational resources.  The importance of records, sometimes depicted because of their mismanagement and sometimes because of their deliberate destruction to conceal and destroy evidence or to eradicate a people’s memory, can be read about in the newspapers every day.  Recordkeeping is a basic human function and need.

Graduates are experts in records and recordkeeping systems, electronic records management, the history and evolution of recordkeeping systems, and the technologies of recordkeeping. As a result, graduates can identify and analyze recordkeeping systems from legal, evidential, and cultural perspectives.  Graduates also possess knowledge in related areas of importance to archives, such as organizational theory, law, and history. 

Students pursue coursework in a variety of areas, including appraisal, the organization and representation of archival materials, reference and advocacy, and preservation management. Additionally, students are exposed to research methods and archival research and can use a variety of local institutions as learning laboratories or to attain practical experience while pursuing their degrees.  Students are also introduced to particular record types and institutional settings. This program is designed to provide students with both theoretical and practical bases for managing and making decisions concerning records in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings requiring archival expertise.  Graduates of this specialization have been employed in government, higher education, corporate, and cultural organizations.

Archives and records management students study in an engaging intellectual environment.  In the 2003-04 academic year, students were able to participate in a lecture series (Archives & Recordkeeping  in the Digital Era: Lectures and Ruminations) considering research projects, observations about recent scholarship, issues of public policy and recordkeeping, and speculations about the nature of records and recordkeeping’s place in modern society.  In the 2005-06 academic year, students were able to attend the “Policy, Ethics and Accountability Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences and the Johnson Institute for Responsible Government at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, bringing in a group of internationally known experts (including Thomas Blanton, Michelle Cloonan, Verne Harris, and Rick Prelinger); prospective students can view these lectures by visiting the University of Pittsburgh mediasite and scrolling down to "Information Sciences." Students also are active in the Society of American Archivists Student Chapter, including programs, fieldtrips, and social events.

Students in the Archives and Records Management specialization follow a prescribed set of courses over a one-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) program.  Since students in this specialization substitute other courses for the MLIS core courses, they must declare their intent to focus in archives and records management by the middle of the Fall term of study.  Individuals declare their intent by completing the following Archives and Records Management declaration form.

To discuss the Archives and Records Management Specialization, please fill our the archives information request form.


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For more information about the Library and Information Science Program,
please call 412.624.9420 or e-mail Debbie Day

School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh,
135 North Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Tel: 412.624.3988 | Fax: 412.624.5231 
For information about Admissions & Financial Aid, please contact
Shabana Reza at 800.672.9435

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