n.the knowledge of archival theory, concepts, practice, institutions, research tools and strategies needed to successfully engage in archival research Yakel and Torres 2003, 52Archival intelligence is a researcher’s knowledge of archival principles, practices, and institutions, such as the reasons underlying archival rules and procedures, how to develop search strategies to explore research questions, and an understanding of the relationship between primary sources and their surrogates.Nimer and Daines 2012, 5As the authors began to consider how we might improve our institution’s instructional program, we looked at both the format and the content. To expand available teaching time, we considered developing longer format workshops and credit-bearing courses. For content, we wanted to greatly expand instruction on archival intelligence skills—teaching students not just how to access archives, but how to understand how they are formed and administered by archival repositories.Janes 2012Making sense of the research environment: archival intelligence ¶ Expert users of archives can do research successfully within the systems and procedures of the archives. Bahde, Smedberg, and Taormina 2014, ixCoined by Elizabeth Yakel and Deborah Torres in 2003, the term archival intelligence refers to the information-seeking proficiencies needed to successfully find primary sources in archival and manuscript collections, and includes skills needed to use a special collections or archives repository.Hensley, Murphy, and Swain 2014, 111While our focus was on the first element of archival intelligence—knowledge of archival theory, practice, and procedures—Yakel and Torres (2003) discussed two additional elements for consideration: strategies for reducing uncertainty and intellective skills.
Archival intelligence includes a familiarity with typical reading room procedures, the ability to develop research strategies, facility with discovery tools, and a comprehension of the relationship between original materials and their surrogates. Also included is a basic understanding of archival functions and administration.