To Be Or Not To Be


Archives, they are not just building that house old pieces of paper. There are many things that go into creating a working archive. In this week’s reading, we explore questions like, what goes into making a wonderful archive? How many different types of archives are there? What skills go into creating and managing archives?  Finally, what education and ethics are needed to create a great archivist.

Dealing with employment, most archives require an undergraduate or a graduate degree, to be employed. In addition, according to the SAA or the Society of American Archives, in their article So you want to be an Archivist says that even though most individuals “receive a graduate degree in history or library science. . . Public administration and political science are also useful specializations.”  None the less, there are many different kinds of archives that you can work for after receiving an education.  According to the Society of American Archives, in their web article, Types of Archives, many individuals can work for college or university archive. College or university archives are angled towards “preserve materials relating to a specific academic institution and their alumni . . . and then to serve the public. In addition, an individual can also work at a Religious archive like the United Methodist Church Archives, which are angled towards “the traditions or institutions of a major faith, denominations within a faith.”

Within the realm of archives, there is an essential code of conduct to adhere by, this is called a “Code of Ethics” this code of conduct ranges anywhere from being trustworthy, to having good judgment. Most archivists must have spectacular judgment because archivists often are “appraising, acquiring, and processing materials to ensure the preservation, authenticity, diversity, and lasting cultural and historical value of their collections,” (Core Values, 4). In addition, archivists must be trustworthy, this is since, archivists on a daily basis handle and organize hundreds or rare and irreplaceable artifacts, it is the archivists utmost job to “not take unfair advantage of their privileged access to and control of historical records and documentary materials,” (Core Values, 5).

Nevertheless, there is more than just an ethical code that pertains to being an archivist. A big part of archiving is preserving artifacts such as manuscripts, diaries, and rare historical documents. In regards to preservation archivist “must be able to examine the physical composition of every format of document, and identify the possible threat of deterioration.” (Cauvin, 35). In addition, an archivist has to take into account, the environment and “in particular, issues such as light, humidity, and air pollution are major factors in the deterioration and preservation of items.” (Cauvin, 35).

There are many aspects to being a magnificent archivist, however, being trustworthy and learning the codes of ethics will help you. It takes a lot to be an archivist, however, with the proper education and workplace. You will be able to shape yourself into becoming a magnificent


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