|The author. Image digitally altered to include glasses.|
Professional archivists and librarians generally hold the same degree - the Masters of Library Science (or Information Science, as the trend is these days). We both organize, care for, describe, and provide access to intellectual materials. One divergence is how those materials take form. Whereas libraries deal primarily in books, which exist in many copies, archives deal in collections of unique documents which can come in widely differing formats. As a library art cataloger in my last job, I dealt with three formats of material: prints, photographs, and drawings. At the Archives of American Art I have cataloged all of the above plus a myriad of other materials ranging from audio recordings to diaries to one pair of rubber underpants.
|Rubber underpants, between 1949 and 1966? |
Emily Genauer papers, Archives of American Art,
Three years into my time in the archival world, I feel like much less of a librarian interloper, even if I do still think that "fonds" sounds more like a character from Happy Days than a body of records. Perhaps I might even suggest a title change to Archibrarian. Librarchivist? Oh, maybe I'll hold on to Librarian just so I don't have to confuse people at parties. But in the meantime, I'll be celebrating Archives Month with the best of them.
Bettina Smith, Digital Projects Librarian
Archives of American Art