Posted by Andrew Janes:
"...it isn’t surprising that most people don’t know very much about what archivists do because the scope and responsibilities of the job vary quite a lot between different archives and between different roles within the same organisation. Some archivists work mostly with records made of paper and other ‘traditional’ materials but others work mainly or entirely with digital records. Some archivists, like me, spend a lot of time answering enquiries and talking to researchers, but others spend much less time doing that. 4 What we all have in common is our commitment to the records.
Sir Hilary Jenkinson, who was one of the most important British writers about archival theory and practice during the 20th century, 5 had much to say to about the role of archivists. According to Jenkinson, an archivist’s primary duty is the physical and moral defence of the records in his or her care. 6 Why is this defence ‘moral’ as well as physical? Archivists believe that preserving the intellectual properties of records and their relationships with one another 7 – which Jenkinson rather grandly terms a moral defence – is just as important as looking after the records physically."