During the month of October we celebrate National Archives Month! Often the profession of an archivist can seem ambiguous, since the role can entail varied duties and areas of expertise. In the spirit of Archives Month, the SCRC archivists would like to take the opportunity to more fully explain the daily tasks that detail what we do in our profession.
The Academy of Certified Archivists has delineated that archivists’ roles cross seven different domains. Those are:
1. Selection, Appraisal, and Acquisition of archival materials.
2. Arrangement and description of archival and manuscript materials.
3. Reference services and access to researchers and patrons using our materials.
4. Preservation and Protection of manuscript and archival materials.
5. Outreach, Advocacy, and Promotion of archives and the archival profession.
6. Managing Archival Programs.
7. Professional, Ethical, and Legal Responsibilities as they relate to manuscripts and archives.
So what do we do? We acquire, arrange, and manage the intake and processing of manuscript and archival records, and we make those records available for researchers to use. We teach and conduct outreach to educate and inform audiences about primary sources and our archival holdings. We establish relationships with outside stakeholders who may donate materials or resources to our repository. We adhere to the highest standards concerning the care, preservation, and security of our collections. While some of these many duties are spread among different staff members (i.e., some of our archivists emphasize instruction, while others outreach, and still others processing), we are all archivists and we advocate on behalf of our profession. The career of an archivist is never dull; on the contrary, every day can be quite exciting.
Check back next week, when we will cover definitions and terms used in the archival profession!