Creative careers

Digital Archivist

What does a digital archivist do?

Digital archivists select primary sources that document the activities of institutions, communities and individuals. They then preserve the records and make them available for others to use.

Digital archivists work with records that are created digitally or material that has been changed into a digital format. They use standard methods and principles to prepare both the records themselves and the information about them, called metadata. After this, they transfer the records and metadata into an archive or repository for long-term preservation.

It is important for the archivist to ensure that the records stay secure and unchanged throughout the process. Digital archivists work together with a wide range of individuals and organisations on a number of tasks. These tasks include depositing material into archives, organising material, distributing it and making sure that records are easy to find and accessible to the public.

What is a digital archivist good at?

  • Communication: able to explain complex tasks to organisations that are depositing material into the archive. They are also able to help members of the public with research enquiries
  • Analysis: able to analyse information and make informed decisions about data
  • Organisation: able to handle large volumes of data
  • Technical skills: enjoys learning new technical skills and trialing tools to carry out work more effectively
  • Collaboration: good at working with team members, stakeholders and archive users

Who does a digital archivist work with?

Digital archivists work with:

  • Other members of the archiving team
  • People who are depositing material to the archive
  • Members of the public carrying out research

Tools of the trade

These are some of the tools that professional digital archivists use but you can develop your skills using free software:

Watch and read

Digital archivists talking about their work

How do I become a digital archivist?

To become a digital archivist, you will need a qualification in archives, information science or computing.