Hillel Arnold (Rockefeller Archive Center) has shared the text of his talk, “Critical Work: Archivists as Maintainers,” given at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) earlier this month. In it, Arnold considers archivists’ “invisibility problem” alongside recent work in maintenance theory to respond to “the imbalance of prestige, power and money that favors innovators,” an issue relevant to the digital humanities’ concerns around institutional and personal sustainability.
What that ultimately means is that we treat archivists differently based on the work that they do. “Digital archivists” like me get special privileges: more professional development money, faster promotion, better salaries.15 Meanwhile temporary, part-time and paraprofessional staff do the work that keeps archives running: moving boxes around, processing collections and doing data entry.16
Arnold’s talk also links to a Zotero library of further readings on the topic.