Introduction to Archives

Instructor: the CNSA’s Archives Advisor

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Course Description

This course provides an overview of archives and archival practice. By the end of the course, participants should be able to distinguish archival records from other types of records, recognize risks to preserving archival materials, know what a fonds is an how it’s organized, plus have a basic understanding of the seven core archival functions: acquisition, accessioning, appraisal, arrangement, description, and access & reference.

This course is part of the CNSA Archival Certificate Program. Those wanting to enroll in the Program will need to complete an assignment at the end of the course to demonstrate their comprehension of the course content.

Learning Method

This course is taught online across four half-day sessions. The bulk of the learning is done in class through lectures, discussions, and activities, but some reading will be required between sessions.


No prior knowledge is required, however, experience working in or with archival records is an asset.

Registration & Cost

Registration is open to anyone although preference is given to CNSA members. Staff or volunteers at CNSA member organizations that are in good standing can register at the discounted rate. Multiple staff/volunteers from a member organization may be eligible for a group discount. Please contact our Archives Advisor for details.

Reading (provided)

Loo, Rowena, Kim Eberhard, and Jackie Bettington.”Chapter 1: What are Archives and Archival Programs.” In Keeping Archives 3rd ed. Canberra, Australia: Australian Society of Archivists, 2008.