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FIT5087 Archival systems - Semester 1 , 2008

Unit leader :

Sue McKemmish

Lecturer(s) :


  • Sue McKemmish
  • Kate Lazarenko


NOTE: To access the unit webpage, go to http://muso.monash.edu.au and enter your authcat to access the site. All study materials and assignments, a discussion list, online submission of assignments, feedback on assignments and online chat rooms are available via the site.

Welcome to FIT5087 Archival Systems, a  6 point unit relating to the fundamental role of recordkeeping professionals in society - to provide access to recorded information in the form of essential evidence of social and organisational activity for business, commercial, governmental, social, and cultural purposes. 

This is one of six units within the Library, Archival and Recordkeeping Professional track in the Master of Business Information Systems program (MBIS) and Master of Information Management and Systems, the Graduate Diploma in Information Management and Systems, Graduate Diploma in Information and Knowledge Management, and the Graduate Certificate of Information Management and Systems. It is part of a specialisation in archives and records which is accredited by the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and Records Management Association of Australia (RMAA) as a professional qualification for archivists and records managers.

Unit synopsis

The unit covers the role of recordkeeping in society and organisations, relevant theories and models, functional requirements for evidence of business and social activity, the socio-legal contexts of recordkeeping, the formulation of recordkeeping policy and strategies, the establishment of recordkeeping frameworks, functional analysis, appraisal and disposal, the development of metadata schemas and their implementation in recordkeeping systems.

The unit provides students with the skills and knowledge to undertake appraisal and description/metadata tasks within contemporary and historical recordkeeping systems and structures, including electronic recordkeeping systems. The unit looks at the justifications for recordkeeping, functional requirements for evidence, implementation environments, appraisal including functional analysis, policy formulation including the development of strategies and tactics, and the use of descriptive metadata in a range of recordkeeping activities related to the storage, recall and dissemination of records. The records continuum model and theory provide a conceptual base for the unit.

Engaging with the Profession

If you are hoping to become (or are already) a records and archives professional, and are not already an active member of the records and archives professional community, begin to engage with the profession today! Here are some ways you can do this:

Join the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and/or the Records Management Association of Australia (RMAA) (or your own national equivalents if you are an international student), check out what is happening in your local branch, and get involved. Both of the Australian associations have student memberships, and subscriptions to their journals are included in the membership fee. To find out how to join, visit the following web sites:

ASA: http://www.archivists.org.au/

RMAA: http://www.rmaa.com.au/

Browse the Archives of Australia web site: http://www.archivenet.gov.au. This web site provides a gateway into many fascinating archival and recordkeeping sites around Australia and the world.

Check out some of the main journals in the field - see listing in section on Recommended Texts and Readings.

Subscribe to Aus-archivists, the Listserv of the Australian Society of Archivists at

Learning outcomes

This unit will provide you with the knowledge and skills to:

  • understand the role of records and archives in organisations and society;
  • understand and apply theories and models relating to recordkeeping and archiving;
  • specify recordkeeping requirements relating to the creation, management, and accessibility of records as evidence of social and organisational activity in a range of business and social contexts;
  • develop appraisal and metadata management programs in relation to contemporary and historical recordkeeping systems, including electronic recordkeeping systems.

At the completion of the unit you will be able to:

  1. identify and specify the main components of a recordkeeping and archiving regime that delivers access to essential evidence of social and organisational activity 
  2. explain the theoretical frameworks and models for recordkeeping and archiving 
  3. identify and specify recordkeeping requirements in a range of business and socio-legal contexts; 
  4. develop and implement metadata management programs in a range of organisational contexts; 
  5. provide summary justifications of the need for recordkeeping; 
  6. develop a functional analysis of an organisation in support of appraisal and metadata management needs; 
  7. formulate appraisal and metadata management policies, strategies, tactics and tools with reference to international and national standards and best practice.


For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • three-hour seminar
  • a minimum of 3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations, and contribute to online discussion groups.

Off-campus students generally do not attend the seminar (although you are welcome to attend when feasible), however, you should plan to spend equivalent time working through the relevant resources and participating in discussion groups each week.

Unit relationships




This is one of six units within the Library, Archival and Recordkeeping Professional track in the Master of Business Information Systems program (MBIS) and Master of Information Management and Systems, the Graduate Diploma in Information Management and Systems, Graduate Diploma in Information and Knowledge Management, and the Graduate Certificate of Information Management and Systems. It is part of a specialisation in archives and records which is accredited by the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and Records Management Association of Australia (RMAA) as a professional qualification for archivists and records managers.

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

Student Evaluations

The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Professor Sue McKemmish
Phone +61 3 990 31060

Lecturer(s) :

Professor Sue McKemmish
Phone +61 3 990 31060

Contact hours : Appointments arranged by email

Ms Kate Lazarenko

Contact hours : Appointments arranged by email

Teaching and learning method

  • Seminars (or their electronic equivalent)
  • Class discussion and activities or their electronic equivalent
  • Regular home study and reading
  • Internet browsing
  • Assignments and assessable activities
  • Communication with other students and staff via discussion groups

Communication, participation and feedback

Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Unit Schedule

Week Topic Key dates
1 Introduction to FIT5087 Archival Systems 26 February
2 Archival Systems, Evidence and Metadata: Key Concepts 4 March
3 Recordkeeping Contexts: Cultural, Social, Legal, Organisational Part 1 11 March
4 Recordkeeping Contexts: Cultural, Social, Legal, Organisational Part 2 18 March
Mid semester break
5 Professional Frameworks Part 1: The Records Continuum Model 1 April
6 Professional Frameworks Part 2: Archives in Australia 8 April
7 Appraisal Frameworks and Theory 15 April
8 Appraisal Policies, Strategies, Tools 22 April
9 Metadat Frameworks, Standards and Schema 29 April
10 Metadata in Recordkeeping and Archiving Systems Part 1 6 May
11 Metadata in Recordkeeping and Archival Systems Part 2 13 May
12 Archival Systems Research Part 1 20 May
13 Archival Systems Research Part 2 27 May

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

Sue McKemmish, Michael Piggott, Barbara Reed and Frank Upward, Archives: Recordkeeping in Society (Wagga Wagga: CIS, 2005).

Available from CITSU Bookshop, Monash University. You can also order via post (28 Sir John Monash Drive, Caulfield East, Vic 3145), telephone (9571 3277), fax (9563 5948) or email (orders@citsu.bookshop.com.au).  Mail order is also available direct from the publisher – go to www.csu.edu.au/cis.

Considerable use will be made of the Australian and International Standards, AS ISO 15489 and AS ISO 23081, available through the Monash Library’s Standards On-line Premium  Database.

Recommended text(s) and readings

Recommended texts:
Jay Kennedy and Cheryl Schauder, Records Management, A guide to Corporate Recordkeeping, 2nd edition (Melbourne: Longman's, 1998

Purchase of this book is strongly recommended. It is available from the CITSU Bookshop, Monash University. You can order via post (28 Sir John Monash Drive, Caulfield East, Vic 3145), telephone (9571 3277), fax (9563 5948) or email (orders@citsu.bookshop.com.au).

Other references:
Electronically delivered course notes, resource material and internet references will be provided during the course, available from the unit website.
Books and electronic material available through the Caulfield campus library will be made available from a unit reading list
Articles from the following journals are frequently cited:

  • Archivaria (journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists)
  • Archives and Manuscripts (journal of the Australian Society of Archivists)
  • Informaa (journal of the Records Management Association of Australia)
  • The American Archivist (journal of the Society of American Archivists).

Keeping up to date with the professional literature is an essential component of working in any field. It is recommended that you check on the availability of the key journals listed above via the Monash Library or at a library in your area. It is also recommended that you consider subscribing to Archives and Manuscripts It will be assumed throughout IMS 5010 that you have access at least to Archives and Manuscripts.

Required software and/or hardware

No specific software is required for this unit. You will need a browser to access the study masterials on MUSO, use electronic resources in the library, and to read and send email.

Equipment and consumables required or provided

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

All study materials and resources are provided via the Unit Website or Monash Library. They include:

  • Unit Guide 
  • Assignment specifications
  • Detailed lecture notes and ppt presentations for each week on the unit web site
  • Recordings of lectures via Lectures Online available via the Monash University Library website (www.lib.monash.edu.au)
  • Reading lists for each week on the unit website
  • Electronic and class discussion topics
  • Books and electronic material available through the Caulfield campus library.

To access Unit Website, go to http://muso.monash.edu.au and enter your authcat.

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

All unit and lecture materials are available through MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources. Some units will be piloted in Moodle.

You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

In order for your Blackboard unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

For example :

  • Blackboard supported browser
  • Supported Java runtime environment

For more information, please visit


You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

For further contact information including operational hours, please visit


Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:


If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle at http://moodle.med.monash.edu.au.
From the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.


Unit assessment policy

To pass this unit, you  must: 

  • achieve at least 50% of the total marks for the unit

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Assignment 1 Appraisal or Metadata Exercise

    Description :

    A detailed assignment specification will be provided.

    Weighting : 30%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Criteria for assessment will be provided in the assignment specification.

    Due date : See assignment specification

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Assignment 2 Project Report

    Description :

    Details will be provided in the assignment specification.

    Weighting : 45%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Criteria will be provided in the assignment specification.

    Due date : Will be provided in the assignment specification

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Assignment 3 Five Email/Tutorial Tasks over the semester, each worth 5%

    Description :

    Will be provided in the assignment specification.

    Weighting : 25%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Will be provided in the assignment specification.

    Due date : Will be advised in the assignment specification

Assignment submission

Assignments should be submitted electronically via the MUSO unit website - go to http://muso.monash.edu.au and enter your authcat to access the site. The due date is the date by which the submission must be posted to the site.

Assessment Notes

  1. Acknowledgment of sources

    Each time you complete any assessment, please refer to and make yourself familiar with the most current information regarding acknowledgement of sources, plagiarism and academic conduct.
  2. Assignments

    2.1 Standards for presentation
    All printed assignment work must be word processed and meet the standards set out in the assignment. Refer also to the guidelines for writing assignments for additional information on presentation standards:

    2.2 Cover page
    All assignments must include an appropriate signed assignment cover page. A copy of the assignment cover page is available on the unit web site.

Assignment coversheets

Signed copies of the Assignment Cover Sheet should be given to the Lecturer or Teaching Assistant in class, submitted at the Caulfield School of IT front desk (Level 6, Building H), or faxed to the Lecturer or Teaching Assistant on 61 3 9903 1077.

The pro-forma for the Assignment Cover Sheet is available on the MUSO unit web site.

University and Faculty policy on assessment

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Late assignment

Late submissions may be penalised. If you believe that your assignment will be delayed because of circumstances beyond your control such as illness you should apply for an extension before the due date. Completion of special consideration forms, medical certificates or certification supporting your application may be required (see the following URL for more detail: http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/unisec/academicpolicies/policy/specialconsideration.html)


  •  Assignments in this unit are no less important than those of other units. Your inability to manage your time or computing resources will not be accepted as a valid excuse. (Several assignments falling due at the same time is often unavoidable.)
  • Backup copies are required to be made of all assignments and retained for 12 months, in case of loss.
  • Hardware failures are not normally recognised as a valid reason for obtaining an extension or handing in a late assignment.

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

Assignment results will be made available to you together with feedback via the MUSO unit web site.

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.

Register of counselling about plagiarism

The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

Non-discriminatory language

The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

Deferred assessment and special consideration

Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.