Translating Practice to Positively Transform our Information Workforce

Archival / Preservation Education SIG Session


  • Sarah A. Buchanan University of Missouri
  • Manar Alsaid University of North Texas
  • Ron Harris University of Alabama
  • Suliman Hawamdeh University of North Texas
  • Jessica Herr University of Southern Mississippi
  • Jeff Hirschy University of Southern Mississippi
  • Inna Kouper Indiana University
  • Bharat Mehra University of Alabama
  • Robert B. Riter University of Alabama
  • Gretchen Stahlman Florida State University



archival education, preservation education, social informatics, workforce development, data practices


The Archival / Preservation Education SIG session offers pedagogical insights on master’s-level information science and archival education. Five ten-minute individual presentations and audience discussion elucidate educators’ roles in developing competent new professionals; presenters bring perspectives from multiple states.

“Curricular Integration of Audiovisual Archiving and Preservation” by Sarah Buchanan explores connections between coursework and professional experiences completed by MLIS graduate students. Students actively contribute to curriculum maintenance through their digitization and documentation activities, metadata creation, and perhaps most significantly community-based dialogues around project progressions and expert input – collectively ensuring the preparedness of today’s archivists to address technical challenges.

“Operationalizing the Value of Legacy Research Data” by Gretchen Stahlman and Inna Kouper explores the need for a more systematic understanding of legacy research data efforts and the value of legacy data as perceived by various research, library, and data communities. To illuminate relevant considerations, two legacy data preservation case study sites are analyzed, further situating the socio-technical processes and impact of working with and curating legacy data, as well as the role of equity, fairness, and justice.

“The Need for Archival Triage” by Jeff Hirschy and Jessica Herr demonstrates how new archivists and educators could benefit from expanded mental models of archival workplace realities. The presentation emphasizes the values of flexibility and adaptability on the part of new archivists and educators, as they strengthen tenuous connections between “perfect” archival theory (in settings with full funding and full staff), professional problem-solving, continuing education, and the definitions of preservation and oral history.

“Bridging Gaps between Archival Studies and Social Justice Scholarship: Training of Community-Embedded Paraprofessional Archivists Who Are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color” by Bharat Mehra, Robert Riter, and Ron Harris highlights ongoing experiences in bridging gaps between archival studies and social justice scholarship via curricular development/implementation, strategic collaborations, and project design in the IMLS-funded “Archival Studies Social Justice Master’s Scholarship Program (SJ4A).” SJ4A addresses current gaps in diversifying the workforce and operationalizing the how-to’s of social justice in archival practice while proposing systematic, intentional, action-oriented, community-engaged, and impact-driven education.

“AI and the Future of Archival/Preservation Education” by Suliman Hawamdeh and Manar Alsaid discusses the types of training, competencies and practices which need to be integrated into archival and preservation education to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and yet protect the authenticity and originality of archival material. Generative AI natural language tools and chatbots such as ChatGPT have the potential to enhance archival education and research by identifying sources, gathering and processing large amount of historical material / data in a timely manner, and assisting with methodological problems and computational tasks. The recent issues concerning document classification of presidential records and gaps in the National Archives’ tracking of information highlight the magnitude of spaces where AI could be the sword with two sharp edges.

The moderator will facilitate Q&A within and across the presentations.