Guidelines for the Development of Post-Appointment and Continuing Education and Training Programs (PACE)

Adopted by the Council of the Society of American Archivists, August 30, 1997.

Note to the reader:

The PACE guidelines below were approved in 1997 and underwent a scheduled five-year review in 2002 by the Committee on Education and Professional Development (CEPD), now the Committee on Education. The committee noted in its report that several aspects of the PACE Guidelines need revision. Perhaps most notably, the "Subject Framework" section of these PACE guidelines were based on the 1994 Guidelines for the Development of a Curriculum for a Master of Archival Studies (MAS) Degree. The MAS Guidelines were replaced by a new set of Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies in January 2002.

The Committee on Education is currently working to update and revise the SAA's approach to professional and continuing education. The result will be a new set of guidelines that also include an articulation of the priorities and approaches that the SAA Education Office will utilize in planning its own professional and continuing education program. The committee will also explore the possibilities of developing a comprehensive set of new guidelines in conjuction with allied professional organizations.

Although portions of these PACE guidelines are somewhat out of date, many of the ideas in the document itself, especially those in the "Planning, Delivery, and Support" section and the "Roles and Relationships" section, remain useful for reference purposes.


In 1994 the Society of American Archivists (SAA) adopted Guidelines for the Development of a Curriculum for a Master of Archival Studies Degree. That document expresses SAA's position that "programs of the extent and nature outlined in these guidelines are the best form of pre-appointment professional education for archivists." A field as complex and rapidly changing as archives, however, also requires effective post-appointment and continuing education and training. In order to plan and foster educational programs which address this challenge, SAA approved Guidelines for the Development of Post-Appointment and Continuing Education and Training Programs (PACE).

PACE programs are intended to provide brief, focused learning opportunities. (They are not a substitute for graduate archival education.) PACE programs should provide both education and training. Education involves gaining knowledge of archival principles and methods and developing a professional ethos and approach to archival administration. Training involves the application of principles, methods, and ethos in archival practice.

PACE programs meet the needs of a varied audience. Although an increasing number of archivists enter the field with graduate archival education, many arrive with other academic backgrounds. Archivists with graduate archival education require continuing education and training to update, expand, and deepen the knowledge they gained in graduate courses and through their work experience. Individuals employed as archivists who have not had the benefit of graduate archival education can improve their knowledge and skills through post-appointment education between these groups is necessary for post-appointment and continuing education and training to be effective. Recognition of their different roles and responsibilities is also important.

(1) Individual archivists are responsible for assessing their educational needs, communicating these needs to their employers and professional organizations, and keeping their archival knowledge and skills up-to-date. Archivists are also responsible for educating employers, colleagues, and others in the knowledge and skills required to administer an archival program.

(2) Employers are responsible for encouraging and supporting post-appointment and continuing education and training for archivists. This can be accomplished through a variety of means such as financial support, administrative leave, and flexible work schedules. Such support enables archivists to gain access to post-appointment and continuing education and training activities and other educational tools, such as publications and internet access, which support their professional development. Employers are also encouraged to attend programs to learn more about archival functions within their own organizations.

(3) Professional organizations and college or university-based archival education programs are responsible for assessing the post-appointment and continuing education and training needs of archivists, employers of archivists, and others interested in the care, use, and preservation of historical records. These organizations are also responsible for developing educational programs and tools which identify and explain the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that records are properly managed for administrative, legal, and historical purposes.



PACE programs may be offered to three audiences.

This audience category is intended for individuals employed as archivists and paraprofessional archives staff who have neither had the benefit of graduate archival education nor substantial professional experience. Continuing education in this category provides a basic introduction to archival concepts and functions. Offerings in this category emphasize the rationale for the concept or function discussed and basic training in how particular functions are performed.

This audience category is intended for archivists who have had the benefit of graduate education in archival administration and/or substantial professional archival experience. Educational opportunities in this category build upon knowledge acquired either in graduate archival education or through substantial professional experience. Participants should already understand subject matter dealt with in the Introductory category. Offerings in the Advanced category examine archival issues, concepts, and functions in greater depth than at the Introductory level. They may also draw on knowledge and techniques from related professions and disciplines. Continuing education and training in the Advanced category provides opportunity to study in depth new trends in the discussion of archival theory and practice and/or to receive advanced training.

This category is intended for non-archivists. For a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, this audience may need to learn more about archival administration, yet does not want to pursue formally either graduate work in archival studies or continuing education and training designed for archivists. This group includes actual or potential sponsors of archives, users of archives who are not archivists, employers and supervisors of archivists, volunteer workers in archives, and persons who are simply interested in knowing more about archives. Topics of interest to this group include the role of archives in sponsoring institutions and in society, archival principles, concepts, practices, and sources, and research strategies and opportunities in archives. Offerings in the Ancillary category emphasize what is done in archives and its rationale rather than how it is done.


Subject Framework

The subject areas covered in post-appointment and continuing education and training reflect the three knowledge areas identified in Guidelines for the Development of a Curriculum for a Master of Archival Studies Degree: contextual knowledge, archival knowledge, and complementary knowledge. The PACE guidelines do not prescribe specific courses for continuing education and training programs. Rather, the knowledge areas presented here can be developed into a variety of educational offerings that draw on subjects from different areas. Not all subjects or topics are appropriate for each audience described above. (The subject areas text below has been adapted from Guidelines for the Development of a Curriculum for a Master of Archival Studies Degree. Although the word archivist appears throughout this section, certain PACE programs may be of interest to non-archivists.)

1. Contextual Knowledge

Archival work rests on an understanding of the context in which archival documents have been created, preserved, maintained, and used. Archivist should be knowledgeable about the administrative, legal, economic, and cultural contexts which shape the purposes for which records in the United States have been created and used, the procedures and processes of their creation and maintenance, and their form and content.

More specialized contexts also influence the archivist's understanding of records in areas such as literature, religion, the sciences, and family life. Although these records are created within the same organizational, legal, financial, and cultural framework that defines classical archival work, they are also shaped by more specific and equally significant professional, (sub) cultural, and family frameworks. These more specific frameworks are diverse, and the educational needs of individuals who work in these areas may be met by instruction tailored to their needs.

Although these guidelines relate to PACE programs intended for U.S. archivists, in a world moving toward a global community, it is important that PACE programs emphasize relationships between the United States and other countries. For this reason, instruction in the contextual knowledge area should be delivered in a comparative way.


U.S. Organizational History
PACE programs provide instruction in the origin, development, and nature of American institutions, the responsibilities, functions, procedures, and processes of all levels of government and private organizations, and the administrative relationships between governments and private organizations (such as churches, universities, and financial institutions).

U.S. Legal System
PACE programs provide instruction in the origin, development, and structure of legal systems, legal jurisdictions and legal processes, specifically those affecting the way in which individuals and organizations accomplish activities and execute programs, and in the legal principles and procedures governing the creation, maintenance, and use of archival documents.

U.S. Financial Systems
PACE programs deal with the principles, methods, and procedures of accounting, budgeting, and financial planning, and with how they affect the creation of records. Instruction in this area should cover the origin, development, and structure of accounting systems, as well as the characteristics of accounting for private organizations compared with the characteristics of accounting for government agencies and offices.

2. Archival Knowledge

The identity of a profession is based on a body of knowledge belonging exclusively to it, and on a professional culture that arises from a common history, a united purpose, a shared language, and collective values, norms and standards. Archival knowledge is the core of archival studies and thus PACE programs. Because the elements of archival knowledge are interwoven, the components described below overlap. Since archival knowledge and professional culture transcend geographical and national boundaries, each component should be taught from an international and multicultural perspective.


The History of Archives, Archival Organization and Legislation, and the Character of the Archival Profession
PACE programs provide instruction in the historical development of recordmaking and recordkeeping systems in various civilizations, ranging from ancient systems to modern ones, including computerized systems. Instruction should cover the structure of the archival network in the Western world in general and in North America in particular, the types of archival repositories and programs in existence in the United States, along with their policies and procedures, and the legislation and regulations governing archives and influencing archival work in the United States. Instruction should also address the historical development of the archival profession, its missions, roles, and values over time, and the profession's code of ethics and contemporary concerns.

Records Management
PACE programs teach those aspects of organizational culture, structure, procedures, processes, and communication systems that relate to records creation and use. Instruction should include records control through information systems and record forms, recordkeeping systems (including classification, retention and disposition, identification and retrieval, maintenance, storage, and transfer systems), reformatting techniques and standards, design and implementation of multimedia integrated records management programs (including methods of analysis of records systems and of taking inventories), and information technologies.

Archival Science
PACE programs encompass archival theory, archival methodology, and archival practice. In treating theory, PACE programs should emphasize the analysis of fundamental ideas about the nature of archives, archival records, and archival functions. In treating methodology, they should emphasize the analysis of ideas about performing archival functions. In treating practice, they should emphasize the analysis of practical implications and the implementation of theory and method in actual circumstances. Instruction should cover the history of archival theory and methods and their articulation in the professional literature. Archival science should be taught with a focus on the functions of appraisal, acquisition and collection development, arrangement, description, reference services and the administration of access, outreach, and preservation. Proper attention should be given to the development of new record formats which result from changing information technologies for the creation, maintenance, and use of records, and to automated systems for archives. The challenges to archival thinking and practice posed by these phenomena must be fully explored. PACE programs should also offer an introduction to the foundations of ethical professional practice.

3. Complementary Knowledge

Archivists, like all professionals, rely on knowledge not entirely of their own creation. Archival work is rooted in archival knowledge, but it also necessarily employs methods and perspectives from other fields. The interdisciplinary nature of archival studies derives both from the complexity of records and the contexts of their creation and from the many roles which archivists must fill. The components of this knowledge area are listed below by field of study. Archivists need to be knowledgeable about select elements of these fields.


Archivists' most traditional role has been that of preserving the materials in their custody. Therefore, archivists need to know about the physical nature of archival materials (regardless of format), the causes of deterioration, the methods of preventing or retarding deterioration, and the methods of treating deterioration. To accomplish this, archivists should be familiar with basic conservation treatments and techniques. They should also be able to establish and administer institution-wide programs of preservation, including holdings maintenance, reformatting, and disaster planning.

Library and Information Science
Many descriptive standards and practices employed by the library community are useful for archival description. For this reason, and because archivists often disseminate descriptions of their collections through automated library systems, archivists need to know some of the principles, methods, and practices developed for bibliographic control of library materials. These include fundamental concepts governing indexing, cataloging, and the compilation of thesauri and authority lists. In addition, archivists must increasingly be knowledgeable about information systems and technologies. This knowledge extends beyond basic familiarity with hardware and software to include such topics as telecommunications and information networks, information storage and retrieval, and database design and use. Although these subjects are not the exclusive purview of library and information science, they are most often taught within these fields.

At all career levels, archivists manage resources and make decisions which should be based on thorough evaluations. For this reason, archivists need to know the fundamental principles of organizational management, systems analysis, program planning, financial management, human resources management, public relations, and the management of buildings, facilities, and equipment, including security.

Research Methods
An understanding of research methods is necessary to enable archivists to assess the status of research in their discipline, to undertake new research, to manage archival functions and institutions, and to understand archival users and their research needs. Knowledge of research methods contributes to the ability to blend theoretical and empirical aspects of archival studies in scholarly investigations.

History provides an understanding of social systems and relationships that over time create and change archival institutions and archival records. History assists archivists in acquiring knowledge of the evolution of organizations and their functions, as well as knowledge about the activities of individuals. The historian's skills in evaluating evidence and the context of its creation also contribute to the skills of archivists.


Planning, Delivery, and Support

Needs Assessment and Planning
The knowledge areas and components outlined in the PACE guidelines represent an assessment of the most general education and training needs of archivists. Even so, identifying the needs that should be addressed by specific post-appointment and continuing education and training programs requires the use of short-term and long-term assessment tools such as surveys, personal interviews, and focus groups.

In planning PACE programs, the needs of the three audience groups—Introductory, Advanced, and Ancillary—must first be understood. Such assessment should go beyond surveying the needs of those who have already taken advantage of continuing education and training offerings. Assessments should take into account the perspectives of archival educators, members of archival organizations who do not or cannot attend traditional PACE venues such as workshops, recent graduates of graduate archival education programs, members of allied professional groups, administrators, and researchers. Second, in order to ensure that continuing education and training are relevant to the conditions of the workplace, the knowledge and skills desired or required by employers of archivists should be understood. Finally, an assessment of the long-term impact of continuing education and training programs on their participants is important in shaping structures and venues that provide more than transitory benefits.

Based on such needs assessments, providers of post-appointment and continuing education and training should conduct long-range program planning so as to identify the subjects and knowledge areas in which programs will be delivered. Moreover, providers should coordinate and prioritize their efforts. Overlapping coverage—whether geographical, topical, structural, or of delivery methods—by different providers should be avoided in an effort to improve utilization of the finite resources available for continuing archival education and training.

Structure and Venue
Assessment and planning provide the foundation for selecting the best means of meeting continuing education and training needs through appropriate delivery structures and venues. A variety of structures and venues are available. The goal should be to match structures and venues to the needs of participants and the subject being taught. Traditional workshops have a place in continuing education and training, but other options should be explored as well.

Examples of program structures are:

  • independent workshops, seminars, institutes, and courses which treat a single topic at various levels of detail (depending, in part, on the audience and the venue)
  • coordinated workshops, seminars, institutes, and courses which treat a series of interrelated or overlapping topics
  • graduated series of workshops, seminars, institutes, and courses which treat one topic at different levels of advancement or detail
  • independent inquiry, accomplished through such venues as listservs, mentoring, and professional literature.

Most of these structures may be delivered through such venues as

  • workshops
  • seminars
  • institutes
  • internships
  • apprenticeships
  • in-house training programs
  • local study groups
  • professional association meetings
  • consulting
  • mentoring (either one-on-one or via listservs)
  • professional literature
  • distance education (including teleconferencing, home study, or internet courses)
  • fellowships

Educator Qualifications
Qualified educators must be identified to plan and deliver post-appointment and continuing education and training. Educators should be experts in their field, possessing mastery of the subject being taught. This expertise may be indicated by a combination of elements such as experience in archival practice in the given subject matter, publications, a record of presentations at conferences, work in related professional associations, formal academic credentials, or other demonstrable indications of advanced knowledge. Educators should demonstrate an ability to teach effectively. This may be confirmed by a successful teaching record or teacher training. In the context of continuing education and training, however, teaching skills must be broadly conceived to reflect the wide range of venues and structures appropriate for such education. Therefore, teaching skills consist not only of the ability to construct and present an effective in-person workshop, they also include the ability to critique written or hands-on assignments effectively, to conceptualize and deliver course content via distance education, to research and write a formal manual, and to provide thoughtful and committed mentoring.

Curricular Materials and Supplies
Supporting materials appropriate to the structure, content, venue, and style of the presentation should be readily available. Some curricular materials are best utilized if participants receive them prior to the beginning of the course, while others may be designed for in-class use. They may be either created specifically for the particular education and training program, or they may be obtained through licensing agreements. Education providers must obtain permission to use copyrighted materials before using them. If original curricular materials are being developed, the individual or organization responsible should consider registering them for copyright. An array of supplies and equipment may be needed to support the content of the subject being taught and the style of the instructor(s). Office supplies will be needed for virtually all subjects. Electronic equipment such as overhead projectors, slide and film projectors, VCRs, televisions, and computing hardware and software also may be needed. In some cases, more sophisticated computer networking will be essential, especially in the employment of certain distance education methods.

Facilities and ation and training opportunities. In addition, it is in the best interests of archivists to provide information about archives to non-archivists who, for a variety of reasons, need to know more about archival functions, the uses of archives, and the importance of archives.

PACE programs address the needs of

  • archivists who have received graduate archival education and/or who have substantial professional archival experience
  • archivists who have neither the benefit of graduate archival education nor substantial professional experience
  • non-archivists who have responsibilities pertaining to archives or who have an interest in archives.

The purpose of the PACE guidelines is to

  • build upon the educational foundation outlined in Guidelines for the Development of a Curriculum for a Master of Archival Studies Degree
  • outline elements of program planning, curricula, and delivery that will provide effective PACE programs
  • stimulate nationwide discussion of cooperative approaches to PACE programs.

PACE programs should be a cooperative enterprise involving various participants, including the SAA, other national, regional, and local archival associations, employers, and related professional associations.

Roles and Relationships

Who is responsible for providing and/or facilitating post-appointment and continuing education and training? Responsibility is distributed among (1) individual archivists, (2) employers of archivists, and (3) professional organizations and educational institutions.

Sufficient space and, when necessary, an appropriate technology infrastructure are necessary for the selected program delivery method. Facilities appropriate to the subject being taught may also need to be available in the vicinity. Examples of such facilities might be a functioning archives, records center, conservation laboratory, and/or computing facility. Facilities used in continuing education should meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, administrative support is needed to distribute programming information, process registrations, perform other secretarial and coordination tasks, and employ a system of recognition to reward participants, such as the awarding of continuing education units.

Evaluation of Educators and Continuing Education and Training Programs

Organizations providing continuing education and training should conduct evaluations of educators and the education programs. PACE program providers should obtain the views of participants in the program and their employers as part of the evaluation process. Educators at all levels of experience should expect evaluation of the content, suitability of the program delivery method, success in imparting new skills and knowledge to students, and other factors deemed appropriate. Program evaluation should judge both specific continuing education offerings and the total program of offerings over time. All of these approaches are essential elements of successful evaluation.