The blurry line between archives and records management at the universities in South Africa

  • Sidney Netshakhuma University of Mpumalanga
Keywords: archives, university archives, records management, South Africa


sections in South Africa struggle for a place on the margins of the information juggernaut. As a result, these functions are often separated within the universities’ structures. The purpose of this study was to investigate the positioning of ARM at universities in South Africa. The study analysed literature, focusing on ARM sections within the universities structure, and demonstrated the role of archives and records in supporting the university functions. Primary data were collected through interviews with archivists and records managers of 26 universities in South Africa. Evidence suggests that there is a blurry line between archives and records management at the universities in South Africa. Some universities separate the functions by placing the archives function in the library department while records management is placed under the Office of the Registrar. As a result, archives are camouflaged as sub-ordinate divisions within university libraries in South Africa, with the university archivist reporting to the university librarian. However, there are universities that place the ARM programme within one department under the Office of the Registrar. This study recommends that ARM functions should be integrated and placed under one function reporting to the head of archives and records management. The study concludes that the continuous separation of ARM functions has implications for both future professional practice and provision of information at the universities. University archives should be given the same status as the library, as the two are on the same level.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 1012-2796