Thinking About a Career in Archives
Archives vary greatly in size and remit, so every archive needs people with a variety of different skills in order to run. Here are some of the main careers that you might find in archives:
Archivists are responsible for ensuring the material in the archive is stored correctly, catalogued and researched. They are often also responsible for ensuring that the material is accessible to researchers and the public. Archivists generally have a post-graduate qualification in archives or records management that is recognised by the Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland (ARA-UK).
Records Managers help organisations to fulfil their legal obligations for record retention. They provide data and information and are responsible for ensuring that there is capacity for the volume of records their organisation needs to keep while also destroying records as appropriate. Records Managers generally have a post-graduate qualification in records management.
Conservators are responsible for the preservation and conservation of archives. They handle and repair archival material, repairing damage and undertaking work to ensure there is no further damage. Sometimes conservators undertake rescue work, repairing archive material following a disaster event. Conservators generally have undertaken a masters in conservation or S/NVQs in Conservation or Collections Care. They may also have undertaken a certificate in Conservation with the ARA-UK or progressed through professional accreditation of Conservators and Restorers scheme administered by the Institute of Conservation.
In some archives you may also find researchers, digitisers, cataloguers, education or learning and outreach officers. In other archives this work may be done by staff with other titles as part of their wider role.