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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  March 2006, Week 1

ARCHIVES March 2006, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Early Friday Funny

From:

Catherine Sherman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Catherine Sherman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 6 Mar 2006 13:51:08 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (95 lines)

Hi all,

I'm a first-year archives grad student at the U. of Maryland, and I've been 
watching this conversation with interest as it relates to a research project 
I am undertaking.  I am examining the use of primary sources in 
undergradaute teaching of history, and I'm discovering a disturbing lack of 
discussion in the archival community regarding our role in that process.  
Perhaps you all, who are more experienced and well-read than I, can offer 
some thoughts on this.

In my search for literature on this topic, I have found a good deal of open 
discussion among educators about the use of primary sources in teaching.  In 
addition to general discussion, there are numerous presentations of 
individual teaching methods that integrate primary sources.  However,
collaboration with members of the archival profession often seems a novel 
afterthought, if it is mentioned at all.

Among archivists, undergraduates are relegated most often to a brief mention 
as one of our many user populations in writings on reference or user 
studies.  The research needs of graduate students is a vogue topic, as is 
making history more "alive" for students (most often K-12) by having more 
"face time."

But to date, I have found next to nothing written in either field that 
focuses specifically on collaboration between archivists and educators 
(especially at the undergraduate level).  We seem to consider instructors as 
just another user group who we are happy to assist when they come through 
the door, but we never talk about seeking them out first.  There are a very 
few articles highlighting individual cases of such collaboration, but it is 
not a topic of general discussion at all.

Why?  We can all agree that this is important, and even that it is occuring 
here and there.  So why isn't it discussed?  And why does it seem to be such 
a novel idea when it occurs to an educator at all?  Why do we care so much 
about serving the users who come to where we are, but we don't want to 
consider openly the possibility and importance of extending our role beyond 
the repository door?

These are my honest questions to you "veterans" as I enter the field.  I 
have an image in my mind of The Archivist standing in the open door calling 
people to come in, but refusing to step over the threshold and go lead them 
in by the hand.  I'm hoping that the failings are in my search strategies, 
and not in our focus as professionals.

- Katie


----Original Message Follows----
From: "Laura A. Heller" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "Laura A. Heller" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARCHIVES] Early Friday Funny
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 13:37:32 -0500

True, true...
I am a 1995 high school graduate, and the reason why I know
much of the
cultural and social histories of the '60s and '70s is simply
because it
was an interest of mine.  I know some of the things that
happened in the
'80s and '90s too, but I have to say there was a time (in
high school) I
paid very little attention to the news.  Some things I have
to catch up
on.  And my history classes, from high school through
college, discussed
events no further than Vietnam, and it barely even touched
on that!
Anything I know post-WWII is mostly because of personal
interest and
self-education.

Its a shame there are not many young people who pursue
historical
information for their own education.

- Laura

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