Yesterday, I put out a call asking community archivists what tasks they do. Alison commented, "To me, Archives are mostly about Cultural Memory. Preserving & providing access to records that provide information about cultural memory. In my area, they also help teachers to teach about/ through primary documents, which is becoming a larger part of education...What do we do? More then I could list here."
Indeed! We do a lot! That's why I want to add to the two lines given to archives in the library article "What Do Librarians Do" that I mentioned yesterday. Let's make that long list!
This is off the top of my head. What have a left out?
- Arrange personal papers, photographs, media, and other primary source material
- Preserve materials using professional methods that maintain appropriate environmental controls and use appropriate supplies for the safety of collections, prioritizing the needs of items based on condition and budgets
- Manage budgets for preservation, conservation, local history books, exhibit supplies, office supplies, staff
- Determining which materials need outside conservation
- Purchase and manage appropriate secondary source materials to enhance the primary source collections
- Manage institutional records through retention schedules
- Promote local history and historical collections through programming and special events
- Assist genealogists, house historians, engineers, and others interested in local historical records with research by helping them find appropriate materials and referring them to other appropriate institutions when necessary
- Assist researchers with using equipment
- Supplement the public school and homeschool curriculums by helping teachers teach through primary documents and helping students learn history with original resources
- Promote a sense of awe and provide inspiration by giving users a direct connection to history through original resources.
- Create finding aids that describe specific collections and promote the larger collections of the institution and town
- Develop collections and fill gaps in the documentary record
- Work collaboratively with other local institutions to ensure that history is documented, preserved, and promoted
- Assist local businesses and the town with highlighting the town's history to promote civic pride
- Digitize and microfilm materials to promote access and preservation
- Index digitized collections using metadata and professional standards
- Work with potential donors to appropriately place materials, promoting good relations with the public
- Solicit, train, and manage volunteers and interns to assist with processing collections, shelving local history books, and other non-professional tasks
- Create exhibits that highlight community history and collection strengths
- Work with regional and national organizations that promote archives to promote the value and needs of historical records
- Choose and maintain appropriate electronic equipment including computer equipment, microfilm machines, and the like to enhance preservation and access...
Can you think of more?