Monday, August 6, 2007

Define "archivist" in one sentence

Accidental Archivist was at the cottage this weekend and was asked to explain what he will studying. I said, "Archives," but this elicited blank stares. Having not yet taken any courses or done any kind of formal study, the best I could offer was something along the lines of, "preserving information and making it available for use." That's part of it, but not quite there. I would like to be able to give people a definition that is understandable, short and gives due to importance of the profession.


Sally J. said...

I like to describe archivists as librarians for unpublished materials. Most folks know what librarians do, so it's a good starting place.

I also talk about how librarians and archivists are different -- if the person seems interested in that much detail.

P.S. I've been working as an archivist for over 10 years and my mom *mostly* understands what I do...

Accidental Archivist said...

That is an interesting way to describe it. When I worked part time at an archive during undergrad, the archivist was painfully insistent on how archival work is different from library work.

I think I will keep that in mind.