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iSchool Hosts Major National Archiving Conference

The University of Texas at Austin's School of Information (iSchool) will be hosting a major national conference for doctoral students in archival studies and Ph.D.'s who are beginning professional careers in archiving.

The Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI) conference is taking place in Austin from June 17-21 and will draw around 50 archives doctoral candidates and 45 archival educators for five days filled with presentations, workshops and field trips.

The current ranks of archival educators are aging and we need to support and grow a new generation. - Dr. Patricia Galloway

"Most people don't realize this, but Archival Studies as an area of doctoral study in the United States has not been around all that long," said Patricia Galloway, a professor in the iSchool. "The current ranks of archival educators are aging and we need to support and grow a new generation."

The AERI conference was created in 2009 through the efforts of a consortium of eight university Ph.D. programs in archival studies, of which UT is a member, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the Laura Bush Librarians for the Twenty-First Century initiative. The conference aims to encourage these students by focusing on mentoring, networking and research.

During the conference, students will present research papers which archival studies faculty will critique and will be taken on tours of several archives on the UT campus and around Austin. According to Galloway, the conference offers a great opportunity for students to make contact with senior archival educators and learn directly from their experience.

"This event's quite significant," said Galloway. "Prior to the conference, the only place where doctoral students and educators could easily network was through the Archival Educators Roundtable at the annual Society of American Archivists meeting. AERI provides five days of intensive interaction each year instead of a few hours. These new Ph.D.'s are the ones who will add to the theoretical base that makes the discipline of archival studies possible."

U.S. students are receiving full funding to attend the conference.

"Although most of the students who are attending are from the U.S., this conference also is drawing attendees from as far away as New Zealand, Canada, China, Korea and Australia," said Galloway.

According to Galloway, the aim of AERI and the conference is to see the doctoral students through the entire cycle of education and employment, following and supporting them as they leave school, find appointments as archival educators, and even through the process of tenure.

- Kay Randall, University Communications, 512-363-6520