The Skills of a Historian Applied to a Career in Archives

Monday, January 5, 2015: 8:30 AM
Sutton North (New York Hilton)
Melanie Sturgeon, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
The historian’s understanding of change over time, turning points, trends and all of the other tools we use in our daily work has proven vital to a career in government archives. The complex genealogies of government agencies, their intersections with local, state, national and even international events provide context for agency actions and frameworks for appraising the historical value of the records they create. Working with records’ analysts to develop and review retention schedules that identify agency permanent records is a critical part of our work and shapes the evidence available for future researchers. We advocate on behalf of the discipline before  the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government and other stakeholders to help them understand the need to preserve records. We work with stakeholders to open records that are statutorily closed to researchers and we collaborate with historians and other archives in our state to identify and collect the records of under-documented communities. In short, our work impacts the writing of future history, accountability of government and the rights of our citizens.
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