NY Times article: Digital Archivists in Demand

Readers of the blog may be interested in the article Digital Archivists in Demand which appeared in the Fresh Starts column of business section of the New York Times on Saturday in both print and online editions. This is a monthly column covering emerging jobs and job trends.

The piece focusses on careers for digital asset managers, digital archivists and digital preservation officers and how demand for them is expanding. It features Jacob Nadal, the preservation officer at the University of California, Los Angeles and Victoria McCargar, a preservation consultant in Los Angeles and a lecturer at U.C.L.A. and San José State University.

Vicky McCargar estimates that 20,000 people work in the field today — plus others in related areas — and she expects that to triple over the next decade, assuming that economic conditions stabilise before long.

US rates of pay for Digital Archivists are also cited in the article. Digital asset managers at public facilities would do well to make $70,000 a year. Salaries for their corporate counterparts are generally higher. Consultants who can make recommendations on systems can make $150 an hour.Those who manage them in the commercial sector once they’re up and running make from the $70,000’s up to $100,000 a year.

Despite the higher pay in the corporate world Jacob Nadal outlines the case for working in the public sector: “Public-sector institutions just strike me as far, far cooler. They have better collections, obviously, and they are innovative, connected and challenging in ways that seem more substantial to me.”

It is good to see that mainstream newspapers are beginning to see digital archiving as an emerging career path. I have given short seminars on digital preservation and curation to students on the Information Studies courses at UCL over the last couple of years. I always emphasis to them that not only is it intellectually challenging field but a very good career option for those with a traditional archive or library training and an interest in electronic information.

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