Archives and Manuscripts Week 13

This week for class we look at leadership in the profession and how it can guide the field moving forward.

One of the main readings was George Maritz ‘s “Leadership Skills for Archivists,” published in American Archivist. This was an important work since it included insights for other archivists across various aspects of the field. The goal of the essay was a call to archivists to better their leadership skills since if they do not “assume a substantive leadership role, they will be led by others” (102). Thus archivist must look to be collaborative, responsible, and creative in order to take charge and not be left behind. Indeed, Martiz and the other archivists declared that by taking on better leadership roles, they can be better advocates of themselves and the field as a whole (107). One way to focus on this was to work on user needs and accountability in order to open up the archives and make it more important to the wider community. The essay finished will a call for archivist to have vision and courage moving forward, which highlights the need for change and advancement in the field. This is an important work because it highlights the need for archivists to better engage with the public as a means of making the archives relevent to the community. This could be seen clearly in a some current archives in the news, namely in an article in the New York Times on Royal Archives in Windsor Castle, which as a long history of being difficult to research at and extremely averse to letting material be used in a negative light against the monarchy. This article highlights the need for archives to continue to evolve and open up the public more so that they remain useful.

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