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Purpose – For decades, archivists have been appraising, preserving, and providing access to digital records by using archival theories and methods developed for paper records. However, production and consumption of digital records are informed by social and industrial trends and by computer and data methods that show little or no connection to archival methods. The purpose of this chapter is to reexamine the theories and methods that dominate records practices. The authors believe that this situation calls for a formal articulation of a new transdiscipline, which they call computational archival science (CAS).

Design/Methodology/Approach – After making a case for CAS, the authors present motivating case studies: (1) evolutionary prototyping and computational linguistics; (2) graph analytics, digital humanities, and archival representation; (3) computational finding aids; (4) digital curation; (5) public engagement with (archival) content; (6) authenticity; (7) confluences between archival theory and computational methods: cyberinfrastructure and the records continuum; and (8) spatial and temporal analytics.

Findings – Each case study includes suggestions for incorporating CAS into Master of Library Science (MLS) education in order to better address the needs of today’s MLS graduates looking to employ “traditional” archival principles in conjunction with computational methods. A CAS agenda will require transdisciplinary iSchools and extensive hands-on experience working with cyberinfrastructure to implement archival functions.

Originality/Value – We expect that archival practice will benefit from the development of new tools and techniques that support records and archives professionals in managing and preserving records at scale and that, conversely, computational science will benefit from the consideration and application of archival principles.



Marciano, R., Lemieux, V., Hedges, M., Esteva, M., Underwood, W., Kurtz, M. and Conrad, M. (2018), "Archival Records and Training in the Age of Big Data", Percell, J., Sarin, L.C., Jaeger, P.T. and Bertot, J.C. (Ed.) Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 44B), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 179-199.



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