Starting a career as an archivist gives you the responsibility of protecting and administration of historical records. With this career, you can work in places such as libraries, museums, historical societies, government agencies, and corporations. A career as an archivist can be a good fit if you are passionate about history as well as preserving historical documents.
An archivist is in charge of preserving, organising, and managing historical records and papers. Additionally, their main goal is to make sure that important documents are preserved and available to subsequent generations. Furthermore, they utilize specialised methods to assess, gather, organise, characterize, and maintain records to guarantee their preservation and continued accessibility for scholars and other users.
In this piece, I will walk you through the steps to take in pursuing a career as an archivist.
How to Become an Archivist
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
You need a bachelor’s degree to start a career as an archivist. You can obtain a degree in areas such as library and information science, history, or a related field.
Earn a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree is important in this career path. A master’s degree is important because it can give you access to higher positions as well as high earning potential. Additionally, it will enable you to have access to specialised education in the area of interest you wish to explore. You can obtain a master’s degree in areas such as Library Science, History or a related field. Furthermore, you can gain specialised education in archival principles, preservation, and digital archives.
Gain Work Experience
You can gain experience through internships or volunteering. These roles can be offered by places such as libraries, museums, or archives. Gaining experiences will enable you to develop your skills and apply the theoretical knowledge you have gained in real-world settings. Additionally, you will be able to have networking opportunities and build valuable experience.
Choose an Area of Specialisation
There are various areas that you can specialise in as an archivist. You can choose areas such as appraisal archivists, digital archivists or community archivists. These specialisations will enable you to narrow your focus as well as gain competence in your chosen niche.
Obtain Professional Certifications
This is not a compulsory requirement. However, it can be beneficial to you as an archivist. These certifications can demonstrate your expertise as well as show your dedication to this field.
Develop Technical Skills
As an archivist, you should be able to use technical tools such as scanners, software and digital databases. You will use these tools for cataloguing and preservation. Additionally, it would be best if you familiarized yourself with programming languages and computer skills.
Network and Build Professional Relationships
It is critical to build professional relationships with other industry professionals. This can enable you to have access to career opportunities. Additionally, you will be able to stay current on the newest practices and technologies.
Types of Archivists
- Digital Archivist: These archivists are experts in the management of digital records and archives, such as electronic documents, photos, and other born-digital artefacts. Additionally, they handle and safeguard electronic files using specialised software and techniques.
- Outreach Archivist: These archivists employ public programming and outreach initiatives to promote the use of archival collections. Furthermore, they construct exhibitions, deliver talks, or generate educational materials to engage a wide range of people.
- Appraisal Archivist: These archivists assess the historical and scholarly worth of collections. Additionally, they also collaborate with donors to acquire additional collections that are related to the mission and aims of the archive.
- Reference Archivist: These archivists offer reference services, aid in the location of items, and support researchers in the use of archival resources. They might also offer advice on research techniques and tactics, as well as education on how to use archival materials.
- Institutional Archivist: These archivists oversee the holdings of an organisation or institution, such as a museum, government agency, or university. Additionally, they might try to build new collections that fit the institution’s objectives.
- Processing Archivist: These archivists organise and characterize archival collections to make them more accessible and usable to scholars. Additionally, they provide finding aids and other descriptive tools to assist users in navigating collections and locating relevant resources.
- Community Archivist: These archivists collaborate with populations and organisations to document their heritage and customs, as well as to conserve and make archive resources available.
Skills Required for an Archivist
- Interpersonal skills
- Computer literacy
Places to Work as an Archivist
- Government agencies
- Private companies
Universities in Africa that Offer Library and Information Science
- Cairo University, Egypt
- University of Lagos, Nigeria
- Ain Shams University, Egypt
- University of Johannesburg, South Africa
- Alexandria University, Egypt
- University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Mansoura University, Egypt
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Assiut University, Egypt
- University of Zambia, Zambia
- Tanta University, Egypt
- University of Nigeria, Nigeria
- Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
- University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- Assiut University, Egypt
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
- Tunis University, Tunisia
- University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
- University of Ilorin, Nigeria
- Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco
- Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
- University of Ghana, Ghana
- University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
- Jimma University, Ethiopia
- University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
- University of the Western Cape, South Africa
- Makerere University, Uganda
- University of Nairobi, Kenya
- University of Botswana, Botswana
Finally, starting a career as an archivist allows you to explore boundless opportunities for your personal and career growth. Additionally, you will serve a critical role in preserving our cultural legacy and providing access to valuable historical documents and artefacts. Furthermore, you will play a vital role in assisting academics, scholars, and others in the community in gaining access to historical records.