Friday, 7 of August of 2020

Records Describing a Course

Imagine a course called “EC 421: Senior Seminar in Widgets, Special Topics” taught by Professor Irene Adler, in the Department of Economics. A variety of records, distributed across several archival collections, document this course.

  • The course syllabus and assignments are managed in the archival collection that holds the records of the university’s Learning Management System.
  • The course description is managed in the archival collection that holds departmental records for the Department of Economics.
  • The lecture notes for the class are held in the manuscript collection comprising Professor Adler’s papers, which she has donated to the university.
  • Professor Emily Pollifax teaches the same class in alternate years. Her lecture notes will be in the manuscript collection holding Professor Pollifax’s papers.
  • Student theses for this course–20-35 page papers–are held in an archival collection of student theses from across university departments.

Teaching is a notoriously under-documented function in university archives, in part because courses cannot be properly documented in a single archival collection. In order to produce a coherent documentary representation of EAS 421, the archives needs a mechanism that can string together items from five collections.

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