ABSTRACT

Academic librarians have long defined strategies for inserting library services into the curriculum as “embedded librarianship.” Academic archivists, however, have not described their work as being “embedded” into the life of the institution, although that terminology best captures their collaboration with constituents across the university. Classes offered by academic archivists cover the spectrum of intensity, from one-shot sessions to credit-bearing courses. While these two experiences are commonly discussed, middle ground between them is often overlooked. In spring 2016, a history professor at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania had a group of students who were not prepared to complete the requirements of the course. This article describes how, over six weeks, Shippensburg's university archivist embedded archival instruction into this 300-level undergraduate course to teach students with no historical research training how to conduct an original research project. Using materials from the University Archives related to the course's theme of environmental history, students worked in groups to complete a sample research project. They gained the skills they needed to undertake their final course assignment—a term paper based on intensive archival research. At the conclusion of the six-week workshop series, students indicated that they felt more confident in conducting archival research, analyzing secondary literature, and conducting an original research project. This case study demonstrates how archivists can teach students the place of archival research in their broader research process and argues that archivists can better meet the needs of their students as whole researchers by becoming “embedded.”

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