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ARCHIVES Home

ARCHIVES Home

ARCHIVES  June 2006, Week 3

ARCHIVES June 2006, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Archival Education

From:

E K <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

E K <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 16 Jun 2006 19:32:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Once this argument brought in the medical profession, I called my
grandmother and read some of the statements out loud to her.  The
whole argument made her laugh, because it's exactly the same argument
she and her colleagues in the nursing field used to have.  Nurses who
didn't have the formal degree were terrified they'd lose their jobs to
younger staff who learned under the new standards that were
implemented just 30-odd years ago.

My grandmother was certified as a nurse in the early 1960's.  This
meant that she studied at, and worked in, a hospital for a certain
amount of time, and then she took an exam that made her a certified
nurse - just like our certified archivists today.

In the late 70's and early 80's, hospital training programs like the
one that my grandmother went through were slowly phased out of the
American nursing system in favor of more standardized nursing degrees.
 This was a response to the growing amount of technical information
nurses needed to know in order to do their jobs well.
Accusations flew that by insisting nurses have formal degrees, the
medical establishment was overburdening nurses (a traditonally pink
collar and underpaid profession) with undue debt.  It's true that a
great many fabulous nurses who are still working today never went for
the formal degree, but it is widely acknowledged now that the move
from hospital training programs to university degrees was inevitable,
given the amount of technology and the level of education one needs to
be a nurse.  And, over time, wages have risen to compensate good
nurses for their level of expertise.

I think we'll eventually go through the same thing in our profession.
Just as with nursing, there will be a fear from those without the
degree that they'll be replaced by younger folks with the degree.
This simply won't happen, as the demand for folks with experience will
usually outstrip the demand for newbies just looking to break into any
kind of job.

I also can't believe that in this whole conversation no one has
brought up the fact that SAA issued some standards for a program in
Archival Science just a few years back.  I wonder how many schools
have implemented those?  I'd be interested to learn.

Elizabeth Ferguson Keathley
Archivist/Special Collections Librarian
Southern Polytechnic State University

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