Archival Continuing Education (ACE) Guidelines (2016)

SAA's Committee on Education is currently seeking comments on its proposed revisions of "Archival Continuing Education (ACE) Guidelines," which was last reviewed in 2010. Provide your comments on any aspect of the proposed revisions here or send them to Deadline for comments: Wednesday, June 22. 


Archival continuing education (ACE) provides professional archival knowledge beyond the formal credit/hour structure of education institutions. ACE connects with individual archivists in all phases of their careers by delivering basic, intermediate, and advanced classes in the areas of archival knowledge listed below.[1]

These guidelines encourage lifelong learning opportunities within the archival community. 

These guidelines specifically apply to individuals and organizations that provide or sponsor archival continuing education. Others will also find them useful, including practicing archivists, employers, archival educators, accrediting agencies, and those who fund, oversee, support, work with, or use archives or who participate in archival continuing education.

Areas of Archival Knowledge

Archival continuing education programs should address the areas of archival knowledge delineated by the Society of American Archivists Guidelines for Graduate Programs in Archival Studies (GPAS) and the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA):

  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 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 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 professional standards that apply to the archival community and its users.
  9. Digital Archives:  As information systems and records transition from paper to digital and the archival profession develops methods to manage born-digital records and digital surrogates, archival continuing education programs must address the specific nature, issues, and preservation challenges of digital archives.

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

Delivery Options, Classes, Evaluation

Different class formats and venue options exist. Matching the needs of participants and topics being taught with the optimum format and venue is important. Classes may include, but are not limited to, workshops, seminars, institutes, in-house training programs, and professional association meetings, as well as emerging distance and online educational delivery mechanisms.[2]  Providing high value, low cost, highly accessible continuing education should be the primary goal.

Class information and materials must be appropriate to the intended subject, duration, delivery mechanism, and audience.[3] Class developers will create learning materials based on identified needs[4] and will incorporate and assess learning outcomes using recognized assessment methods and formal evaluation instruments.  Instructors should be qualified in their fields.[5]

Instructors and students should evaluate specific continuing education classes.  Developers of individual classes and multi-class programs should evaluate the total range of classes offered over time and by other organizations to avoid needless duplication or competition.[6]

[1] ACE "classes" is a generic term that includes workshops, seminars, clinics, institutes, short courses, e-learning, recorded programs, and webinars.  See Appendix 4: List of Effective Delivery Formats.
[2] See Appendix 4: List of Effective Delivery Formats
[3] See Appendix 6: Curriculum Development
[4] See Appendix 2: Continuing Education Needs Identified by A*CENSUS (2004) and ACRL (2005) Surveys
[5] See Appendix 3: Recommended Instructor Qualifications
[6] See Appendix 5: Guidelines for Evaluating Continuing Education Programs and sample evaluation forms.


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: Evolution of the ACE Guidelines

Appendix 2: Continuing Education Needs Identified by A*CENSUS (2004) and ACRL (2005)

Appendix 3: Recommended Instructor Qualifications

Appendix 4: List of Effective Delivery Formats

Appendix 5: Guidelines for Evaluating Continuing Education Programs
Sample Evaluation Form for Individual Program and Instructor
Sample Reviewer Evaluation Form

Appendix 6: Curriculum Development (Objectives, Work Application, Measurable Outcomes)

Adopted by the Council of the Society of American Archivists in 2006, and reviewed by the Committee on Education in 2010.
Appendix 1.pdf144.37 KB
Appendix 2.pdf34.8 KB
Appendix 3.pdf27.95 KB
Appendix 4.pdf33.67 KB
Appendix 5.pdf129.09 KB
Appendix 6.pdf28.65 KB
Blooms Taxonomy Action Verbs_Clemson.pdf96.76 KB