Whether one is dealing with medieval manuscripts, the recordings of a television broadcast, the notarial documents relating to the purchase of a house, etc. – an archivist is a kind of “keeper of memory”. Thanks to the use of electronic data processing, today’s archivists are able to save a lot of time, and less space is required than previously.
An archivist’s job is to compile documents for his or her client, examine them, file them, and restore them or pass them along. The days of dusty mounds of paper are over, as the technologies and the storage media (e.g., microfilm, digital registries, IT databases) used by archivists has changed dramatically. This puts more time at the archivist’s disposal and also means that less space is needed to do the job.
Archivists often work in the employ of the state, especially below the national level (at the level of region, department, commune, etc.). In many circumstances, an applicant receives the job after making a bid for it, or one may also work for a large corporation that wishes to preserve traces of its past and develop its cultural legacy. In some companies, the job merely involves the handling a large number of documents generated by the company and which need to be kept secure. This is becoming an increasingly attractive profession in Luxembourg, especially in the banking and finance sectors.
If one wants to study to become an archivist, the required training is available in Germany or in France. No educational institution in Luxembourg offers a programme in this field. One might also study history, for example, and then after one to two years, receive a master’s degree as an archivist or work towards a doctorate.