I was asked to share my thoughts for today’s post on the AHA blog, “Summer Tips for Visiting Archives.” As you might expect, my thoughts were voluminous, but most of my recommendations made it into the post. I hope you’ll add anything that’s missing by posting a comment over on the AHA site. I’m glad to see them sharing this kind of content as well as recognizing that “Archivists are highly trained professionals, not just goody-retrieval machines, and should be seen and treated as partners in your research.”
A Twitter colleague observed that he thought I might get into trouble with the academics for suggesting that an archivist will be more skilled at locating information in his or her own collections than an outside researcher. Time will tell if I get castigated in the comments, but I am willing to defend the professional skills and knowledge of (most of) my colleagues. If a researcher clearly explains what s/he is looking for and the archivist is experienced and knowledgeable about the collections, I’ll give the archivist the advantage.
But, please take a look the post over on the AHA blog and share your advice for researchers there.