University of Michigan School of Information
SI 692 Practical Engagement Workshop in Archives and Records

Winter 2006

@ Bentley Historical Library, North Campus
1150 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2113

Location: all sessions, except the February 15 session, will be held in the Whiting Room (Room 2215) of Bentley Historical Library, directly across Beal Avenue from SI North; on February 15, the class will meet at the Detroit Observatory on Central Campus, at 1398 East Ann Street.

Instructor: Nancy Bartlett (Bentley Historical Library, Head Archivist for University Archives and Records Program), e-mail, voice 734.764.3482

Class time: Wednesday 9.10 a.m. to 12.00 noon

Office hours: Wednesday 1.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. and by appointment

Course Description

The purpose of this course is for students to gain knowledge and skills in diverse areas of archives administration. Agencies of most relevance to the course are archives, special collections, records centers, and preservation departments. Through engagements at sites, students will be able to experience the daily work of administration in these types of agencies. The internship portion of the course is an intensive practical engagement experience. Through the weekly class meetings, students will examine issues with senior administrators in archives and closely related institutions with unique holdings of evidence and historical value. Class meetings will also afford students the opportunity to compare their work experiences. The emphasis in class discussions will be on what is particular to the administration of archives and the nature of archival holdings.

As a Practical Engagement Workshop, the course follows the current Society of American Archivists' "Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies" These guidelines state in part, "Graduate archival education, in contrast to archival training, is both academic and professional; therefore, it includes both original research and experiential learning. Ultimately, archival education creates an intellectual framework that enables students to understand the ideas on which their profession is founded, to engage in the development of archival principles, and to apply this knowledge in a variety of settings."

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: SI 580 or permission of instructor

Class type: This course provides 3 Practical Engagement Points.

Practical Engagement Experience

For the administration of Practicum placements, each student is assigned to either Section 1 or Section 2. All students must prepare four written reports on the progress of their placements and one final, oral report. The four written reports are due February 1, February 22, March 15, and April 12. Oral reports are scheduled for April 5 and April 12. In addition to supplying Nancy Bartlett with all four written reports, those in Section 1 will provide Bill Wallach email of Bentley Historical Library with each written report, via e-mail as an attachment, and those in Section 2 will provide each written report to Joanna C Kroll email, Assistant Director of Career Services in SI. Please note "Practicum Report" in the subject header for e-mail.

Assignments and Grading

Students are required to participate in the weekly meetings of the class; to fulfill 120 hours of their Practical Engagement Experience; to prepare four written reports at designated intervals during the semester; and to present a final, oral report to the class at the end of the semester.

Grading for the course is pass-fail.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to abide by the provisions of the Rackham Graduate School Policy Statement on Academic and Professional Integrity:

Students with Disabilities

Any student who feels in need of an accommodation for any sort of disability is advised to please contact the instructor, Nancy Bartlett at, phone 734.764.3482, or office address Bentley Historical Library, 1150 Beal Avenue, North Campus.


A basic familiarity with archival terminology is assumed for enrollment in this class since SI 580 is a prerequisite. Students are encouraged to refer to the online Society of American Archivists Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, at

~ Summary of Schedule ~

January 11: Course overview

January 18: Managing the Infrastructure: Archival Facilities

January 25: Organizational Complexity: Mission and Activities

February 1: Planning [FIRST REPORT DUE]

February 8: Decision Making and Project Management

February 15: Managing Human Resources

February 22: Grant Writing and Funding Sources [SECOND REPORT DUE]

March 1: [winter break, no class]

March 8: Branding, Public Relations, and External Communication Processes

March 15: Managing Process: Local Adminstrative Systems and the Aim of an Archivist's Toolkit [THIRD REPORT DUE]

March 22: Leadership

March 29: Technology in Organizations: Management, Adoption, Implementation

April 5: Managing Your Career and FINAL ORAL REPORTS


~ Schedule ~

January 11: Course overview

Abstract: The purpose of this first session is to introduce students to the general program of the class sessions, to review the practical engagement logistics and obligations as well as all other requirements for the course, and to determine the students' level of understanding of archival fundamentals and terminology.

Course instructor:

Nancy Bartlett, Archivist, Bentley

Sites/sources recommended as review of session:

John Fleckner, Society of American Archivists Presidential Address, 1990, "Dear Mary Jane: Some Reflections on Being an Archivist,"

H. Thomas Hickerson, Society of American Archivists Presidential Address, 2000, "Ten Challenges for the Archival Profession,"

Richard Pearce-Moses, Society of American Archivists Presidential Address, 2005, "The Winds of Change: Blown to Bits,"

Tim Ericson, "Still the Accidental Archivist?" Recruiting Professionals for the Twenty-First Century," presented at Choices and Challenges Symposium, October 8-10, 2004,

January 18: Managing the Infrastructure, Archival Facilities

Abstract: The physical infrastructure of an archive requires an expert administration with a full grasp of all core activities and concerns of an archival operation. Bill Wallach, Associate Director of the Bentley Historical Library, was project archivist and administrative liaison for the recent design and construction of a 34,000 square foot addition to the Bentley Historical Library; this addition--including a suite of offices and open work area, two three-level stacks, a conservation area with a cold room for preservation, and a penthouse for mechanical equipment--was substantially completed in 2004. This session will introduce the class to the bricks and mortar of archives, including the important role for archivists at the table in any development of an architectural program; security and other risk-avoidance requirements for an archival facility; and preservation standards.

Presenter: Bill Wallach, Associate Director, Bentley


Bentley Historical Library Construction Images:

Michael J. Kurtz, "Managing Archival Facilities," Chapter 10 in Managing Archival & Manuscript Repositories, 159-184.

January 25: Organizational Complexity: Mission and Activities

Abstract: Organizational complexity relates to three challenges for the administrator of archives and other institutions of cultural memory: one is the complexity of the archives, and its parent institution, as an administrative operation; a second is the complexity of the records themselves; and a third is the connection of a single institution’s missions and activities to a larger professional engagement in issues of archival access, preservation, understanding, and advocacy. Francis Blouin, director of the Bentley Historical Library and faculty member both of SI and the Department of History, will lead this session’s discussion. In his twenty years as director of the Bentley and faculty member at Michigan, Francis Blouin has engineered four significant changes and additions to the Bentley Historical Library’s administrative and academic programs. In doing so, he has established the Bentley as a premier center for the research and practice of archival administration. The Bentley was host for fifteen years (1982-1997) to the Research Fellowship Program for the Study of Modern Archives and in 1988 was awarded the Society of American Archivists Distinguished Service Award.

Nancy Davenport, President of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), will bring the perspective of the Council's efforts to promote an expanded concept of "library" through its publications, projects, and programs. As a member of CLIR's board of directors, Francis Blouin will draw associations between the Bentley's expanded programs and the mission of CLIR.


Francis Blouin, Director, Bentley

Nancy Davenport, President, CLIR


Francis Blouin, "Archivists, Mediation, and Constructs of Social Memory," Archival Issues 24 (2), 101-112.

"The Evidence in Hand: Report of the Task Force on the Artifact in Library Collections"

February 1: Planning

Abstract: New initiatives and ongoing operations in archival administration benefit in equal measure from strategic planning. Over the past twenty years, the Bentley Historical Library has performed a number of deliberate reviews and refinements of its appraisal and acquisition within the library's Michigan Historical Collections division. These reviews have been based in part on the methodology of a cluster of articles including two authored by Bentley staff members Judith Endelman and Christine Weideman. The reviews have led to strategic planning for new areas of appraisal and acquisition, with current priorities for collecting including African-American churches in Michigan, gay marriage, and Affirmative Action. Tom Powers and Len Coombs will discuss the process of planning through their experiences in leading staff collections reviews and the ongoing field program of the Michigan Historical Collections.

The second portion of the session on planning will address a new initiative of the University of Michigan Library system, to establish an Institutional Repository. (The IR is named DeepBlue, and was launched in 2005). Planning for the IR has occurred over the past two years, with involvement on the part of Bentley archivists as well as University Library administrators, SI faculty and students, and IT support staff of the Library. Lead project coordinator, Jim Ottaviani, will present an overview of the planning of an identity for DeepBlue, its functionality, relationship to other digital archives on campus, and program for growth over time. Lessons learned from other universities' Institutional Repositories informed the planning and will be a part of the presentation.


Len Coombs, Archivist, Bentley and SI alumnus, 1978

Jim Ottaviani, DeepBlue Project Coordinator and SI alumnus, 1992

Tom Powers, Archivist, Bentley and SI alumnus, 1968


Frank Boles, "Putting the Pieces Together: A Selection Model," in Selecting and Appraising Archives and Manuscripts (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2005), 97-120.


Judith Endelman, "Looking Backward to Plan for the Future: Collection Analysis for Manuscript Repositories," American Archivist 50 (Summer 1987): 340-355.

Christine Weideman, "A New Map for Field Work: Impact of Collections Analysis on the Bentley Historical Library," American Archivist 54 (Winter 1991): 54-61.

February 8: Decision Making and Project Management

Abstract: Authors Patricia Bartkowski and William Saffady of Wayne State University's archives have observed that, "Files represent accumulated knowledge [and] despite the growth of the information science industry, the office file still stands as an important link in the chain of information-handling and decision-making."

Executive officers of the University of Michigan rely upon the senior staff of the Bentley Historical Library to facilitate their decision-making process through an efficient yet thorough retrieval of key documents embedded within complex file systems in the university archives.

State of Michigan agencies depend likewise upon the State Archives of Michigan to serve as the collective memory of Michigan state government. Records in the State Archives are particularly useful for legislative history and intent, land surveys, military service, and governmental policy on mental health, public health, education, labor, welfare and corrections.

State Archivist Mark Harvey and University of Michigan archivist Brian Williams will consider Schellenberg's primary value of archives, Helen Samuels' functional attributes of universities' administrations, current archival descriptive standards, and operational toolkits as these archival concepts and practices relate to and support patterns of administrative decision making through the University of Michigan records and the State of Michigan records.

Archivists themselves must establish skills in decision-making and project management. The administrative supervision of processing--both of individual collections and new additions to existing record groups--amounts to decision-making and, at times, project management for targeted (and at times specially funded) processing priorities. A new initiative of the State Archives, entitled Michigan Heritage Collection, will be previewed in the class.


Mark Harvey, State Archivist of Michigan

Brian Williams, Associate Archivist, Bentley and SI alumnus, 1990


"Functional analysis," SAA glossary:

"Primary value," SAA glossary:

State of Michigan Archives

State of Michigan Records Management Services

T.R. Schellenberg, "The Appraisal of Modern Public Records: Evidential Values"

University of Michigan Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs website:

February 15: Managing Human Resources

*** Location: Detroit Observatory, 1398 East Ann Street, Central Campus

Abstract: Nowhere is the management of human resources in an archive more time-sensitive, intensive, and exposed to the public than in its Reference and Access division. Skills and expertise in recruitment, training, mentoring, time management, and performance review are expected of those who administer staff. The philosophy, structure, and evolution of staffing in the Bentley's Reference and Access Division will be discussed by three of its head archivists, past and present. Author of the essential manual for reference archivists and new editor of The American Archivist, Mary Jo Pugh will also offer observations about human resources in federal government as Supervisory Archivist for the National Park Service. Mike Smith, Director of the Walter P. Reuther Library and its former head of reference, will add the perspective of a neighboring academic archive.

Administration of the Bentley's docent program will be discussed by Karen Wight, Project Coordinator for the Detroit Observatory. She will lead the class on a brief tour of the Detroit Observatory, a "three-dimensional archive" under the curatorial care of the Bentley.


Nancy Bartlett, Head of Reference, Bentley, 1985-99

Karen Jania, Head of Reference, Bentley, 2003- and SI alumna, 1997

Mary Jo Pugh, Head of Reference, Bentley, 1969-85 and SI alumna, 1969

Mike Smith, Director, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State

Karen Wight, Project Coordinator, Detroit Observatory, Bentley


Bentley Historical Library Detroit Observatory site:

Michael J. Kurtz, "Human Resources: The Critical Element," Chapter 8 in Managing Archival & Manuscript Repositories (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004), 115-141.

Mary Jo Pugh, "Managing Reference Services and Evaluating the Use of Archives" (Chap. 9, 249-70) and "Standards for Reference Archivists—Behaviors Associated with Good Reference Service" (Appendix 6, 330-31) in Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2005).

February 22: Grant Writing and Funding Sources

Abstract: External funding enables an archival institution to further its program beyond what operational costs would otherwise allow. Successful grant proposals are the result of solid project planning. Persuasive writing, a realistic strategy, competitive concepts, compelling collections, and other assets such as a proven ability to realize grant-funded goals and objectives are all elements of such a proposal. Presenter Bill Wallach has over twenty-five years of experience as author, reviewer, administrator, and principal investigator in projects funded through government and foundation grants. For two and half years, he was a program officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and he continues to serve as an NEH review panelist. He and Francis Blouin administered the Bentley Historical Library's highly successful Research Fellowship Program for the Study of Modern Archives, a program of annual fellowship awards (1982 to 1997) funded by the NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Bill Wallach will outline key concepts and strategies in his presentation on external funding for archives.

Presenter: Bill Wallach, Associate Director, Bentley


Michael J. Kurtz, "Project Management," Chapter 6 in Managing Archival and Manuscript Repositories (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004), 89-100.

Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grants for Libraries:

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH):

NEH Grants to Preserve and Create Access to Humanities Collections:

National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC):

NHPRC Archival Projects and Products:

March 1: [winter break, no class]

March 8: Branding, Public Relations, and External Communication Processes

Abstract: The benefits, roles, and needs of archives as institutions are not necessarily self-evident to stakeholders or the general public. Archives figure most often in the news as backdrop to celebratory anniversaries, in stories based on information within collections rather than on the institution itself. Archives as subject can reach the front page, through skillful public relations, on the occasion of new initiatives, major acquisitions, or timely stories about the changing nature of institutional records. "Archives" as a concept can at times suggest to the public an ill intent on the part of donor/creator, archivist, or user. Archivists Judith Endelman and Frank Boles will present both auspicious and challenging evolutions in identity and single events in their institutions, and the skills and political savvy required to aim for influence, if not control, over news coverage. The importance of creating a strong public identity through strategic branding will be considered, as will tactics in addressing the media.


Judith Endelman, Director, Benson Ford Research Center, The Henry Ford

Frank Boles, Director, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan


Frank Boles, "’Just a Bunch of Bigots’": A Case Study in the Acquisition of Controversial Material," Archival Issues 19 (1), 1994: 53-65.

Lawrence Dowler, "An Independent Assessment of the Ford Motor Company Research Project on Ford-Werke Under the Nazi Regime:"

The Henry Ford 2004 Annual Report:

March 15: Managing Process: Local Administrative Systems and the Aim of an Archivists' Toolkit

Abstract: Archival administrators recognize the need for efficient and effective systems for managing workflow. What had previously been viewed more formally as linear progressions in archival administration—appraisal and acquisition, accessioning, arrangement and description, reference, outreach, and preservation—are now less autonomous and more integrated. This session, led by three members of the Bentley’s University Archives and Records Program (UARP), will consider research at the national level to develop an Archivists’ Toolkit and a Bentley Historical Library adaptation of a digital toolset for the management of workflow within the Bentley.


Nancy Bartlett, Archivist, Bentley

Greg Kinney, Associate Archivist, Bentley and SI alumnus, 1986

Polly Reynolds, Assistant Archivist, Bentley and SI alumna, 2005


Archivists Toolkit:

March 22: Leadership

Abstract: Demonstrating leadership and documenting leadership go hand in hand in this session. A case study of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a timely focus of this session, given the recent fiftieth anniversary of the Presidential Libraries Act (1955) and the recent twentieth anniversary of the independence of the NARA (1985). Past and current leaders from the National Archives system will take part in a panel discussion on the role of NARA in the American archival profession, social memory, and the documentation of U.S. presidencies.


Francis Blouin, Director, Bentley Library

Elaine Didier, Director, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Robert M. Warner, former National Archivist and former Director, Bentley


Kevin M. Guthrie, The New-York Historical Society: Lessons from One Nonprofit’s Long Struggle for Survival (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996).

National Archives Presidential Libraries:

Robert M. Warner, "Secrecy and Salesmanship in the Struggle for NARA’s Independence," Prologue 37 (1):

March 29: Technology in Organizations: Management, Adoption, Implementation

Abstract: This session will focus on the dynamic intersection of people, technology, information policy, and records within organizations. The presenters will draw on key examples of the ways that organizations adopt and adapt policies, procedures, and routines based on changes in the technological and cultural environment. Both speakers will discuss specific case studies from their institutions.

Nancy Deromedi, Digital Assets Archivist, Bentley and SI alumna, 1997

Caryn Wojcik, Government Records Archivist, Records Management Services, Michigan Historical Center, SI alumna, 1995


State of Michigan, Records Management Services

Note: just browse the following documents.

Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan

April 5: Developing Your Career, and FINAL REPORTS

Abstract: Corporations present a particularly challenging and stimulating environment for archival careers. Elizabeth Adkins, archivist for Ford Motor and incoming president of the Society of American Archivists, will offer observations on the importance of developing a competitive portfolio of educational and work experiences in order to achieve a successful career in archival administration, especially within the business world.

Nancy Beaumont, Executive Director of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), will introduce students to the importance of ongoing professional development through active participation in professional associations such as the SAA, contributions to the professional literature, and enrollment in continuing education opportunities.

Final reports will follow these two presentations. Half the class will present individual final reports today, and half the following week. Joanna Kroll and Bill Wallach will attend presentations of final reports, and hosts of practical engagement sites will also be invited to attend.


Elizabeth W. Adkins, Director of Global Information Management at Ford Motor Company and Incoming President, SAA

Nancy Beaumont, Executive Director of the Society of American Archivists (SAA)


Elizabeth W. Atkins, "A History of the Ford Motor Company Archives, With Reflections on Archival Documentation of Ford of Europe's History" also Presentation of the Project

Ford Motor Company

Society of American Archivists

April 12: FINAL REPORTS continued

Syllabus effective dated January 6, 2006.
revised January 9, 2006.
updated January 23, 2006. Copyright ©2006 Bentley Historical Library