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Dr. Ciaran B. Trace, 1971-2024

Dr. Ciaran Trace, 1971-2024

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Professor Ciaran B. Trace has passed away. Dr. Trace joined The University of Texas at Austin School of Information (iSchool) in 2010 and was a passionate advocate for the archives and records management fields. She led the effort in establishing the iSchool’s partnership with the Institute of Certified Records Managers, allowing students to apply completed coursework toward examination credit for either the Certified Records Analyst (CRA) or the Certified Records Manager (CRM) designations.

Dr. Trace’s teaching and research explored the history of the information professions and the intersection of archival work with emerging and cutting-edge technologies. Her recent work with Good Systems, a UT Grand Challenge, investigated information governance practices on algorithmic accountability and her current research project investigated information governance issues around smart camera use. Dr. Trace’s particular interest in the written record as a tool for accountability and transparency informed the development of a teaching curriculum that reimagined and prepared the informational professional for the digital age. As an instructor, she emphasized the importance of ethical and culturally responsive approaches to information work and engaged students in discussions that tackled important issues such as community archival engagement, notions of objectivity and bias in the historical record, the intersection of archives and human rights, and the role of technology in transforming archival labor and infrastructure.

Dr. Trace was a dedicated mentor who championed the important work of archivists and records managers, inspiring many students to the profession and supporting opportunities to build skills, experience, and professional connections in the classroom and beyond. She served as the faculty advisor for the UT student chapter of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) until 2022. A member of the national SAA organization since 1997, Dr. Trace was the first recipient of SAA’s Archival Innovator Award in 2013 (along with Dr. Luis Francisco-Revilla at the Texas Advance Computing Center) for their work on an augmented processing table, which examined how surface computing could be used as a learning tool to make the processing of archival collections more efficient and enhance the way people interact with both physical and digital archival materials. In 2016, Dr. Trace was appointed editor of Information & Culture, becoming the first woman in the journal’s fifty-six-year history to serve in that role, which she held until 2022.

In recognition of her outstanding commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Trace was promoted to full professor in 2023. Throughout her thirteen-year tenure as a faculty member, Dr. Trace’s professional contributions have enhanced our school’s national and international reputation for excellence in graduate education in the Archives and Records Enterprise. Prior to joining the Texas iSchool, Dr. Trace taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies as an assistant professor. She held a B.A. in Archaeology, Greek and Roman Civilization from the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin as well as a diploma in Archival Studies. She earned a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Trace was a beloved instructor and mentor for hundreds of students and alumni in the archives and records management professions, a dedicated researcher whose work sought to understand the impact of information work and information institutions on everyday life, and a well-respected colleague who will be missed by many who were fortunate enough to have known her.

The iSchool is planning to host a memorial event in honor of Dr. Trace on April 25th. View event details here.

Gifts to the Dr. David B. Gracy II Endowed Excellence Fund in Archival Enterprise at the School of Information are warmly welcomed. 

Dr. Trace’s faculty webpage is available here

March 18, 2024