Wayne State University

Archives & Digital Content Management

Respecting the past through contemporary practices

Have you ever considered what archaeologists, anthropologists, sociologists and historians will study about people in the future?  How will you make sure you can look through old photographs, hand-written diaries and home movies?  What about information from the 1990s?  How will future historians play a VHS tape?  Open a floppy disc?  Read an email?  Would you like to be someone that knows how to create digital collections and preserve information for future generations?  Those with liberal arts and social science undergraduate degrees will find this graduate program welcomes their research and writing skills.  Computer science and business majors are also finding that their skills are put to good use in managing, migrating and preserving information.  The archives profession consistently ranks high in career satisfaction surveys and the field draws those passionate about history, technology and serving the public.  Life is too short for a boring work life.  Engage in something that challenges you!

This area of the School's curriculum addresses how to provide access to, process, manage, and preserve hand-written manuscripts, old films, cassette tapes, and photographs as well as digital materials that are held in archives, libraries, historical societies and other information organizations. Through your coursework you will discover how to properly care for, handle, manage, and preserve cultural materials in their various formats.  

Archives Specialization and Certificate

Are you interested in history or preservation? Would you like to work with original material created by history makers? Become an archivist!  There are about 6500 archivists in the United States that work to preserve and protect historical information for future generations.  The School offers two options for learning about archives work:  as an MLIS specialization and by completing the Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration. Students may select any of the archives electives as part of their MLIS course work.  The Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration is an added credential and is highly recommended for those students who want to be most competitive for professional archivist positions. 

Digital Content Management Specialization: 

Are you fascinated with digital file formats?  Enjoy the challenge of format changes from CDs to DVDs to thumb drives?  Interested in how we will continue to open old digital files in the future?  Want to learn more about creating digital collections and managing digital information? There is an increasing demand for this skill-set in the exploding world of Digital Content Management.

Following this specialization you will:

  • Develop the skills needed to describe files so that users can successfully find them in databases.
  • Learn the processes involved in creating digital content.
  • Understand how digital information is managed including selection, description and project management.

You will learn how to manage and educate individuals and organizations about the fragility of digital objects. You will gain understanding about the tender state of digitization.  The combined pressures of software obsolescence, format changes, media decay and hardware evolution all contribute to the loss of data. Learn how to make decisions about which types of formats to use for long-term storage and how to plan for longevity. 

For more information about some of the aspects of Digital Content Management look at this blog from the Library of Congress "The Signal" http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/