Career Course : Career as an Archivist

Career as an Archivist


Career as an Archivist

Archives hold a unique position in an institution of any modern state by acting as a repository of records, both, past and present. The word ‘archive’ is derived from the Greek word ‘archeion’ meaning a public office or town hall.

Archives include a whole range of material like old hand – written manuscripts, letters, papers, books, maps, plans photographs, diaries, clippings, legal documents, drawings, photocopied and microfilmed material, video and sound recordings and computer discs.

As archives contain a vast storehouse of knowledge, they significantly contribute to a better understanding of our past which laid the Archivist foundation of modern world.

The valuable history of India is embedded in thousands of manuscripts, records, inscriptions, documents, etc., most of which have yet to be scientifically preserved and restored.

A professional who preserves and exploits this archival heritage and provides access to information contained within is known as Archivist. The primary task of an archivist is to establish and maintain control, both physical and intellectual, over records of enduring value.

This Archivist includes acquiring and appraising new collections, arranging and describing records, providing reference service and curatorial skills of selecting archives.

Archivists working in cultural institutions or for local government frequently design educational or outreach programs to further the ability of archive users to understand and access information in their Archivist collections.

This includes activities like exhibitions, promotional events or even media coverage. In addition, archivists at a more senior level carry out management tasks, which include control of budgets, staff and strategy.

Archivists work in the archival units of government agencies, local authorities, industrial and commercial firms and universities, hospitals, charities, religious institutions, museums, historical societies, libraries and any educational institution whose records may potentially be valuable to researches, exhibitors, genealogists, or others who would benefit form having access to original source material.

Alternatively, they could also work on the collections of a large family or even of an individual. An archival study, through a small and exclusive discipline, demands a strong academic background.

Though, graduates from any field can work as archivists, a degree in history or library science is preferable. Other useful Archivist specializations include public administration and political science.

For some specialized posts, a background in science or medicine is required. In depth knowledge of specific domain subjects may be important for work in archives that have specialized topical emphasis.

A certain degree of technical competency in methods of preservation and willingness to undertake hard physical work is also required.

As archives play vital and essential role in the well being of a modern nation state, it offers a Archivist career that is both professionally and financially rewarding. Though archival studies have so far been a rather neglected field in India, there is an increasing potential for employment growth in this area.

Recently, big groups like TATA, DCM, etc. have set up their archival units and with many Indian companies typing up with MNC’s most of whom maintain their own archives, the demand for trained archivists is bound to increase.

The National Archives of India (NAI) is the premier organized record repository in Asia with four regional repositories in Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Pondicherry.

NAI is not only responsible for keeping the non-current records of the Governments of India in safe custody but also engaged in devising suitable mechanisms to streamline the Archivist management of these records in a systematic manner.

It was set up in March 1891 at Kolkata as the Imperial Record Department and shifted to New Delhi following the transfer of the capital in 1911. In 1976, the Institute of Archival Training was established and was later renamed as the School of Archival Studies in 1980.

This school is today a premier training institute in archival studies not only for India but also for most Afro Asian countries.

School of Archival Studies,
National Archives of India,
Janpath, New Delhi 110 001,
Website :

The school offers one year Diploma Course in Archives and Records Management, which covers various discipline of archival studies viz. archives management, public records management, conservation of archives and library material, technology for archival storage and reproduction, etc.

This School also offers certificate Archivist courses in Care and Conservation of Books, Manuscripts and Archives (eight weeks) and Reprography (four weeks).

Short term certificate courses in Archives Management and Record Management and sub – professional Archivist courses in Servicing and Repair of Records are also available.

Archivist Courses & Institutes

Other Institutes / Universities offering degree and diploma in archival studies include :

PG Certificate in Archives,
Gujarat Vidyapith,
Ashram Road,
Ahmedabad - 380 014,
Website :
PG Diploma in Archives Keeping
Annamalai University,
South Arcot Vallalar Distric,
Annamalai nagar - 608 002,
Website :
PG Diploma in Archives and Documentation & Management
Gandhigram Rural Institute,
Gandhigram - 624 302.
PG Diploma in Archival Science and Manuscriptology
Osmania University,
Administrative Bldg,
Hyderabad - 500 007,
Website :
PG Diploma in Archival Studies
Pondicherry University,
R Venkataraman Nagarm Kalapet,
Pondicherry - 605 014,
Website :
BA in Archival Science
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati University,
Ajmer - 305 001.

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Career as an Archivist – National Archives of India – Institutes / Universities – Archivist Diploma / Degree Courses – Archival Units

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