A&D Curriculum Structure

Core Competencies

The A&D program is structured to ensure that an A&D Certificate holder is able to:

  1. Understand the process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order to protect their context and facilitate access
  2. Analyze and describe details about the attributes of a record or collection of records to facilitate identification, management, and understanding of the work
  3. Apply rules and practices that codify the content of information used to represent archival materials in discovery tools according to published structural guidelines
  4. Demonstrate an ability to manage physical and intellectual control over archival materials
  5. Create tools to facilitate access and disseminate descriptive records of archival materials
  6. Convey transparency of actions taken during arrangement and description and respect privacy, confidentiality, and cultural sensitivity of archival materials
  7. Analyze threats and implement measures to minimize ethical and institutional risks

Tiers of Study

The tiers of study, based on the DAS program, allow prospective students to assess their needs against the general goals of different tiers. The A&D Curriculum is broken into four tiers of study:

  • Foundational courses focus on the essential skills archivists use to perform arrangement and description tasks/activities. These focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the needs of archivists who are or will be working directly with institutional holdings. Courses in this category present information and strategies that an archivist can implement immediately.
  • Tactical and Strategic courses focus on the skills archivists use to identify organizational adjustments needed to support an archival program. Courses in this category focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the needs of archivists who manage other professionals and/or who oversee programmatic operations.
  • Tools and Services courses focus on specific tools and services that archivists use to support arrangement and description tasks/activities in their institutions. These are practical courses focused on specific software products and other tools. These courses focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the needs of practitioner archivists. Courses in this category present information and strategies that an archivist could implement immediately.
  • Transformational courses focus on the skills that archivists use to change their working life dramatically. They focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the strategic needs of archivists with oversight over the entire archival enterprise of an institution. Courses in this category present information that an archivist might implement over time.

The tiers of study allow for instruction in the basics that is built on by subsequent courses that address specialized, advanced studies, tactics and tools useful for arrangement and description, management, organization, and preservation. Taken as a whole, these courses provide an integrated programmatic framework for archivists at various levels within their institutions whose areas of practice include arrangement and description.

Earning the A&D Certificate

A certificate participant has successfully completed (i.e., attended and/or passed examinations for) eight required courses from the four tiers listed below within 36 months from the month of the first course examination. More knowledgeable participants may elect to test out of Foundational courses.

  • Three Foundational courses, which must include both Arrangement and Description: Fundamentals and Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS). Both required courses are offered in person only but may be tested out of.
  • Three Tactical and Strategic courses, which must include Copyright Issues in Digital Archives AND/OR Privacy and Confidentiality in Digital Archives. Both of these courses are offered in person only.
  • One Tools and Services course
  • One Transformational course

Maintaining Your A&D Certificate

A&D certificate holders who wish to renew their certificates will need to complete four courses from the A&D course list, provided the following:

  • Renewal classes may be a combination of courses from all tiers; however, only one Foundational course may be taken as part of the renewal
  • No more than one course may be completed for credit in the first year after the certificate has been awarded
  • All classes must be new (no retakes) to the attendee

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