Archivists appraise, edit, and maintain permanent records and historically valuable documents. Many perform research on archival material. Show Details
Archivists typically do the following:
Create and maintain accessible computer archives and databases
Organize and classify archival records to make it easy to find materials
Authenticate and appraise historical documents and archival materials
Provide reference services and help for users
Direct workers who help arrange, exhibit, and maintain collections
Safeguard records by copying to film, videotape, disk, or computer formats
Preserve and maintain documents and objects
Set and administer policy guidelines concerning public access to materials
Locate new materials and direct their acquisition and display
Archivists preserve many documents and records for their importance, potential value, or historical significance. Most archivists coordinate educational and public outreach programs, such as tours, workshops, lectures, and classes. Some work with the boards of institutions to administer plans and policies. In addition, archivists may research topics or items relevant to their collections.
Some archivists specialize in an area of history, such as colonial history, so they can more accurately determine which records in that area should be kept and should become part of the archives. Archivists also may work with specialized forms of records, such as manuscripts, electronic records, websites, photographs, maps, motion pictures, or sound recordings.
Archivists usually use computers to generate and maintain archival records. Professional standards for handling electronic archival records are still evolving. However, computer capabilities will continue to expand and more records will be stored and exhibited electronically, providing both increased access and better protection for archived documents.
Archives technicians help archivists organize, maintain, and provide access to historical documentary materials.