I’ve been enjoying Jackie Dooly’s recent series of posts looking at the skills and duties that are showing up in job postings for digital archivists. I’m excited to see archives listing these. Staffing up illustrates how the issues of electronic records have risen to a significant issue in the minds of the deciders.
Like many who share this particular job title, I have some complicated feelings about the idea of “The Digital Archivist.” While my official job title is Digital Archivist, I’ve generally added a caveat. When I encounter someone else with that title, I often go on to explain that I’m more of a meta-digital archivist. That is, most of what I do is about policy, strategy, and standards; establishing and documenting practices, and collaborating to document and codify emerging practices. However, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that most of what I do is actually largely what digital archivist jobs should be doing.
I think the confusion about what a digital archivist should do is mostly summed up as follows;
Digital archivists should not the people who do the digital stuff. Everybody (including the digital archivists) need to pick up the skills necessary to work with digital records. Instead, digital archivists should be the people who are hired to lead the digital stuff.