International Council on Archives

        Section for Archival Education and Training

First European Conference for Archival Educators and Trainers

Margaret Crockett and Janet Foster, The Archive-Skills Consultancy
Training: the Art of the Possible


This session is intended as a case study in independent training provision as an example of our experience a broad range of training in an international environment. We hope you find it interesting and that some of our ideas may be of use to you.


The Archive-Skills Consultancy is a partnership formed by us, Margaret Crockett and Janet Foster to deliver training and to carry out consultancy projects in the field of archives and records management. We are both professionally qualified British archivists with a total of more than 40 years experience between us. Although TASC was only formed a year ago, we have a long history of collaboration on training projects.

  • 1992-1994 as committee members of the UK Society of Archivists Specialist Repository Group we ran the Basic Archive Skills Training Days, one and two day training courses for those responsible for managing records and archives without formal qualifications
  • 1999 resumed training collaboration as “Basic Archive Skills Training Days” to deliver introductory course and beginning to deliver more in-depth training on key aspects of managing records and archives. Also beginning to deliver in-house training to some organisations.
  • 2000 became the Archive-Skills Consultancy with a larger prospectus including several training courses that attract qualified archivists

Examples of the different types of training we have delivered

  • June 1999: Two Week summer university in Archival Automation at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. 30 participants, delivered in English, presentations, workshops and facilitated discussion.
  • May 2000: Two Day course in Preservation Management delivered at the National Archives of Mongolia. 67 participants, parallel translation, presentation-based
  • October 2000: Five Day course, “Training the Trainer” delivered at the National Archives of Estonia. 12 participants, carried out in English, state of the art classroom, mix of presentations, workshops, overnight exercises, group and individual work, facilitated debate, course plans as practical outcomes
  • July 2000 and July 2001: Three week course in managing electronic records for Commonwealth public administrators in London commissioned by IRMT. 5 and 10 participants respectively, delivered in English, outside speakers, presentations, site visits, discussion, videos, action plans
  • August 2001: Five Day summer school on managing electronic records at University College London, 11 participants, presentations, workshops, facilitated discussion, role-play, SWOT exercises, action plans, external speakers, software demonstration
  • In-house customised training: in UK, numbers vary (between 6 and 30), elements of established courses tailored to meet the needs of our client organisations, presentations, workshops, facilitated discussion, course handbook
  • TASC Programme: in UK, 20-30 participants, various subjects, guest speakers, presentations, workshops, facilitated discussion, course handbook

Lessons learned

  • Good quality handouts are important - we often edit and bind them into a course handbook
  • Variety in delivery techniques and timing
  • Use of guest speakers as appropriate
  • Participative approach - encouraging students to ask questions and share their experiences
  • Dynamic between two partners, facilitating, supporting - the sum is greater than the two parts (and it is less stressful and demanding)
  • Good planning - both of programme and administrative details
  • A website is a useful tool as much for providing information as for publicity - and it can be fun
  • Bibliographies, webliographies and glossaries are important supporting documents
  • Simple evaluation form
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of a comfortable venue and good catering
  • Flexibility of approach both before and during delivery

e-mail to Dr. Karsten Uhde, Date: 14.01.2005