Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Archivists manage, process, store and disseminate information contained in an organization's archives. They acquire, store and research textual material, pictures, maps, architectural documents, electronic materials, films and videos, sound recordings and multimedia materials. Archivists are employed in archives, in the public and para-public sectors and in private sector organizations.
- Receive donations of inappropriate and unwanted artifacts. Archivists compile lists of inappropriate and unwanted materials by topic and type. They publish lists of unwanted artifacts and refuse to accept listed items. (1)
- Are unable to accommodate researchers' requests due to shortages of space and artifacts. They set priorities for research activities and consider the importance and urgency of requests. (2)
- Discover that artifacts are deteriorating due to temperature and humidity extremes. Archivists move artifacts such as photographs to locations where temperatures and humidity levels are within acceptable ranges. They make arrangements to have faulty equipment such as dehumidifiers and air conditioning units repaired. They return displaced artifacts to their original locations once temperatures and humidities are within acceptable ranges. (3)
- Are unable to effectively archive artifacts due to lack of resources such as space, funding and equipment. They inform their supervisors of space shortages. They seek funding from private donors, governments, foundations and their own organizations. They allocate sparse resources to artifacts with the highest evidentiary and informational values. They employ firms which have the specialty equipment needed to repair damaged artifacts such as fragmented negatives. (3)
- Grant individuals and organizations access to artifacts for research purposes. They consider the mandate and policies of archives and collections, the physical condition of artifacts, the potential for damage, the purposes of proposed research and the wishes of donors. (2)
- May choose artifacts to include in their organization's collections. For example, archivists with administrative responsibilities consider the evidentiary and informational values of artifacts, their organizations' accession mandates, ownership rights and the availability of resources such as space, funding and specialized equipment. (2)
- Select accession processes for textual materials, pictures, maps, architectural documents, electronic materials, films and videos, sound recordings and multimedia materials. They consider industry practices, media types, budgets and the advice of experts such as conservators. (3)
- May select contractors, consultants and suppliers. For example, photo archivists may select speciality photography laboratories to reproduce large-format images and storage facilities with appropriate climate control and security. Private records archivists may select specialists who have the expertise required to preserve badly damaged documents such as diaries. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- May assess the performance of volunteers, co-workers and contractors. They observe job performance directly and review personnel files. They gather anecdotal information from visitors, researchers, colleagues and donors. (2)
- Judge the appropriateness of archival processes and security and safety measures. For example, archivists consider their organizations' adherence to accepted archival processes, the physical conditions of artifacts in their collections and their use of technology to improve productivity and reduce costs. Archivists with administrative responsibilities review protective measures their organizations have instituted to create safe storage environments, ensure security, prevent loss, respond to emergencies and recover from disasters. (3)
- Evaluate the evidentiary and informational value of artifacts. They consider the roles that artifacts played in historical events and their significance to people, organizations and society at large. They also consider criteria such as the fame of artifacts' creators and their rarity, condition and notoriety. For example, architectural archivists evaluate the evidentiary and informational value of scale model structures by considering the quality of their construction, the existence of supporting materials such as architectural drawings and the popularity of the architects who created the models. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Archivists generally organize and plan their own job tasks to accomplish the work assigned by supervisors and deadlines established in work plans. They generally work on one artifact at a time, but they may be required to work on multiple projects to ensure the efficient use of labour and equipment. (2)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Archivists may plan and organize the activities of volunteers, helpers and other archivists. For example, archivists with supervisory responsibilities may direct other archivists to investigate the informational and historical value of collections and individual artifacts.
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember specific rules in privacy, copyright, cultural property, import and income tax Acts. For example, they memorize regulations governing the import of cultural property from other countries and Acts governing the issuance of charitable donation receipts for income tax purposes.
- Remember metatag data such as titles, descriptions, and locations of artifacts within collections.
- Remember passwords and procedures for accessing commonly-used databases.
- Find information about archival processes. For example, they speak with other archivists and colleagues such as conservators to learn about special preservation and conservation processes. They locate governing principles such as 'respect des fonds' to learn how artifacts within collections are to be processed. (2)
- Find background information on artifacts and individuals when assessing the informational and historic value of collections. They search websites, databases and catalogues operated by museums, universities and provincial and federal archives. They read bibliographies, text books and articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. They consult co-workers, supervisors and colleagues such as historians, researchers and conservators. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Archivists work independently when managing, processing and cataloguing artifacts. They may coordinate job tasks with helpers, conservators, other archivists and supervisors when working on large accession projects. (2)
Archivists learn continuously to remain knowledgeable about archival processes, industry trends, new collections and regulations governing areas such as privacy, tax and the import and export of cultural properties. The majority of learning occurs through their daily activities and interactions with co-workers, colleagues and researchers. They read academic journals, Acts, articles and books to learn about industry and regulatory changes. Archivists also hone their skills and knowledge by attending provincial, national and international conferences and seminars offered by universities and professional associations. (3)