n.an individual responsible for electronic archival resourcesKim, Dong, and Durden 2006, 103If possible, digital archivists should gather essential information about the record creator’s digital working environment, which includes operating systems, applications, personal file organization scheme, file-naming method, and so forth.Cothey 2010, 208The aspiration of the programme is that archival practice relating to digital deposits, that is digital curation, becomes integral to an archivist’s professional skills and is not confined to a narrow sub-specialism of ‘digital archivist’.Mumma, Dingwall, and Bigelow 2011, 102One of these computers is used as a server, two are clients used by digital archivists to manage the ingest workflow, and one is used for duplication tasks.Lee and Tibbo 2011, 160Educational grounding and practical experience in applying traditional archival concepts are fundamental elements of this equation, but there is also a need for the digital archivist to proficiently navigate (and often actively channel) new technological waters.Galloway 2011, 191As the concerns of digital archivists have shifted from conversion and standardization to bitstream preservation and emulation, none of these requirements for capture have changed; the demands of preservation, however, have become more stringent.Radick 2013a, 128Although it is clear that a digital archivist uses technology to preserve and provide access to archival material, the responsibilities of digital archivists differ.Keathley 2014, 41While the arrangement, description, preservation, access, and, above all, findability of information has fell [sic] to librarians in the twentieth century, DAM professionals would do well to keep the term “digital asset managers” and not call themselves “librarians” or “archivists.” While the jobs are very much the same, and my background in library science gave me an excellent grounding in the techniques and processes that help in the understanding and implementation of a DAM, labeling the job as “digital librarian” or “digital archivist” may be the path to low earning potential over a lifetime.Bak 2016, 285This article represents my attempt, as a digital archivist at LAC during the 2000s, now as a professor of archival studies at the University of Manitoba, to make sense of the perplexing shift in Canadian digital archival thinking that coincided with the transformation of computer technologies from large, complex, and comparatively expensive mini- and mainframe computers to relatively cheap, user-friendly, and increasingly ubiquitous desktop machines.Bak 2016, 302If, as Catherine Bailey had claimed back in Archivaria 29 (1989), there is “no difference between paper and electronic records” in terms of archival theory, then any archivist could be a theorizer of digital archiving. This clearing of rhetorical space and reorienting of debate around electronic records had positive and negative effects. Perhaps its most positive effect was to broaden out the debate and to empower all archivists to take up the digital challenge. The electronic records survey that ACA conducted in the early 1990s demonstrated that Canadian archivists recognized the urgency and importance of digital archiving. Removing the need for experience with digital archives as a prerequisite to entering the debate meant that anyone could become a digital archivist: an empowering proposition. The negative effect, however, was to devalue and dilute the knowledge and experience that contemporary digital archivists, some veterans of MRA units, though others not, had gained through decades of professional work.
The work of a digital archivist may include appraisal, acquisition, description, preservation, and access. Archival theory prioritizes records content and provenance over format.