With all the information that organizations create while conducting their everyday business, it is no wonder that companies and other organizations require information professionals to organize their records and to ensure that records are kept in a manner to comply with legal requirements and informational requirements. The information professionals who manage records are called Records Managers. To be a good records manager you should have excellent organizational skills, be detailed oriented in writing down policies and procedures and have a good grasp of freedom of information, privacy laws and financial disclosure laws. Records managers organize records to ensure easy access later, create retention schedules based on relevant laws if applicable or on informational needs and ensure that records are retained and disposed of on schedule. You should have good communication and networking skills because you will need to be able to liaison with coworkers throughout your organization to ensure records retention and destruction compliance.
Education: Usually a Master’s of Library Science or Archival Science. May also require certification as a records manager (CRM)
Skills: Organizational skills, Legal knowledge, Good computer skills, Digitization skills and experience with Digital Asset Management systems and EDRMs (Electronic Documents and Records Managements Systems.)
Outlook: Overall employment of archivists, curators, museum technicians, and conservators is projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need to store information in archives and public interest in science, art, and history will continue to spur demand for curators, museum technicians, and conservators. Applicants should expect very strong competition for jobs. Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Interviews: Fred Grevin
Archivists are essentially professional collectors. They help preserve our heritage by preserving manuscripts and other materials from the past as well as items from the present that may eventually prove to be of historical interest. Despite the possibilities introduced by digital preservation technologies, most libraries and archives recognize that of attempting to collect the sum total of human knowledge as a futile effort. Thus, in addition to expertise in archival preservation and organization techniques, archivists must also be quite knowledgeable about the cultures and histories with which they work in order to make the often difficult decisions about what is worth holding on to. More and more modern archivists need to be comfortable with physical documents and equipment and with digital technologies such as Digital Asset Management Systems and Archival Description Software and other technologies.
Education: Master’s of Library Science with an emphasis on Archives and/or a Master’s of Archival Science. May also require a second Master’s degree in a relevant discipline.
Skills: Requires excellent research skills. Archival description, Archival preservation, may require knowledge of metadata (EAD, Dublincore etc.) may require knowledge of Digital Asset Management systems, ContentDM. Islandora, archival description software (ICAAtoM) and digital preservation techniques.
Average Salary (OOH): $21.35/hr.
Outlook (OOH): Average growth
Digital Asset Manager
Growing out of the combination of archival science and information technology, the digital asset manager (DAM) or digital archivist deals primarily with the preservation and storage of born-digital materials, and digitized copies of analog materials. While physical repositories are still alive and well, archives of born-digital and digitized materials are becoming common, ranging from small private collections to large scale initiatives like Project Gutenberg and Google Books.
The most exciting aspect of working in digital asset management is the newness of the field. While paper-based records have been around for decades, the history of their electronic equivalents spans mere decades. These technologies are constantly evolving, which means DAMs need to stay up date with technologies and materials need to be migrated to the newest file and storage formats to ensure future access. While a physical book can’t “crash” or be “erased” per se, these are legitimate concerns for information in electronic form. Thus backup copies in other locations help ensure that the data remains safe. Perhaps the biggest problem is the youth of digital: History has shown us that paper can last for hundreds of years, while digital data hasn’t existed long enough to prove similar longevity. Thus digital asset management is very much an evolving field, and those involved in it must be adaptable to new technologies and meticulous with regards to data organization and migration.
Education: Usually at least a Bachelor’s degree, sometimes a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Information Science, Library Science, or Archival Science. Corporations are more likely to ask for a Computer Science or Information Science backgrounds. Educational and heritage institutions might also specify Library or Archival Science backgrounds.
Skills: Knowledge of digital asset management and/or media asset management systems. Some examples might include Islandora, ContentDM (libraries) and Cortex or NetXposure. Knowledge of Metadata Standards. Some knowledge of programming and database technologies. Knowledge and familiarity of different file formats and their uses and characteristics. Knowledge and experience with digital capture technologies (hardware and software) for a variety of formats (depending on industry or institution)
Outlook: Digital Asset Managers do not fit cleanly into a standard occupational category, with some skills from Archives, Database Administrators, and Web Developers. Employment of this area is likely projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, due to the growing demand of managing digital content.
Interviews: Yves Maurer