January 25, 2022

NY Times: Leaving Cloister of Dusty Offices, Young Archivists Meet Like Minds (Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York)

From The NY Times:

Meet New York City’s archivists.

Archivists are the specialists who snatch objects from oblivion. They have long spent their careers cloistered, like the objects they protected. But now many of these professionals are stepping out. A main reason is the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York. The group, which recently surpassed 500 members, holds monthly events that draw a young, well-dressed crowd, hungry for chances to network, train and socialize. Members not only work at libraries, where archives have long resided, but also at such organizations as the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Junior League, the Episcopal Church, the Philharmonic, the Stock Exchange and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


“You say you’re an archivist, and no one knows what you do,” said Rachel Chatalbash,the Round Table’s current president. Recently named senior archivist at the Yale Center for British Art, she previously worked at the Guggenheim Museum.

Strictly speaking, archivists should not be confused with librarians, who generally manage collections meant to be handled freely; with record managers, who keep track of items created in the course of business; or with conservationists, who restore and preserve old objects.


As digitizing coaxes more of these bits of history out of the shadows, Ms. Chatalbash does not seem worried that her profession will become obsolete. Digital copies may abound, but archivists will still be in control of the magic thing itself. Or as she said confidently, “I will have the original.”

Read the Complete Article

Update (May 3): Letter to the Editor, Digital, Not Dusty: The Archivist’s Tale”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.