SJSU iSchool Associate Professor Patricia Franks Featured in Archival Outlook


San José State University School of Information Associate Professor Dr. Patricia Franks was dubbed “Someone You Should Know” by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in its latest issue of Archival Outlook.

San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) Associate Professor Dr. Patricia Franks was dubbed “Someone You Should Know” by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in its latest issue of Archival Outlook.

Franks, who is also the program coordinator for the iSchool’s Master of Archives and Records Administration (MARA) degree, caught the eye of SAA through her work identifying the challenges archivists face in an environment of rapidly changing technology. The SAA interview with Franks spotlighted her expertise in the field of archives and records management and her thoughts regarding emerging trends in digital preservation.

One trend Franks noted is “a convergence of the type of skills required to fill a variety of positions, ” adding that’s why the iSchool is “integrating technology tools, such as Preservica’s digital system for the cloud, into our coursework.”

Franks felt honored to be featured in the publication. “It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about our new course, Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation, which was made possible because of the support of the iSchool Director, Dr. Sandy Hirsh, and the Preservica team that provided us with a cloud-based trusted digital environment within which to work.”

According to Franks, the course will present students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience using cloud-based software to manage digital objects in a trusted digital repository. “Our goal is to provide students will the skills and competencies they need to help their current and future employers manage information and records from creation through final disposition—whether destruction or preservation, ” Franks said in the interview.

Franks cited a YouTube video created by a MARA student, Robert Carswell, that explains the life of a digital information object within a trusted digital repository as an example of what can be expected of students who take the Enterprise Content Management course, a “first-of-its-kind course in the U.S. on digital preservation systems” as described by SAA.

However, she told Archival Outlook that while archivists primarily deal with inactive information, they must shift their view of records as having value “beyond the life of technology used to create it,” and that a methodology needs to be created to ensure current business processes make records and information available for users while preserving for history and future research.

“Technology alone is not the answer. That is the reason we see the push for information governance programs,” Franks said in the latest issue. “Archivists and records and information managers must understand that they are not the complete answer and need to work with others in legal, risk, IT, and business departments within their organization to manage the record and information for the entire organization.”

The SAA is the oldest, largest and most influential national professional association in the U.S. dedicated to supporting archivists. SAA student chapters provide a means for students to become involved with the association while pursuing their advanced degrees. The SJSU iSchool SAA student chapter’s publication, Archeota, is released twice a year and functions as a platform for students to publish original content and provide information on the chapter’s activities and events, as well as happenings in the archival field.

Franks and and fellow MARA instructor Lori Lindberg will be attending the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and Society of American Archivists in Atlanta July 31 through August 6, 2016. Attendees are encouraged to meet them at the iSchool information booth (No. 207) during exhibit hall hours and/or at the meet-and-greet from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on August 4, 2016 at Trader Vic’s in the Hilton Atlanta. Details can be found on the iSchool events page.