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Frequently Asked Questions

I often get asked questions about being an archivist and what exactly archivists do while at work. I have prepared this FAQ sheet in order to bring a greater understanding to clients and those entering the profession. I hope it helps de mystify the work that archivists do.  

Why do we need archives?

We need archives because they give us an unique view on the past as well as being relevant in today's world. 

Why do we need archivists?

Archivists are primarily needed to acquire and maintain records of continuing value for individuals, organisations and the wider public.


Why may I need an archivist?

You may need an archivist:

To provide records for research
To consult about records in your possession
To re-house records of continuing value.
To help provide transparency for a company

This list isn’t extensive but shows some of the reasons you may need an archivist. Archives and archivists are found in the public and private sectors, working for charitable organisations to banks and universities. 

What is a record?

A record means ‘any recorded evidence of an activity[1].’ This can be as wide ranging as a shop receipt from the weekly food shop or a will of a family member. It is important to remember that a record is always unique. 

1] Shepherd and Yeo, Managing Records: a handbook of principles and practice, p2