In the world of information management, the terms archivist and records manager are often used interchangeably. However, there are some essential differences between the two professions that are worth exploring.
At their core, both archivists and records managers are responsible for the management and preservation of important documents and records. Though, the types of documents they manage, as well as the specific tasks they perform, can vary significantly.
An archivist is typically responsible for managing historical documents and artifacts. These may include everything from handwritten letters and journals to photographs, maps, and other historical artifacts. Archivists are often employed by museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions, and their work is focused on the preservation and accessibility of historical documents for future generations.
One key aspect of an archivist’s job is ensuring that the materials they manage are properly preserved. This often involves careful handling and storage of the documents, as well as digitization efforts to create digital copies of historical materials that can be accessed by researchers and the public.
In addition to preservation, archivists may also be involved in curating exhibits, creating finding aids to help researchers navigate historical collections, and conducting research into the historical context of the materials they manage. Overall, an archivist’s work is focused on ensuring that historical documents are properly preserved and made accessible to those who need them.
Preserving the Past, Managing the Present, and Planning for the Future: A Discussion on Archiving, Records, and Data
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On the other hand, a records manager is typically responsible for managing the day-to-day records of an organization. These may include everything from financial records and personnel files to legal documents and project files. Records managers are often employed by businesses, government agencies, and other organizations that generate a large volume of records as part of their operations.
One key aspect of a records manager’s job is ensuring that records are properly classified and organized so that they can be easily accessed when needed. This often involves developing and implementing record retention policies, which specify how long different record types should be retained and when they can be destroyed. Additionally, records managers are often responsible for ensuring that records are properly secured and protected from unauthorized access.
Records managers may also be involved in developing and implementing document management systems, which are used to manage and store electronic records. These systems may include everything from simple file-sharing tools to more complex content management systems that can automatically classify and index records based on their content.
Overall, a records manager’s work is focused on ensuring that an organization’s records are properly managed and organized so they can be easily accessed when needed while complying with legal or regulatory requirements.
While there are some key differences between archivists and records managers, there is also significant overlap between the two professions. For example, both archivists and records managers may be involved in developing and implementing record retention policies, and both may be responsible for ensuring that records are properly classified and organized.
This is where a vendor partner can help both professionals meet their individual requirements. A records and information management partner can help implement a standardized information governance strategy and simplified solution for the retention of all types of records throughout the organization.
For more information on the relationship between archiving and records management, check out our latest webinar: Preserving the Past, Managing the Present, and Planning for the Future – A Discussion on Archiving, Records, and Data.
This webinar is a discussion on the differences and overlaps between archivists, records managers, and data professionals, as well as the importance of archiving and its relationship to records management and data retention.