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n. ~ 1. An individual responsible for appraising, acquiring, arranging, describing, preserving, and providing access to records of enduring value, according to the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control to protect the materials' authenticity and context. - 2. An individual with responsibility for management and oversight of an archival repository or of records of enduring value.


An archivist's work with records of enduring value may be at any stage in the records life cycle, from creation onward. In the United States, archivists are typically associated with collections of inactive records. However, the European tradition includes management of active records as well, which in the United States is often the responsibility of a separate records manager. In the United States, archivists may be called manuscript curators, especially if they are responsible for collecting and administering collections of historical records acquired from individuals, families, or other organizations.

In some organizations, an archivist may be responsible for management of active, inactive, and archival records. In other organizations, an archivist may be responsible only for those records transferred to the archives. In a large repository, a practicing archivist may specialize in only one or a few archival functions noted above. A teaching archivist may not be currently responsible for collections but is familiar with the theory and practice of archival functions.

A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology