Some people like to live dangerously. They’ll look you in the eye and eat spaghetti (extra sauce) while wearing all white. They’ll go to Seattle in springtime sans a raincoat or umbrella. And they’ll count on a service like Google Drive or Dropbox to store their company’s archives.

Look, we’re all for living life on the edge. But there’s one thing you should simply never mess with, and that’s entrusting your company’s heritage and history assets to anyone but a professional (human) archivist.

Archivists are more than someone to take your company’s documents and artifacts from point A to point B and ensure they’re not stolen or spilled on. They’re information scientists who are passionate about the business of preserving, organizing and accessing incredibly valuable pieces of history. (How cool is that?)

When it comes to preserving and accessing your company’s most invaluable pieces of history and information, trust us: You want these pros on your side.

Your Company Archives are Safer and Easier to Access

One thing that might surprise you about archivists is they’re actually scientists. To become a certified archivist through professional associations like the Academy of Certified Archivists, they have to know the ins and outs of library and information science, as well as preservation science.

Becoming an expert in these sciences is the result of years of experience, research, training and testing. In the end, a professional archivist will:

  • Demonstrate how to organize information logically so that it can be found using controlled vocabularies and standardized processes.
  • Understand how various formats of materials deteriorate and the right interventions to slow that process as much as possible.

This specialized knowledge is specifically important for companies that care about keeping their physical archives safe, as well as their digital and physical archives easy to find and use.

Can you say that about your company’s server or cloud storage?

Archivists Use Powers Like Metadata to Make Your Archives Easy to Use

Think about how many different words there are for soda. Coke, pop, cola, soft drink, you name it. Now try applying one to a search engine and see if you get exactly what you’re looking for. The same theory applies to archives that aren’t organized with metadata. And that’s why having an archivist at the helm can be a game-changer. They’re fluent in metadata.

Simply put, metadata is the data behind your data. Driven by a list of standardized words and phrases (called a controlled vocabulary), an archivist plugs in metadata with every piece of information collected in an archives. Some examples of basic metadata can include author, date range and file size.

So when you go to search for something, even if you enter a word or term completely different from your coworker who’s looking for the same thing, you’re both able to find what you’re looking for.

When your company works with a professional archivist, you won’t have to worry if your artifacts will be easy to find, let alone use. Their system is a well-oiled machine that you benefit from by finding exactly what you seek. And, if you happen to win the lottery tomorrow and retire to the Bahamas, the same system will be in place for anyone who comes after you — no knowledge is lost.

Archivists Protect Your Information From Theft, Manipulation, and Loss

Unfortunately, a lot could go wrong with an archives that isn’t protected by a professional .

Google Drive and Dropbox may be password protected, but that doesn’t mean someone with malicious intent couldn’t edit or delete certain files. And sometimes accidents happen!

With your artifacts in the hands of an archivist held to the highest of ethical standards, you never have to worry about certain documents losing their integrity. You won’t have to sweat it when Dropbox has a data breach. And you don’t have to worry about losing your files to the digital black hole, never to be found again.

Archivists Save Your Company Money and Time

Have you ever experienced a data breach or simply couldn’t get your hands on that annual report from 2001? When you don’t have an archivist on your side, these things can cost you, either in time or hefty fees trying to retrieve your information (if you can get it back at all).

Budgeting for an archivist is a lot more economical than unexpectedly shelling out a hefty ransom at the end of Q4.

Paying for a professional archivist is like having insurance for your company’s most valuable, timeless pieces of information. Not only do you get peace of mind, but you won’t have to shell out an unimaginable amount of money to get something back you might have lost. It’s your archivist’s responsibility to handle it all.

And time is money. The longer it takes you to find an asset, the less time you have to work on anything else. An archivist’s job is to make your assets easy to find, fast.

Archivists Enhance the Value of Your Company’s Already Rich Assets

Your archives weren’t meant to just sit on a shelf in a climate-controlled building, never to be touched again. Instead, they were meant to be used in your next anniversary celebration, referenced during next quarter’s board meeting, and leveraged as the inspiration for your next ad campaign.

Your archives should exist to add value to your company’s already rich heritage. An archivist can help you find the golden nuggets, the forgotten relics, and the truth-revealing documents that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get your hands on.

You simply can’t reap the benefits with your archives sitting in an unorganized Dropbox file/random file cabinet/your boss’s hard drive.

So leave your daredevil spirit for umbrella-less walks around Seattle and all-white-outfit spaghetti dinners. But do the smart thing: Put your company’s archives in the hands of a pro. Don’t worry, you’ll still be a rebel … just a wise one.

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