Archival Continuing Education (ACE) Guidelines (2006, 2010)

Adopted by the Council of the Society of American Archivists, November 3, 2006. The ACE Guidelines are reviewed every five years. For their last review in 2010, the Committee on Education made no changes beyond adding appendixes, so the guidelines were not put forward to the Council.

To see the most recent version of the ACE Guidelines, click here.  


Archival continuing education (ACE) assists individuals in meeting personal and professional goals by providing knowledge that is relevant to the archival profession beyond the formal structure of education institutions. In addition, ACE must connect with individual archivists in all phases of their careers by providing basic to advanced programs in all areas of archival knowledge.

The purpose of these guidelines is to encourage the creation of opportunities for lifelong learning within the archival community.

These guidelines were developed for individuals and organizations that provide or sponsor archival continuing education. They may also be useful to others, such as individual archivists, employers, archival educators, accrediting agencies, and any others who fund, oversee, support, work with, or use archives or who participate in archival continuing education.

Archival Knowledge Areas

Archival continuing education programs should address the standard areas of archival knowledge, adapted from the Society of American Archivists Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies (GPAS) and the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA) domains:

  1. General Archival Knowledge: The theory and history of archives and the archival profession; social and cultural history; the records-keeping models; relationships to allied professions; familiarity with professional standards and best practices; and use of appropriate research methodologies and technological solutions.
  2. Selection, Appraisal, and Acquisition: The theory, policies, and procedures that archivists use to identify, evaluate, acquire, and authenticate records and papers of enduring value in all media and formats.
  3. Arrangement and Description: The intellectual and physical organization or verification of archival records and papers in all media and formats, and the development of descriptive tools and systems that provide both control of and access to collections.
  4. Reference Services and Access: The development and implementation of policies, procedures, and practices designed to serve the information needs of the various user groups, both onsite and virtually.
  5. Preservation and Protection: The integration and implementation of administration activities to ensure the physical protection and authentication of records and papers in all media and formats and to assure their continued accessibility to researchers.
  6. Outreach, Advocacy, and Promotion: The theories, practices, and technologies that archivists use to create and market programs that promote increased use, resources, visibility, and support for their institutions and collections among a broad range of audiences, both onsite and virtually.
  7. Managing Archival Programs: The principles and practices that archivists use to facilitate all aspects of archival work through careful planning and administration of the repository and its institutional resources.
  8. Ethical and Legal Responsibilities: The laws, regulations, institutional policies, and ethical standards that are applicable to the archival community.

Also appropriate are programs addressing specialized topics such as formats, media, or repository type. All programs should address the latest developments and technologies, as appropriate, and incorporate best practices in the knowledge areas.

Delivery and Assessment

Instructors should be experts in the topic taught and should have the capacity to teach effectively and appropriately for the intended venue, format, and audience. Program developers should consider diversity and accessibility in their choice of topics, venues, and delivery formats.

Different options for program formats and venues are available. The goal should be to match them to the needs of participants and topics being taught. Programs may include, but are not limited to, workshops, seminars, institutes, in-house training programs, professional association meetings, etc., and distance learning including web seminars.

Curricular material must be appropriate to the subject, duration, delivery mechanism, and audience that it is intended to address. Program developers will create curricula based on identified needs and will incorporate learning outcomes. This information can be gathered from such feedback mechanisms as evaluations and surveys.

Program developers and instructors should evaluate both specific continuing education programs and the total range of programs offered over time, using recognized assessment methods and formal evaluation instruments.

Evolution of the ACE Guidelines

A field as complex and rapidly changing as the archival profession requires effective continuing education and training. In 1997, SAA adopted “Guidelines for the Development of Post-Appointment and Continuing Education and Training Programs” (PACE) which had as its basis the Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies (GPAS) guidelines. The ACE Guidelines resulted from a scheduled review and revision of PACE in 2005 – 2006. The ACE Guidelines incorporate information from SAA’s 2002 GPAS guidelines and the Academy of Certified Archivists’ 2003 Role Delineation Statement Revision.

Appended to these guidelines are materials intended to serve as a general “toolkit” to aid continuing education providers and users in developing and preparing to attend continuing education offerings:

Appendix 1: Continuing Education “Wants” and Needs Based on A*CENSUS and ACRL Surveys
Appendix 2: Recommended Instructor Qualifications
Appendix 3: List of Effective Delivery Formats
Appendix 4: Guidelines for Evaluating Continuing Education Programs 

Appendix 5: Curriculum Development (Objectives, Work Application, Measurable Outcomes)

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