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INF 389G Introduction to Electronic and Digital Records
Unique # 27560, Spring 2009
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Professor: Dr. Patricia K. Galloway

Course Meeting Times
Mondays 1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m, SZB 464

Course Description
The management, preservation, and use of electronic records and other digital objects with enduring value are almost all still problems with only partial solutions. Although increasing progress is being made and some standards have emerged, there are two reasons why this open-ended situation will probably remain constant: the supporting technologies are changing constantly and the rate of change is accelerating; and creators and users of these records (if not the records' potential managers and preservers) are themselves caught up in a culture of immediacy that makes the problems with electronic records invisible until some legal entanglement brings them into sharp focus (as, for example, the destruction of records by Enron, 9/11 terrorists, and suggestive emails by congressmen). Yet as governments and other human institutions have depended upon technologies of memory to assure their own longevity in the past, it is a safe bet that they will continue to do so in at least the immediate future (as, for example, Barack Obama's Blackberry). For that reason these problems must and will be solved, at least in terms of a sequence of temporary solutions that will be good enough to achieve the ends of the institutions in question, by those who are charged with the custody and preservation of such records.

The problems are not just technological; if that were so they could (and perhaps would) already have been solved. They are, more importantly, social, economic, and political. The archivist or records manager or digital librarian called upon to solve them in a real-world setting will have to understand not just a set of ideal archival requirements, but how to cope with applying them to and tailoring them for an actual functional environment, one where change never ceases, where the people who create and use the records have other things to think about, where the powers that be continue to think of the problem as the job of IT, and where getting it right once and for all is not an option.

In this introductory course, we will become acquainted with the basic literature on digital records and recordkeeping, track developments in the field over the semester in order to get a feel for how to do so, and grapple with our own digital recordkeeping practices over our lifetimes as a sample of the kinds of problems existing in the broader environment.

Professor: Dr. Patricia K. Galloway
Phone: (512) 232-9220
Office: SZB 566
Office Hours: 9:00 a.m -11:00 a.m Tuesday or by appointment

Teaching Assistant: Sarah Kim
Contact Information: Please contact by email or by appointment