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How Do I Become a Digital Archivist?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A digital archivist works to create, manage, preserve, and provide access to a range of digital records. To become a digital archivist, you will usually need education that prepares you for handling, classifying, and preserving documents. Earning a degree in a field like information science, archival science, or library science may prepare you for these tasks. Some employers may accept bachelor’s degrees for this job, though others require graduate-level education instead. Additionally, you will likely need experience with archiving work and skill with handling and classifying important documents to land this job.

The requirements for becoming a digital archivist may vary, depending on the employer. In most cases, however, higher education is required. Since you will need to know how to preserve documents and manage records to pursue this career, you may benefit from earning a degree in a field like information or library science. Some colleges also offer archival science degree programs, which are particularly appropriate as you work to become a digital archivist. Additionally, some employers might consider you for this job if you have a degree in a field like history.

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Some employers may hire you for this position if you have a related bachelor’s degree, but many jobs require master’s degrees instead. The master’s degree majors considered appropriate for this job are usually the same as those you might choose for a bachelor’s degree. No matter which major you choose, however, your chances of securing the job you want may be improved by taking at least some courses in archival science.

In comparison to bachelor's degree programs, those that offer master's degrees do provide more in-depth study of the concepts important in preserving and classifying documents and may focus more on digital archiving and document collection management in particular. This may be the reason many employers prefer individuals with more education. Additionally, jobs that require the handling of very sensitive documents and those that are historical or in extremely poor condition sometimes require a master's degree.

You will likely also need experience when you want to become a digital archivist. Many employers prefer to hire candidates who have worked for at least a year or two in a digital archiving position, such as those available through a library, higher-education institution, museum, or government agency. Since it is sometimes difficult to get a job right after graduating from college, you might also consider other ways of getting experience. You might find, for example, that some employers will hire you for this position if you have participated in an internship that provided you with digital archiving experience. The same types of organizations that offer jobs in this field may also offer internships, and you can ask a career guidance representative at your college to help you find an opportunity.

Most employers will also expect you to have a range of skills when you are pursuing this job. You will, for example, need to be skilled with handling documents in a way that protects them as you scan them and create digital files. Organizational and analytical skills will likely come in handy as you classify and sort digital documents so that others can locate them as needed. Computer skills are also required when you want to become a digital archivist.

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