Friday, April 12, 2013

Historian vs. Archivist

As some of you may know, I am working on my Master's of Science in Information Science from the University at Albany, SUNY. (Information Science used to be called "Library Science" not too long ago.) My focus is on Archives & Records Management & I am currently interning at the NYS Archives in Albany.  & thinking about what to blog about today, I realized that many of you may not know what an archivist does. You may not even know what an historian does.

So, I did what most of us do in this day & age, I "googled" it.

The definition of an historian: a student, writer, chronicler of history

The definition of an archivist: one who is in charge of an archives & its collection

Didn't we learn in grade school not to define a word by using the word? These definitions are vague & flawed, but I think you get the idea. An archivist cares for, describes & preserves records, documents for posterity. An historian uses those documents as evidence to prove, or disprove, the point of their writing.

As a public historian, I am not supposed to amass a collection* of documents pertaining to Greenwich history. I am supposed to look at those records, read, study, synthesize, then write & talk about Greenwich history. This blog is one attempt at that.

Recently, I received a package of documents pertaining to the United Presbyterian Church of East Greenwich. Mostly they are bits of ephemera that, singly, may not amount to much, but as a whole could be useful to someone studying local churches or local businesses. I plan on transferring the documents to the Gill Room so that they can be accessible to researchers. Here is a taste...

Documents relating to the UP Church of East Greenwich

*Many of my colleagues do because there may not be a suitable repository available.

No comments:

Post a Comment