Management, Digitization and Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Records (Archival Studies and Records Management)

Students interested in a career in this field have two degree choices at SLIS:

  • Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS)
  • Masters in Archives and Records Administration (MARA)

The MLIS degree is American Library Association (ALA) accredited. If you want to work with archives and records within a library environment then the MLIS degree should be the choice.

MARA is more heavily focused towards records. New opportunities exist in government and industry for highly skilled professionals who understand copyright law, patent protection and the critical nature of electronic records in preserving corporate memory and legal rights.

The MLIS program requires 43 units for graduation. Within those units, five courses are required: LIBR 203, LIBR 200, LIBR 202, LIBR 204, LIBR 285, and either LIBR 289 or LIBR 299. Beyond those five courses, a student is free to select electives reflecting individual interests and aspirations. See: MLIS Information page.

The MARA program requires 42 units for graduation. See: MARA Prospective Students.

The Career Pathway described here is provided solely for advising purposes. No special designation appears on your transcript or diploma. All students following the Management, Digitization and Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Records Career Pathway earn an MLIS or MARA degree.


The role of the archivist and records manager is to organize, describe, interpret, manage and provide access to materials created in the present and those inherited from the past, and to preserve them for use in the future. They are also responsible for reliability and authenticity in electronic records. Increasingly archivists and records managers are involved with the digitization and digital management of our records and cultural heritage in order to make documents and materials accessible online. In an increasingly digital world the role of the archivist and the records manager is becoming one. Recordkeeping is a continuum from creation through disposition, which includes archives.

See: The Changing Role of an Archivist: Not Just Papers Anymore link goes to non-SJSU web site

Archivists and records managers work with materials in many formats: traditional handwritten and printed documents, photographs, video and tape recordings, computer disks and tapes, maps, three-dimensional objects, and increasingly in our technological world information "born digital". This includes: hypermedia and internet sites, virtual worlds and social media, mixed reality technology, digital games/software, digital cinema and other video forms (machinima, animation, etc.).

Employment Opportunities

Students who concentrate in this field may work as:

  • Archivists
  • Digital archivists
  • Digital assets librarians
  • Digital assets managers
  • Digital preservation specialists
  • Electronic records managers
  • Manuscript curators
  • Records managers
  • Special collections librarians

Core Theory and Knowledge


  • The processes of cultural heritage communication and its political, economic, technological, social and cultural implications
  • How to identify the main stakeholders and their roles
  • Archival theory and practice, including basic knowledge of archival appraisal, processing, reference, and outreach
  • The principles, processes and standards guiding the digitization of cultural heritage materials
  • The nature of digital information, its main features, and transformations of information in the digital environment
  • The technical and conceptual issues in the preservation of library and archival materials in non-digital (analog) and digital formats
  • How to collect and curate new digital media in libraries and other cultural repositories
  • How to define, identify, control, manage, and preserve electronic records

Recommended Coursework for the MLIS degree [Students in MARA have required courses- see: MARA Required Courses]

MLIS Required Courses:

MLIS Foundation Courses:

MLIS Recommended Courses:

Note: MLIS students may take courses in other SJSU departments and/or other universities and transfer UP TO (NO MORE THAN) 9 UNITS OF those courses into their MLIS program subject to approval as specified on the Transferring Units page.

Special session MLIS Students may wish to consider taking courses from the MARA degree program to transfer to their MLIS degree. Important: MARA is only offered in special session and is only available to special session students. Visit the MARA Courses as Electives page for additional details.

Effective leadership and management (of people and information) is critically important for all types of work environments and clients.

We recommend that students consider also selecting some courses from the Leadership and Management career path to complement or supplement core skills in other areas.