Archival literacy skills and goals


Document analysis
• Paleography and decoding
• Close reading (“detailed and careful analysis of a written work”)
• Visual analysis
• Identifying and finding information needed to understand a document (vocabulary words, names, places, etc.)
• Observing and summarizing
• Identifying and analyzing bias and audience
• Posing larger questions raised by a primary source

Using primary sources
• Connecting primary source documents to contextual material from class
• Making an argument based on primary source evidence
• Choosing and using effective examples


Primary sources and society
• Understanding that the historical record continues to be made today
• Understanding that we can read buildings and neighborhoods the same way we can read primary sources
• Gaining empathy for the experiences of historical actors
• Understanding the incompleteness of the historical record – and why some things are in archives and others aren’t
• Recognizing the useful and enriching services that cultural institutions and libraries provide

Students’ identities as researchers
• Understanding that not all research is done online or in monographs – or in a single library
• Displaying increased confidence as a researcher and a patron

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A three-year, FIPSE-funded program at Brooklyn Historical Society