Archival or Special Collections Librarianship | School of Information | Kent State University

Archival or Special Collections Librarianship

What Is It?

‍The primary‍ task of the archivist is to establish and maintain control, both physical and intellectual, over records of enduring value. Archivists select records, a process that requires an understanding of the historical context in which the records were created, the uses for which they were intended, and their relationships to other sources. The archivist then arranges and describes the records, in accordance with accepted standards and practices; ensures the long-term preservation of collections; assists researchers; and plans and directs exhibitions, publications, and other outreach programs to broaden the use of collections and to enlist support for archival programs. All archivists, especially those with administrative responsibilities, need to understand and apply the principles of sound management to their work. (Source: Society of American Archivists) The education of a special collections professional is similar to that of an archivist, although the roles may vary. For details on the role of a special collections professionals, please see the Association of College and Research Libraries' Competencies for Special Collections Professionals.  

What Can I Do With This Background?

Indexing/abstracting, competitor intelligence, strategic information, knowledge management, records management/archives, information architecture, document design, information management, usability, digital preservation, e-mail management, hypermedia, visual resources, reprography, grey literature, antiquarian books. Employers: Large hospitals; medical schools; law firms; law schools; bar associations; large corporations; industrial and scientific collections; research labs; local, state and federal government agencies; nonprofit organizations; public libraries; colleges and universities; art schools; museums and art institutions; prisons; galleries; historical societies; publishing houses; advertising and public relations agencies; news organizations and electronic media; picture services; motion picture studios; television stations; trade and professional associations.  

In Addition to the Required Core Courses, What Courses Should I Take?

Key electives for this specialization include:

  • 60631 Introduction to Digital Preservation
  • 60651 Digital Image Processing and Collection Management
  • 60652 Foundations and Administration of Archives
  • 60654 Preservation and Conservation of Heritage Materials
  • 61095 ST: Reference and Research Methods in Local History and Genealogy
  • 61095 ST: Archival Appraisal, Selection and Acquisition

For additional course options for this specialization, please consult with your academic advisor.  

What Professional Organizations Are Relevant to This Career Path?