Arrangement & Description (A&D) Certificate Program

Need more in-depth training, a refresher, or want to expand into a new niche in this diverse area? Explore this program!

Every LIS archival program teaches arrangement and description, often in an introductory course with other basics of the profession. When covered in these courses, the focus tends to be narrow and chiefly describes large manuscript or analog collections. The on-the-job reality is that archival material is unique, and collections can range from a single letter or email to an album of photographs. This expertise is gained through exposure to different formats and standards, as addressed in the SAA A&D curriculum.

The SAA Arrangement & Description certificate program allows archivists to gain more experience and knowledge in this single topic than is generally available in graduate archival programs. This approach provides archivists with extended descriptive training to expand the skill set they gained in graduate school, and it also can facilitate career shifts within the archival field (e.g., moving from public services to processing/cataloging).

The A&D curriculum accounts for horizontal and vertical transfers of knowledge through a structure of tracks and tiers. Courses structured by tracks are not solely for archivists but also for those who work closely with them, such as IT, general counsel, librarians, records managers, and other stakeholders. The tiers of study in the program allow for instruction that is built upon subsequent courses that address specialized, advanced studies and tactics and tools useful for arrangement and description, management, organization, and preservation.

Taken as a whole, these courses provide an integrated programmatic framework for archivists and others at various levels within their institutions whose areas of practice include arrangement and description.