A month or so ago a student asked me how to go about becoming an archivist. In constructing my response to him I mentally reviewed my 25+ years in the profession and the changes that have impacted the profession.
Time was most archivists were historians by training. Specialists might also have a degree in another discipline, but by and large we were historians. These days most have a degree in information science with coursework in public history.
What does that mean? Information Science is the new library science and is defined as an interdisciplinary field concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination and protection of information. While Public History is usually defined as history beyond the walls of the traditional classroom or applied history. It is most often found in the preservation of historic buildings, creation of museum exhibits and care of public and private records housed in archives. Continue reading