Delivering Archival Results

Margot Note

Margot Note

September 11, 2023

Archivists prioritize projects and operational duties to ensure the effective management, preservation, and accessibility of historical records and artifacts. 

Projects allow archivists to engage in specialized initiatives such as digitization efforts, arrangement and description projects, and outreach activities that enhance the accessibility of archival materials to broader audiences. These projects enable archivists to modernize their collections, improve metadata, and implement innovative technologies that aid preservation and discovery. 

On the other hand, operational duties are equally crucial as they involve the day-to-day tasks necessary for maintaining archival integrity. These duties encompass cataloging, storage maintenance, reference services, and quality control, all of which contribute to the long-term sustainability of archives. By balancing projects and operational duties, archivists can ensure their collections’ comprehensive care while promoting engagement with the valuable historical resources they steward.

Archivists’ responsibility extends beyond preserving and managing records; they often engage in various projects to enhance their archival services and ensure the seamless accessibility of historical and cultural treasures. To succeed in these projects, archivists must adopt essential skills to help them deliver results on time and on budget. Archivists can implement these insights to ensure the success of their projects.

A Future Vision 

One of the fundamental aspects of successful project management is to define clear and achievable goals. Archivists may undertake projects such as digitization initiatives, collection processing, or developing new access tools. To ensure the success of these projects, they must define their objectives and outcomes. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals provides a roadmap for the team and stakeholders.

A well-structured plan is the backbone of effective project management. It outlines the tasks, timelines, resources, and responsibilities required to achieve objectives. Archivists should create a detailed project plan that includes milestones and deliverables, and a risk management strategy. This plan allows us to track progress, identify potential roadblocks, and make informed decisions to keep the project moving forward.

Engaging Stakeholders 

Engaging stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle is vital to archival success. In planning and decision-making, archivists should involve all relevant parties, including colleagues, donors, researchers, and community members. By understanding their needs and expectations, archivists can tailor their projects to deliver the best outcomes. Additionally, building a collaborative and cohesive project team is crucial. Archivists often work with diverse professionals. They create a positive project environment that encourages creativity and teamwork by fostering open communication, trust, and a shared sense of purpose.

Transparent communication is the lifeblood of any successful project. Archivists should communicate clearly with all stakeholders, informing them about project updates, achievements, and challenges. Effective communication fosters a sense of trust and accountability, ensuring that everyone involved is aligned with the project’s objectives.

Monitoring and Learning

Monitoring progress is essential to identify potential issues early and implement necessary adjustments. Archivists should regularly review the project against its plan, ensuring milestones are met and resources are utilized efficiently. They can proactively respond to changing circumstances by monitoring potential risks and challenges and prevent minor setbacks from becoming significant roadblocks.

Every project provides valuable lessons for future endeavors. Archivists should take the time to evaluate completed projects critically. Identify areas of success and those needing improvement, and document the lessons learned. These insights can inform future project planning and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of subsequent initiatives.

Excelling in Projects

By setting goals, developing plans, engaging stakeholders, monitoring progress, communicating effectively, and learning from experiences, archivists can deliver successful projects that enhance access to historical records, preserve cultural heritage, and advance the field of archiving. As they embrace these project management skills, archivists ensure that their endeavors continue to impact society significantly. 

Margot Note

Margot Note

Margot Note, archivist, consultant, and Lucidea Press author is a regular blogger, and popular webinar presenter for Lucidea, provider of ArchivEra, archival collections management software for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. Read more of Margot’s posts here.

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