Archivist careers involve the organization and preservation of valuable documents. Many of these careers are found in universities, where archivists may work directly with documents as well as with university students. Libraries and museums may also have archivists on staff in order to organize materials and help others find them or decide which materials to present to the public. It is also possible for archivists to find careers with businesses, government organizations, or private individuals.
Some of the most common archivist careers are spent in libraries. Library archivists may collect documents such as newspapers, photographs, films, and books that they believe contain valuable information. These archivists may also familiarize themselves with the current archives in the library so that they can help librarians or library patrons to find documents that could be helpful to them, though they will not reorganize existing archives. Archivists at libraries may also digitalize physical documents so that they can be accessed through computers.
Opportunities for archivist careers are also found in museums. A strong understanding of a particular area of history will help a museum archivist to determine which materials need to be specially preserved and which should be displayed to the public. These archivists may also write up descriptions of materials so that archival documents that are not on display can be located and identified easily.
Universities also have archivists on staff. These archivists are often associated with the university's library, though they may have duties aside from those seen in public library archivist careers. In universities, archivists may teach classes in archival sciences, helping to train the next generation of archivists, librarians, and curators. They may also teach workshops that help students understand how the archives are organized and how to find information that they are looking for.
Other types of archivist careers may be spent in government institutions. Archivists who work for the government will usually specialize in collecting and organizing information to help future generations understand the political climate and history of a nation, state, or city. These archivists usually collect primary documents from current sources and make sure that older documents are in good condition and properly preserved.
Occasionally, archivists work in private institutions. Large corporations and medical facilities may employ archivists to preserve and organize some of their paperwork, photos, or digital information. Some archivist careers may involve tracking the history of a family, especially a family that has been historically significant or that is particularly powerful today.