Center initiatives and research projects

The Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI)

The Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI) is a collaborative global effort among  academic institutions to support the growth of a new generation of  academics in archival and recordkeeping education and research who are  versed in contemporary issues and knowledgeable of the work being  conducted by colleagues. Begun in 2009, the initiative seeks to promote  state-of-the-art in scholarship in Archival Studies, broadly conceived,  as well as to encourage curricular and pedagogical innovation in  archival education locally and worldwide. AERI is engaged in a number  research and infrastructure building initiatives as well as annual  week-long summer Archival Education and Research Institutes (AERIs) that  are hosted by partner institutions. These working Institutes are  designed to strengthen education and research and support academic  cohort-building and mentoring. The Institutes are open to all academic  faculty and doctoral students working in Archival Studies as well as to  others engaged in archival education and scholarship, both nationally  and internationally. We provide scholarship support to certain  categories of attendees, particularly students and junior academics, to  the extent that funds are available. A second component of this effort  is the encouragement of a larger and more diverse cohort of doctoral  students in Archival Studies through The Emerging Archival Scholars Program (2011- ).  colleagues. The initiative seeks to promote state-of-the-art in  scholarship in Archival Studies, broadly conceived, as well as to  encourage curricular and pedagogical innovation in archival education  locally and worldwide.

Records and ICT at the Boundaries of the State: Refugee Needs, Rights and Uses

PI: Anne J. Gilliland, Department of Information Studies, UCLA; Co-PI James Lowry, Liverpool University Center for Archive Studies (LUCAS).


The Rights in Records for Refugees Project first aims to identify and make visible the many ways in which official records (including  bio-records), bureaucratic practices and other more "irregular" forms  and uses of records play crucial roles in the lives of displaced people  as they travel across state boundaries, interact with governments and  aid agencies in camps, asylum hearings, immigration vetting, claims for  social services and so forth, and eventually resettle into new countries  and interface with their bureaucratic systems or return/are returned to  their places of origin.  Secondly, it seeks to identify and understand  from the perspectives of refugees, governments and aid agencies, the  roles and implications of ICTs such as cloud services, social media and  cellphones for the creation, movement, preservation and accessing of  records. With this knowledge in hand, it then aims to identify ways in  which professionals and agencies involved in archives and record-keeping  in affected countries might contribute and collaborate through digital  systems design to identifying and locating, protecting, validating,  securing and certifying such records; and also to identify potential  policy recommendations supporting specific refugee rights in records.

Agency & Affect of Recordkeeping in Individual and Community Lives After Yugoslavia

PI: Anne J. Gilliland


This research has several aims: 

  • to acknowledge and identify structural and emotional confrontations and  violence perpetrated and perpetuated by recordkeeping; 
  • to elucidate different official, bureaucratic and personal realities that are in  play; 
  • to identify and understand the dimensions of “workarounds” that are being or might be used when records are difficult to obtain, missing, destroyed, or were simply never created; and, ultimately 
  • to  promote recovery through the provision of services, systems and education in support of immediate and evolving personal and community needs for records. 


Using ethnographic methods it probes personal, professional and literary attitudes towards, and experiences with  recordkeeping. It applies the insights thus gained to enhance how recordkeeping systems, processes, metadata, interfaces and end user  services might better protect individuals who continue to be vulnerable  because of how records or metadata have been created, kept, destroyed, manipulated or shared; to facilitate how individuals locally and in  diaspora need to locate and use [particular] records in support of their  daily lives and well-being; to help individuals to identify other sources of evidence and build cases when records have been destroyed or damaged, or are not trustworthy; and to acknowledge and mitigate  damaging affective aspects of records and recordkeeping.