Managing Digital Archives

This course provides a thorough grounding in the management of archives in digital formats. It covers the processes around managing them, from deciding what records to collect and keep, through taking them into custody and ingest, to description and metadata management, preservation techniques and access provision. It also includes management in the context of modern organisations to provide learners with skills and knowledge to influence stakeholders and ensure that digital archives are valued and resourced.


‘Managing Digital Archives’ aims to provide learners with the knowledge to develop the infrastructure to manage their digital archives now and provide contemporary access as well as preserve them over time to ensure their survival and access in future, distinguishing real-time digital archives activities from over-time digital preservation to maximise efforts and resources. It also suggests options for learners to continue to develop their knowledge and skills, building their confidence and empowering them to build digital archives management capacity in their organisations. The course explains how to manage digital archives with examples to support archivists and those working in archival contexts in the best way to look after digital materials while relevant technologies emerge and practice evolves in response. It emphasises practical steps to start or advance digital archives management with limited resources and is grounded in the standards and practice that provide a foundation for the ongoing stewardship of digital archives. The course does not address the management of current records in digital formats.


The course is suitable for archivists and others responsible for managing archives in all formats who need to gain the expertise necessary to preserve and provide access to digital archives. It is an intermediate level course and learners should be familiar with the principles and practice of managing archives in physical formats. Learners also need to be proficient in the use of computers for everyday personal and office requirements and have a basic understanding of the potential and implications of information technology for archives management.


The course has been developed and written by Nancy McGovern, former chair of ICA’s Digital Records Expert Group and Margaret Crockett, ICA’s Training Officer, with demonstration videos created by Pauline Soum-Paris, Project Archivist at the Bodleian Library, Oxford and expert contributions from Kari Smith, Institute Archivist at MIT. The French language version has been translated and adapted by David Rajotte and Claude Roberto.

Course characteristics

The course will consist of the following sections:

  • Introduction to managing digital archives
  • Collecting
  • Ingest
  • Preservation
  • Infrastructure
  • Access
  • Stewardship

This course is available in English and French. Learning materials provided for each section include video presentations background texts and/or presentation scripts, exercises, quizzes, resources lists and additional resources where ICA has the rights. There are also presentations on special topics and demonstration videos for some sections.Together these sections amount to a total of 60 hours. You have 3 months to complete the full course. Course materials can be downloaded on to computers, smartphones and tablets and require an internet connection. ICA will issue a certificate once the final assessment has been completed.


Costs for the online course: 

  • for ICA members €189
  • for non-members €255