daily life of an Archivist
are Archivists happy with their job


Other names for this job might include Archival Records Clerk, Archives and Historical Documents Director, Archives and Rare Books Division Curator, Archives Director, Archivist, Collections Director, Collections Manager, Curator, Curator of Manuscripts, Curatorial Specialist

  • $53880
  • 72%
    Job satisfaction
  • Hard
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
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Being An Archivist: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Archivists do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as an Archivist or not.

Job summary

Archivists appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

We asked Archivists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


72% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 51% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Archivists Create and maintain accessible, retrievable computer archives and databases, incorporating current advances in electronic information storage technology. They Organize archival records and develop classification systems to facilitate access to archival materials.

1 of the main responsibilities as An Archivist is to Provide reference services and assistance for users needing archival materials.

Some may also Direct activities of workers who assist in arranging, cataloguing, exhibiting, and maintaining collections of valuable materials.

A typical day for An Archivist look like this:

Develop library or archival databases.
Develop policies or procedures for archives, museums or libraries.
Organize informational materials.
Help patrons use library or archival resources.

We asked some Archivists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?63% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?84% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?9% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?78% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?0% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?34% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?0% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?19% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Archivists do, they Authenticate and appraise historical documents and archival materials. They might also Prepare archival records, such as document descriptions, to allow easy access to information.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Archivists Preserve records, documents, and objects, copying records to film, videotape, audiotape, disk, or computer formats as necessary. and Locate new materials and direct their acquisition and display.

In addition, they Specialize in an area of history or technology, researching topics or items relevant to collections to determine what should be retained or acquired.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Coordinate educational and public outreach programs, such as tours, workshops, lectures, and classes.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Evaluate characteristics of archival or historical objects.
Prepare materials for preservation, storage, or display.
Order instructional or library materials or equipment.
Research topics in area of expertise.

Working life

Working hours

40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as An Archivist, you can expect to work 40 hours per week.

Do Archivists work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Archivists work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Archivists work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Organizers and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

How we can help

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Rank: B+
Salary: $58110

They administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers’ advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.
Rank: B
Salary: $56690

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Rank: B+
Salary: $72440

They teach courses in library science. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.
Rank: A
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They teach courses in drama, music, and the arts including fine and applied art, such as painting and sculpture, or design and crafts. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.
Rank: A
Salary: $73720

They teach courses in human history and historiography. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Archivists job description, what do Archivists do, typical day for Archivists, what is it like to work as an Archivist, how many hours do Archivists work, day to day work of an Archivist

Additional resources


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