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The video reflects the transformation of Ireland’s archival landscape over the past half century and the remarkable role of UCD alumni in this process and is a great record of all that has been achieved over the past 50 years.

Dr Elizabeth Mullins

Director of the MA in Archives and Records Management programme

Happy Birthday to our Archivists! 50 Years of Archival Education in UCD

The School of History marked a significant milestone this year celebrating 50 years since the first archivists were trained in the university. Public awareness of the value of archivists has increased in Ireland over the last two decades, due to the significance of records in Commissions of Inquiry and the Decade of Centenaries but establishing the first training programme took place in a very different context. At this time, individuals had to travel abroad for full professional education and archives were collected mainly by the national repositories on the island and by special collection departments in universities.

The move to establish archival training was spearheaded by Robert Dudley Edwards, then Professor of Modern Irish History in UCD, and by Ailsa Holland, a recent graduate of UCD’s library training programme, whose archival credentials were strengthened by time spent working in the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, West Germany. The dynamism and determination of these two individuals, bolstered by significant support from a broad range of academics and librarians, led to the first Diploma in Archival Studies being delivered in the university in 1972-73. Since this time, archival training in UCD has gone from strength to strength and the university now delivers programmes at Certificate, Masters, and Doctoral level.

One of the ways that the School of History marked the birthday milestone was to invite former graduates to contribute to a video creating a record of the professional lives of UCD archivists. This video includes images of archivists from the very first training course to the current day.

It demonstrates the remarkable contribution UCD graduates have made to archives across the island of Ireland and abroad. The international contribution of UCD archivists is clear with contributions from the UK and Europe, New Zealand, North America, and Africa.  In terms of Ireland, many of the graduates who submitted photos established the first archive or records management service in the island’s local authorities, government departments, cultural institutions, corporate bodies, and religious organizations; others have worked to develop repositories dedicated to the preservation of film, music, architectural and military history.  The video reflects the transformation of Ireland’s archival landscape over the past half century and the remarkable role of UCD alumni in this process and is a great record of all that has been achieved over the past 50 years.

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