ARCV41480 Archives preservation

Academic Year 2022/2023

Using international standards and best practice, the module considers the preservation of archives and special collections, in both analogue and digital forms. It introduces students to the nature and characteristics of different formats, as well as the immediate and longer-term threats to their ongoing preservation and access. Being able to identify risks to collections and assess organisational preservation capabilities, in order to prioritise, plan for and manage preservation activities, are emphasised as key aspects of professional work. The module will provide students with an overview of the practical approaches that can be taken to mitigate preservation risks as well the importance of operating under the guiding framework of a preservation policy. The module also introduces the practical steps in acquiring archives, which in the case of digital records, are increasingly entwined with the first steps in digital preservation.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
•Understand the importance of a preventive approach to preservation and articulate the difference between preventive and remedial preservation activities
•Be familiar with the physical components and configuration of traditional analogue materials, and their resultant preservation vulnerabilities and requirements
•Identify the wide range of activities that comprise a preservation programme
•Develop understanding of the main issues and challenges in the preservation of digital archives
•Develop awareness of the core aspects of approaches to digital preservation and the key skills and tools to commence digital preservation activities
•Become familiar with best practice standards in analogue and digital preservation.
•Formulate and implement effective acquisition procedures
•Design accessioning protocols for paper and digital material.

Indicative Module Content:

The module will cover the following broad areas: Week 1 introduction to preservation and preservation principles; Week 2 Understanding traditional archive & historic library materials and the threats they face; Week 3 Preservation in practice: archive and library buildings, storage and environments; Week 4 Preservation in practice: storage and other aspects of collection care; Week 5 Preservation planning; Week 6 Guest speaker/Site visit; Week 7 Emergency planning, prevention and recovery for traditional archive & library materials; Week 10 Preserving digital materials: introduction and issues; Week 11 Preserving digital materials: approaches and options; Week 12 Preserving digital materials, preservation software systems; Weeks 13 Guest speaker/Site visit; Week 14 Preservation considerations when acquiring and accessioning archives in traditional or digital formats.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Small Group


Field Trip/External Visits


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a small group module which is taught through weekly 2 hour seminars. Each seminar provides an overview of the week's topic, supported by the use of lecture slides, case studies and in-class activities, such as the analysis of relevant policy documents. Students are encouraged in individual active learning through participation in class discussions and in-class exercises. Student learning is further supported by a practitioner guest lecture or site visit. Autonomous learning includes the reading of relevant international preservation standards and guidelines available on Brightspace in advance of the relevant class. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Preserving digital materials Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Preserving traditional materials Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on all assessments will be provided to each student via Brightspace. Individual feedback on all assignments will be provided by one-to-one meetings on Zoom or via email if requested by students.