Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Original Definition Of An Archivist

Archivists come in many different shapes, colors and creeds. Pictured here are five pioneering ladies who worked at The Randolph Branch in the Memphis Public Library System and were trailblazers in securing important documents and public records for the City Of Memphis. (L-R) Mrs. Sharpe, Mrs. Goldsen, Mrs. Doretha Rauls, Mrs. Grant and Mrs. Wade.

Have you noticed how nowadays some folks seem to align themselves with their new self-appointed title of being, 'an archivist.' It's like they just woke-up and decided it was fitting for them. Huh! I'm sorry to say but we're not buying-in to your terminology. It sounds to me like someone's inflated ego has a distorted view of the official definition of this noble profession. No offense Mr. hobbyist but nice try. Drawing a parallel between a collector of relics and a career profession is a bit of a stretch. Significantly, people don't just suddenly anointed themselves with the unearned title such as being a chemist, a biologist, veterinarian, or as the case here, being an actual archivist. Those professions are very specific career distinctions and vocations that are earned through either an educational degrees or dedicated career assignments. What I'm saying here is the actual meaning of this dignified profession has suddenly taken on a new definition by people on Facebook who are trying to attach this definition to their namesake. This has become like a fad on social media by people overstating their glorified hobbies such as collecting the likes of old concert posters, ticket stubs, t-shirts, photos and backstage passes. As impressive as anyone's assortment of collectables might be, or might not be, titles of that prominence are not self-imposed by the collector. Truth is, they are earned and distinguished in time by recognition from one's peers.

Supported by the fact that I grew-up in a modest household and raised by a mom who had a college degree and was a career librarian, that distinction has authenticated my understanding of the profession. By all accounts, my internship into this vocation came from actually living under the same roof with a librarian for over 20+ years. Believe me, I learned at a very early age the importance of preservation of all documentation plus the value of always returning an item back to it's original place.

Back in April of 2005, before some folks were not even online - much less knew what a blog was, that's when The Photolog launched it's first posting. By the way and just in case you didn't know, that was several years before Facebook mind you. At that time we rolled-up our sleeves and went-out on a limb while displaying our very own collection of photographs combined with our authentic first person stories. Since that time we've been making monthly increments on our blog while always displaying original material. Fact is, we were posting reference quality archives and doing Throwback Thursdays photos along with posting of our own Selfies - long before they became overly redundant on Facebook. Not slapping ourselves on our own back here, but here we are in April, 2014, and now we've grown to the ripe old age of 9 years old this month. Hope you don't mind us saying but Happy Birthday to The Photolog. Got track record?   
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