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 the SJSU School of Information:

  • 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, one credit course, LIBR 203, and five three-credit courses, LIBR 200, LIBR 202, LIBR 204, LIBR 285, and either LIBR 289 or LIBR 299 are required. Beyond those six courses, a student is free to select electives reflecting individual interests and aspirations. See: MLIS Information.

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

The Career Pathway described here focuses on the MLIS degree and 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 degree.


The role of archivists and records managers 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 responsible for the 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 our digital environment, the roles of the archivist and the records manager is becoming one. Recordkeeping is a continuum from creation through disposition, which includes both records management and archives.

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.).

To understand the challenges facing today's archivists, see: What Does a Digital Archivist Do?

Employment Opportunities

Students who concentrate in this field may work as:

  • Archivists
  • Digital Archivists
  • Digital Asset Managers
  • Digital Preservation Specialists
  • Digital Projects Specialists
  • Electronic Records Managers
  • Information Governance Leads
  • Managers, Information and Archival Services
  • Manuscript Curators
  • Open Government and Public Records Managers
  • Records and Information Managers
  • Special Collections Archivists

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
  • How to collect and curate new digital media in libraries and other cultural repositories
  • How to define, identify, control, manage, and preserve electronic records
  • How to capture, manage, and preserve records created using emerging technology and residing in the clouds

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:

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.

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.