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Archivists Career

Career Description

Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

What Job Titles Archivists Might Have

  • Archives Director
  • Archivist
  • Manuscripts Curator
  • Registrar

What Archivists Do

  • Organize archival records and develop classification systems to facilitate access to archival materials.
  • Provide reference services and assistance for users needing archival materials.
  • Prepare archival records, such as document descriptions, to allow easy access to information.
  • Authenticate and appraise historical documents and archival materials.
  • Create and maintain accessible, retrievable computer archives and databases, incorporating current advances in electronic information storage technology.
  • Preserve records, documents, and objects, copying records to film, videotape, audiotape, disk, or computer formats as necessary.
  • Establish and administer policy guidelines concerning public access and use of materials.
  • Direct activities of workers who assist in arranging, cataloguing, exhibiting, and maintaining collections of valuable materials.
  • Research and record the origins and historical significance of archival materials.
  • Locate new materials and direct their acquisition and display.
  • Coordinate educational and public outreach programs, such as tours, workshops, lectures, and classes.
  • Specialize in an area of history or technology, researching topics or items relevant to collections to determine what should be retained or acquired.
  • Select and edit documents for publication and display, applying knowledge of subject, literary expression, and presentation techniques.

What Archivists Should Be Good At

  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Archivists Should Be Interested In

  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Archivists Need to Learn

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $50,500

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.