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Who knows what the future brings?

July 20, 2012

The theme of the next Twitter chat (30 July, 8-9pm) comes courtesy of Fabiana and Craig, so thank you to you both.

Fabiana will introduce it as follows…

“Which professional out there does not wonder how the profession is going to cope with the challenges of our time? The rapid advance of technology, the shift from paper to electronic records, financial constraints, focus on delivery and engagement with a wider audience; all these are the reality knocking at the door, in addition to an increasing backlog of work! With the clock ticking, the Archives and Records Association has decided to promote a debate called ‘Progression: the way forward for the sector’ in the upcoming conference on 31st August in Brighton. Amongst the guests are Annie Mauger, Geoff Pick, Oliver Morley and Piers Cain, as well as me in my capacity as Chair of the newest addition to the ARA groups, the Section for New Professionals.

In this context, new professionals is taken to mean; trainees and volunteers gaining pre-course experience, students attending one of the accredited courses and newly qualified archivists, records managers and conservators. For this generation of professionals the immediate future is only the beginning of their careers. For them, the future is a very long road ahead and it starts now. How can we predict, with these rapid changes, the world in which our institutions are going to operate in 20 years time? Is the way the profession operates sustainable for the long term? How do professionals perceive themselves and where are their careers taking them? With these questions in mind I challenge the Cardigan Continuum group to a healthy discussion or a ‘fierce debate’ over Twitter.”

Clearly the future of the sector is a fairly big topic, so we will be focussing it down by concentrating on advice for, and the expectations of, new professionals. The following readings and questions have therefore been suggested by Craig and Fabiana.


My Unsolicited Advice

Honest Tips for Wannabe Archivists Out There

The Modern Archivist: Working with People and Technology


  1. Do archivists really prefer not to deal with people or is this a redundant professional stereotype?
  2. What new skills and/or expectations, should archivists have in their careers?
  3. Is being pro-active, dynamic and flexible a core aspect of being professional nowadays?
  4. What sort of differences in expectations arise across different national contexts and what can we learn from them? (N.B. Two of the above readings are from an American context and one from a UK context)
  5. What advice would you give to anyone entering the profession?

Finally then, thanks again to Fabiana and Craig, and a quick reminder that, because of the Olympics, there will be no face to face meeting at the beginning of August.

One Comment
  1. Following last night’s interesting Twitter chat, I’d like to suggest this as a reading for a future face-to-face meeting.

    E Yakel & D A Torres (2003) “AI: Archival Intelligence and User Expertise”. American Archivist 66(1).

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