Archivists help organize items such as artifacts and documents for schools and museums, among other institutions. Preservation is an essential part of the job in order to ensure that received items will last for as long as possible into the future. Archivists may also be responsible for developing an organization system if one does not exist or must be improved; this involves devising standard methods for categorizing and headlines under which certain items will go. Physical items which are stored may also have to be digitized by scanning or taking a picture, which may involve creating a digital database.
Details about the condition, type of item, and description should always be noted, and it may be necessary to have in-depth knowledge of the items in question so that adequate descriptions can be provided. Archivists also work closely interact with other members of the institution and even the public to locate and secure particular items. Teaching may be part of the job in order to educate students, guests, and faculty regarding how to find and use resources.
Much of the work is done independently, so it is important to be able to adhere to time constraints. Though many of the tasks are performed independently, it is also important to work well on teams with assistants and other archivists and technicians. Many employers require a master’s or doctorate degree in public history or a related field.