North-Western European Archival Educators Network


- Amsterdam 2005
- Hamburg 2006
- Marburg 2008

Report on the Second Meeting of the „Network of North-Western European Archival Educators“ in Hamburg, September 13 – 15, 2006

The second meeting of the “Network of North-Western European Archival Educators”, which I organized, took place from September 13 –15, 2006, in the Hamburg State Archives. The meeting commenced in the afternoon of September 13th in the “Lorichs” room of the State Archives, and 15 persons from 6 countries took part. The participants were welcomed by Dr. Stoffregen, Vice Director of the State Archives. Thereafter, Dr. Richter (who retired a year ago and the predecessor of Dr. Stoffregen) guided a very interesting tour in English through the building. In the evening, the group got together at a nearby restaurant. It was possible – thanks to the good weather – to dine outdoors while discussing private and professional topics.

The meeting began on Thursday morning with a presentation about the three German archives schools. First of all, Dr. Sagstetter (Amberg) described the three Bavarian training classes and thereby simultaneously presented (above all for the foreign guests) a brief synopsis of the various levels of school and university education in Germany.

After extensive discussions, I described the education in Marburg and at the same time spoke about the broad opportunities for advanced education at the Archives School. Due to illness, a representative of the Potsdam University of Applied Studies regrettably could not participate at short notice. Therefore, at the conclusion I also briefly presented the course of studies.

After a short break, I summarized the results of my interviews of those classes associated with the network. The questioning was carried out right after the meeting in Amsterdam last year. It became evident that, as always, the formal basis of university studies (for instance, the commencement of the academic year and the general educational structure) hinder an international student exchange, which the Agreement of Bologna wants to reinforce.

Then Hans Scheurkogel (Amsterdam) presented his idea of a “summer school”. Here one or two students each from all participating schooling centers could be instructed collectively for one week by the same number of teachers. Thus, not only further contacts can be made or enhanced but also possibilities of a cooperation on a small scale can be tested. During the discussion about this proposal (it unanimously came across with positive resonance), the financing and scheduling problem was addressed. Questions about, for instance, the distribution of credit points to the participants or the question about school subjects were classified as quickly resolvable.

We had a small lunch at the State Archives, which was planned, cooked and served by the trainees of the Hamburg Vocational Training Facilities. Thereafter, Mrs. Mummenthey (Hamburg State Archives) explained the requisites which are mandatory for students today and the problems which thereby could arise for those archives which are employing. The discussion which followed quickly led to the question as to what role document management plays during education and training and in every day life at work.

The session was concluded with a round of talks. Here the participants informed each other about significance and scope of the subject matter “electronic records” respectively “electronic records management” during education. It became evident that in most cases the theoretical arguments regarding this topic prevail. However, the possibility of doing practical work during education is often very limited – although it would be very essential not only for didactical reasons. The contribution to this issue within the German training system ranges in upper midfield in comparison to other countries.

After the end of the actual session, the participants still had some time to see several landmarks of the city – for example, the St. Michaelis Church and the harbor – before the group met again for a mutual dinner at a restaurant serving traditional Hamburg food. Here many topics, which were spoken about during the course of the day, were taken up again and discussed further in a relaxed atmosphere.

On the last day, Mrs. Knoch-Mundt und Mr. Graf (both from Bern) first presented the course of studies beginning in October 2006 at the University of Bern. The factors which influence these courses are international alliances and the necessity of trilingual proficiency in Switzerland (German, French, English) as well as joint training of archivists and librarians. Thereafter, Karen Anderson (Perth/Härnösand) presented the very dazzling schooling aspects in Australia. Numerous questions constantly led over again to comparisons with the other archives schools represented at the meeting.

Finally, Agnes Jonker (Amsterdam) held a short presentation on the development of archival education and, also in brief form, on the Dutch archive sector during the past ten years. This has led in the past two years and, still now, to everlasting discussions about the correct arrangement of the contents and its formal structure. At this point we were back at the beginning. The question as to what line of profession should be trained – already asked the day before during the report about the German training centers – and also Mrs. Mummenthey’s presentation were previously the center point of discussion.

At the end of this year’s meeting, we talked about the future of the network. The participants were in agreement that such regular meetings in a small group are necessary in order to promote education conformity in Europe. Particularly, the “familiarity” which comes about in a small group surely leads to better results as would be possible in larger, formal groups. However, Mr. Graf’s advice was also endorsed. Should conformity continue to progress, an expansion of the group and a formalization of the procedures will be inevitable, especially in view of the integration of the Romanesque tradition.

The question whether sharing the functions with the Section for Archival Education and Training of the International Council on Archives is possible or constructive could not be clarified thus far. However, the participating representatives of the Division placed the topic on the agenda of the next office meeting of the Division which will be held in Tokyo in October.

Karsten Uhde

email to Dr. Karsten Uhde
Stand: 10.08.2007