Graduate School of Library and Information Science - The University of Texas



LIS 389C.14 Introduction to Electronic and Digital Records

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Course Description

The management, preservation, and use of electronic records and other digital objects with enduring value are all as yet problems with only partial solutions. There are two reasons for this: the supporting technologies are changing constantly and change is accelerating; and creators and users of these records (if not the records’ potential managers and preservers) are themselves caught up in a culture of immediacy that makes the problems with electronic records invisible until some legal entanglement brings them into sharp focus. Yet as governments and other human institutions have depended upon technologies of memory to assure their longevity in the past, it is a safe bet that they will continue to do so in the future. For that reason these problems must and will be solved by those who are charged with the custody and preservation of such records, at least in a way that will be good enough to achieve the ends of the institutions in question.

The problems are not just technological; if that were so they would (and could) already have been solved. They are, more importantly, social, economic, and political. The archivist called upon to solve them in a real-world setting will have to understand not just a set of ideal archival requirements, but how to cope with applying them to and tailoring them for an actual functional environment, one where change never ceases and getting it right once and for all is not an option.