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NOC Code: NOC Code: 5113 Occupation: Archivists
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Archivists manage, process, store and disseminate information contained in an organization's archives. They acquire, store and research textual material, pictures, maps, architectural documents, electronic materials, films and videos, sound recordings and multimedia materials. Archivists are employed in archives, in the public and para-public sectors and in private sector organizations. Archivists manage, process, store and disseminate information contained in an organization's archives. They acquire, store and research textual material, pictures, maps, architectural documents, electronic materials, films and videos, sound recordings and multimedia materials. Archivists are employed in archives, in the public and para-public sectors and in private sector organizations.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read notes and comments written on forms and drawings. For example, read notes written by co-workers and supervisors to learn about phone calls and inquiries. Read comments on database forms to learn about the restrictions placed on artifacts and the sources of acquisitions. (1)
  • Read notices and bulletins. For example, read notices and bulletins to learn about upcoming training sessions and changes to operating procedures such as hours of work. (2)
  • Read email from co-workers, colleagues and supervisors. For example, read email to learn about matters such as upcoming meetings and additions to collections of archival materials. (2)
  • Read articles in trade magazines to stay informed about industry trends and practices. For example, architectural archivists may read articles published by magazines such as the Canadian Architect Magazine to learn about new design trends and award-winning architects. (3)
  • Read letters from donors, historians, researchers and contractors. For example, read letters from donors and historians to learn about recently-acquired artifacts and related historical events. Read letters from researchers and conservators to learn about research projects and restoration procedures for artifacts. (3)
  • Read policy and procedure manuals and collective agreements. For example, read the organization's policy manuals to learn about dress codes and standards of practice. Read Rules of Archival Description and International Organization for Standards manuals to identify standards for documenting, metadata tagging and digitizing textual records. Archivists with supervisory responsibilities may read collective agreements to learn about the responsibilities of employers and employees and procedures to follow for grievances. (3)
  • Read professional journals and textbooks. For example, read journals such as Archivaria to learn about new archival techniques and processes and rules for archival description. Historical archivists may read old textbooks to research changes in perceptions of historical events and figures and to appraise the books' historic and informational value. They may read textbooks on canon law to learn how changes to religious practices have affected the archiving of parish registries. (4)
  • Read legislation and regulations. For example, personal records archivists may read sections of the Privacy Act to review the rules governing the privacy of photographed individuals. Historical archivists may read the Cultural Property Export and Import Act to learn about the legislation governing the export and import of cultural property. Corporate record archivists may read the Copyright Act to learn the procedures to follow when handling and displaying copyrighted materials. (4)
  • Read a variety of reports and grant applications. For example, read appraisal reports to learn about artifacts' physical descriptions, histories and creators and their evidential and informational value. Archivists who are responsible for soliciting donations and funding may read application procedures to learn about the proposal and grant requirements of funding bodies such as governments and charitable foundations. (4)
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Writing
  • Write reminders and notes to co-workers. For example, write notes to remind yourself of dates and times for upcoming meetings. (1)
  • Write instructions, descriptions and comments in forms such as processing checklists, accession records and reproduction orders. For example, write comments in accession records to explain why requests for access to artifacts were denied. Write special instructions for handling large documents when requesting the reproduction of photographs and drawings. (2)
  • Write brief email. For example, email co-workers and supervisors to discuss record transfers and the dates of upcoming meetings. (2)
  • Write grant proposals to request funding. For example, archivists with responsibilities to acquire donations and funding may write proposals to request support for special archival projects. They describe their organizations' mandates, explain the importance of their projects and outline budgets and timelines. (3)
  • Write letters to donors, colleagues and members of the general public. For example, write letters of thanks to donors of artifacts. Write letters to colleagues such as historians to request information about historical contexts and to explain cataloguing decisions. Write letters to the general public to explain artifact procurement and lending policies and to respond to questions and comments. (3)
  • Write operating and activity reports. For example, write activity reports to record information such as requests received, items loaned and the status of new acquisitions. (3)
  • Write information sheets, accession records and biographies to describe artifacts and summarize the lives of historical figures. For example, write information sheets to describe newly-acquired artifacts and outline their historical significance. Write biographical sketches of prominent citizens and public figures by recording the subjects' formative years and their accomplishments. Write accession and appraisal reports to summarize artifacts' backgrounds, physical condition, historical contexts, construction techniques and evidentiary and informational values. (4)
  • Write articles for publication in journals such as Archivaria. For example, archivists specializing in architecture may write articles to describe research which explores the influence of architectural structures on communities and societies. (4)
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Document Use
  • Locate data on labels, catalogue cards, and copyright notices. For example, scan metadata labels to identify archival processes such as the resolutions and other settings used to reproduce photographs and other images. Scan catalogue cards and copyright notices for dates, titles, identification numbers and descriptions. (1)
  • Locate data in a variety of entry forms. For example, multimedia archivists scan image reproduction forms to locate contact information, registration numbers, sizes, titles and the intended uses of archived materials. (2)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, corporate record archivists scan lists and tables to locate metatag data such as identification numbers, medias, major and minor descriptions, dates, quantities and sizes. (2)
  • Observe details in pictures and drawings. For example, date vintage photographs by observing details such as light standards, fire hydrants and the clothing worn by pedestrians. Review architectural drawings in order to identify scales, orientations, buildings, architects and drafting methods. (3)
  • Complete scheduling, assessment, permission, accession, reporting, data collection and entry forms. For example, personal records archivists use artifact collection forms to record contact information, dates, times and identification numbers. Archivists with supervisory responsibilities complete acquisition forms to describe the sorting, cleaning, preserving, labelling, recording and storing of artifacts. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use spreadsheet applications such as Excel to organize data such as hours worked and artifacts accessed and archive users served. Create spreadsheets to display and calculate amounts for operating and special project budgets. (2)
  • Use browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape to access websites and download materials such as journal articles and equipment manuals. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, use presentation software such as PowerPoint to create slide shows for tours and orientation sessions. Enter text and import graphics created in other software programs. (2)
  • Use email software such as Outlook to exchange messages with co-workers, supervisors and colleagues and to send and receive attachments such as photographs, drawings and reports. (2)
  • Use word processing applications such as Word and WordPerfect to write letters, accession records and reports. Archivists with administrative responsibilities embed tables, budgets and drawings generated in other software programs to create funding proposals. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, use metadata tags and other search aids to locate and retrieve information about historical figures and artifacts stored in databases. Query databases to determine the magnitudes of collections and to generate lists. Use databases such as iRMS and DBTextworks to input data such as identification numbers, names, dimensions, biographical data, descriptions and dates. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers and contractors. For example, talk to workers in purchasing and shipping departments to order supplies and to locate shipments. (1)
  • Discuss prices, delivery times and other matters with suppliers. For example, call consulting conservators to schedule meetings and confirm costs. Call suppliers to discuss equipment specifications and to order supplies such as acid free paper. (1)
  • Direct and instruct volunteers, helpers and other archivists. For example, explain hours of work, security procedures and job tasks to volunteers. Explain archival techniques to helpers and junior archivists. (2)
  • Give presentations and conduct tours. For example, present information about artifacts and the role of archivists to tour groups from schools. Discuss research methodologies, archival techniques and career opportunities with university students. Meet with heritage committees to explain detailed histories of artifacts and answer questions about the evidentiary and informational values of collections. (3)
  • Talk to donors about the provenance and histories of artifacts. Collect information such as artifacts' ages, origins and uses. Describe archival processes and explain that collections may be used for research and public display. Discuss copyright and legal custody agreements to ascertain the organization's entitlements. Seek donations to help defray accession costs as necessary. (3)
  • Exchange technical information with co-workers and colleagues. For example, archivists with religious organizations may consult conservators on methods for preserving records such as papal bulls showing signs of mould. Photo archivists may consult with specialists at photographic labs on methods to restore damaged negatives and conserve glass photographic plates. (3)
  • Negotiate with donors to acquire artifacts, collections, copyrights and donations. For example, negotiate with corporations to secure rights to large collections of corporate records. (3)
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Money Math
  • Receive payments and make change for services purchased by users of archives and collections. (1)
  • Calculate and approve amounts for invoices. For example, calculate photocopying fees by multiplying the numbers of prints requested by cost per print rates and adding applicable taxes. Archivists with administrative responsibilities may calculate the fees paid to contractors such as consulting conservators by multiplying hours worked by hourly rates, adding amounts for supplies and expenses and calculating applicable taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create and modify schedules to ensure the timely completion of projects involving the sorting, cleaning, preserving, labelling, recording and storing of artifacts and collections. Consider time intervals, lead times, staffing and contractors' requirements when scheduling job tasks. (3)
  • Establish and monitor operating and project budgets. For example, archivists with administrative responsibilities may forecast costs for the administration, labour, capital equipment, maintenance, supplies, utilities and contractors needed to maintain archives and collections and provide related services. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Take a variety of measurements using basic measuring tools. For example, photo archivists measure the sizes of photographs and the thicknesses of stacked images. (1)
  • Calculate material and resource requirements. For example, archivists with administrative responsibilities calculate the storage requirements for new artifacts by considering variables such as the quantities and sizes of required storage containers. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compile data and develop statistics to describe the operations of archives and collections. For example, compile data on the frequency of artifacts' usage by researchers and the numbers of public inquires answered and archive tours conducted. (2)
  • Manage small inventories of supplies. For example, reduce inventory counts when stocked supplies such as acid free file folders are used. Calculate quantities of supplies to replace those that have been used. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate numbers of artifacts in collections. For example, estimate numbers of photographs and records in stacks and boxes. (2)
  • Estimate times to restore artifacts and complete accession processes. Consider the physical condition of the artifacts, restoration processes to be used and times previously taken to complete similar work. (3)
  • Estimate the monetary value of artifacts such as paintings, photographs and historical records. Consider the rarity of artifacts, their evidentiary and informational values and the prices of similar artifacts. Consider the condition of artifacts and expected restoration costs. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Archivists generally organize and plan their own job tasks to accomplish the work assigned by supervisors and deadlines established in work plans. They generally work on one artifact at a time, but they may be required to work on multiple projects to ensure the efficient use of labour and equipment. Archivists may plan and organize the activities of volunteers, helpers and other archivists. For example, archivists with supervisory responsibilities may direct other archivists to investigate the informational and historical value of collections and individual artifacts. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Choose artifacts to include in the organization's collections. For example, archivists with administrative responsibilities consider the evidentiary and informational values of artifacts, their organizations' accession mandates, ownership rights and the availability of resources such as space, funding and specialized equipment. (2)
  • Grant individuals and organizations access to artifacts for research purposes. Consider the mandate and policies of archives and collections, the physical condition of artifacts, the potential for damage, the purposes of proposed research and the wishes of donors. (2)
  • Select accession processes for textual materials, pictures, maps, architectural documents, electronic materials, films and videos, sound recordings and multimedia materials. Consider industry practices, media types, budgets and the advice of experts such as conservators. (3)
  • Select contractors, consultants and suppliers. For example, photo archivists may select speciality photography laboratories to reproduce large-format images and storage facilities with appropriate climate control and security. Private records archivists may select specialists who have the expertise required to preserve badly damaged documents such as diaries. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Receive donations of inappropriate and unwanted artifacts. Archivists compile lists of inappropriate and unwanted materials by topic and type. They publish lists of unwanted artifacts and refuse to accept listed items. (1)
  • Researchers' requests cannot be accommodated due to shortages of space and artifacts. Set priorities for research activities and consider the importance and urgency of requests. (2)
  • Discover that artifacts are deteriorating due to temperature and humidity extremes. Archivists move artifacts such as photographs to locations where temperatures and humidity levels are within acceptable ranges. They make arrangements to have faulty equipment such as dehumidifiers and air conditioning units repaired. They return displaced artifacts to their original locations once temperatures and humidities are within acceptable ranges. (3)
  • Artifacts cannot be effectively archived due to lack of resources such as space, funding and equipment. Inform supervisors of space shortages. Seek funding from private donors, governments, foundations and your own organization. Allocate sparse resources to artifacts with the highest evidentiary and informational values. Employ firms which have the speciality equipment needed to repair damaged artifacts such as fragmented negatives. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about archival processes. For example, speak with other archivists and colleagues such as conservators to learn about special preservation and conservation processes. Locate governing principles such as 'respect des fonds' to learn how artifacts within collections are to be processed. (2)
  • Find background information on artifacts and individuals when assessing the informational and historic value of collections. Search websites, databases and catalogues operated by museums, universities and provincial and federal archives. Read bibliographies, text books and articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. Consult co-workers, supervisors and colleagues such as historians, researchers and conservators. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the performance of volunteers, co-workers and contractors. Observe job performance directly and review personnel files. Gather anecdotal information from visitors, researchers, colleagues and donors. (2)
  • Evaluate the evidentiary and informational value of artifacts. Consider the roles that artifacts played in historical events and their significance to people, organizations and society at large. Also consider criteria such as the fame of artifacts' creators and their rarity, condition and notoriety. For example, architectural archivists evaluate the evidentiary and informational value of scale model structures by considering the quality of their construction, the existence of supporting materials such as architectural drawings and the popularity of the architects who created the models. (3)
  • Judge the appropriateness of archival processes and security and safety measures. For example, archivists consider their organizations' adherence to accepted archival processes, the physical conditions of artifacts in their collections and their use of technology to improve productivity and reduce costs. Archivists with administrative responsibilities review protective measures their organizations have instituted to create safe storage environments, ensure security, prevent loss, respond to emergencies and recover from disasters. (3)
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