Museum Management logoWorking within the context of the NPS Museum Management Program, archivists oversee all aspects of the management of archival and manuscript collections, including documentation, preservation, and use of these collections.

Following is a list of the competencies and the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform in this particular discipline at the Entry, Developmental, and Full Performance levels. The definitions are then followed by a list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be effective at each level. The competencies and KSAs of the previous level(s) are also required at the next higher level.

Archivist (GS-2420), Archives Technician (GS-1421)

Preservation Law, Philosophy and Practice
Entry Level
Description: Typically, at this level, the archivist or archives technician is involved with front-line collections care and documentation in a park or center, including environmental monitoring, rehousing, and processing of collections. The work of entry level archival staff will be directed by a professional archivist or curator at a higher grade level.

    Assists curator or archivist and other NPS staff in management of cultural and natural resources.

    Knowledge of the mission and objectives of the NPS.

    Basic knowledge of historic preservation history and philosophy.

    Basic knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource management policies and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.


Developmental Level
Description: At this level, the archival staff will oversee all archival and manuscript collections documentation and preservation activities, under the direction of an archivist or a curator at a higher grade level. Developmental Level archivists and archives technicians are required to have broad training and/or experience since they will likely be called upon to deal with a variety of issues outside of their primary responsibilities.

    Assists in management of cultural and natural resources.

    Working knowledge of historic preservation law, history, and philosophy.

    Extensive knowledge of American material culture, American history, or natural history.


Full Performance Level
Description: At the full performance level, the archivists will be the staff experts. Typically, they will oversee the surveying, appraisal, description, arrangement, indexing, acquisition, registration, cataloging, use, and preservation of archival and manuscript collections. In addition, they may have program management responsibilities. Generally, these positions will be found in parks or centers with large archival collections or may serve several smaller parks.

    Assists park staff and management in the management of cultural and natural resources. Provides curator with evaluation of impacts of collections management solutions on other resources.

    Thorough knowledge of historic preservation law, history and philosophy.

    Thorough knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource management policies and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

Inventory and Research
Entry Level
      A. Collections Development

      Assists curator or archivist in acquiring and surveying archival materials associated with park projects, historically associated with the site, or in support of the park’s mission.

      Ability to identify and evaluate archival materials necessary for fulfillment of park’s mission.

      Ability to assist in writing the archival collections section of the Scope of Collection Statement.

      B. Collections Use

      Assists researchers in accessing archival collections.

      Sound knowledge of archival reference techniques and tools.

      Ability to produce finding aids and other access tools to aid researchers.

      Working knowledge of legislation and NPS policies relating to access to archival collections, including copyright, privacy/publicity, obscenity, slander/libel), and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

      Ability to provide courteous and useful reference service while following the park or center reference standards, security procedures, duplication and publication permission policies, and collection restrictions.

      C. Research

      Conducts research into history and provenance of collections.

      Knowledge of research tools and methods for archives and library management.

      Basic knowledge of research tools and methods for American history, cultural or natural resource collections, including those based in the laboratory, the archival and library collections, and on the World Wide Web.

      D. Collections Documentation

      Evaluates, surveys, accessions, arranges, describes, and catalogs archival collections. Produces finding aids to collections.

      Knowledge of archival survey, appraisal, accessioning, arrangement, rehousing, description, and usage documentation principles, procedures, and practices.

      Knowledge of survey and inventory and other collections accountability principles and techniques.

      Knowledge of NPS museum documentation and computerized cataloging and other archival and museum recordkeeping systems and techniques.

      E. Computer Skills

      Records, manipulates, and analyzes data utilizing standardized technologies and data elements, style manuals, and authority files with the help of personal computers, database management systems, and collections documentation systems.

      Skill in operation of personal computers, database management systems, CD-ROMs, and electronic communications including the Internet.

      Extensive knowledge of NPS documentation systems, including ANCS+ and other records management systems.

      Basic knowledge of professional archival data content, data value, and system standards for automated description of archival collections, including the Machine Readable Catalog Standard (MARC); the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) for finding aids; Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts (APPM) as a style manual; and other standards endorsed by the Society of American Archivists.

      Knowledge of how to preserve, protect, reformat, and document electronic records and information systems.


Developmental Level
    A. Collection Development

      Assists in acquiring and surveying collections associated with park projects, historically associated with the site, or in support of the park’s mission.

      Ability to identify and evaluate records collections for transfer to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as well as manuscript and archival collections necessary for fulfillment of park’s mission.

      Ability to write archival collections section of the Scope of Collection Statement based upon thorough knowledge of resources and needs of the park.

      Ability to evaluate archival collections to determine weaknesses and strengths and to plan a strategy for acquisitions or cooperative collections development to eliminate weaknesses.

      Ability to arrange and describe archival and manuscript collections according to professional practices and standards and NPS policies and procedures.

    B. Collections Use

      Assists researchers to access and use collections.

      Thorough knowledge of reference techniques and tools including NPS policies and procedures for access and use (including personal research, online databases and the Internet resources, and discipline-specific research methodologies for reference purposes.

      Ability to produce a comprehensive system of finding aids and other access tools to aid researchers.

      Working knowledge of current trends and technologies for providing access to researchers, including Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC); Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts (APPM) cataloging; Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aid production.

      Extensive knowledge of legal and ethical issues relating to providing access to archival collections.

    C. Research

      Conducts or coordinates research into archival collections, including evaluation, appraisal, history, and provenance of collections.

      Thorough knowledge of research tools and methods including bibliographies, citation indices, abstracting services, databases, directories, search engines, and research methodologies for the documentation of the park archival collections.

      Working knowledge of park history and resources. Specialized knowledge of subject matter of archival collections in park collections.

      Ability to research, identify, and date various physical formats, media, and processes of archival materials.

    D. Collections Documentation

      Conducts or oversees accessioning, processing, cataloging, finding aid production, and legal and other documentation of archival collections.

      Working knowledge of archival arrangement and description principles, practices, and procedures.

      Working knowledge of archival survey techniques and procedures.

      Ability to produce archival finding aids.

      Thorough knowledge of full range of museum and archival descriptive practices and procedures, including appraisal, surveying, finding aid production, arrangement, abstraction, indexing, registration, cataloging, loans, and inventory.

      Good working knowledge of professional descriptive standards for documentation of collections.

      Ability to develop scopes of work for arrangement, description, surveying, finding aid production, cataloging, and other documentation activities.

      Advanced knowledge of computerized cataloging and other archival and museum recordkeeping systems and techniques for description, arrangement planning, usage tracking, and preservation.

    E. Computer Skills

      Manages collections databases and other computer records.

      Ability to write archival scope of work statements and standard operating procedures for computer programmers and systems analysts.

      Advanced computer skills, including the use of database management systems and NPS collections documentation systems.

      Ability to manipulate data, design and produce access systems that can be migrated, produce applications for analysis of monitoring data, and migrate data.

      Thorough knowledge of professional archival and museum standards for automation, description, data exchange including data content standards (e.g., MARC), data value standards (e.g., APPM and EAD), system standards, and Internet multimedia document linking standards (e.g., HTML, SGML, UNIX, editing).

      Knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource computerized inventories and documentation programs.

      Knowledge of how to preserve, protect, reformat, migrate, and document electronic records and archival information systems.


Full Performance Level
A. Collection Development

    Locates, surveys, researches, analyzes, negotiates with donors, and acquires archival collections within scope of collections.

    Ability to identify and evaluate archival and manuscript collections necessary for fulfillment of park’s mission.

    Ability to write and edit the archival section of the Scope of Collection Statement based upon thorough knowledge of resources and needs of the park.

    Ability to analyze the archival collection, identify needs, and develop strategies for acquisition of needed materials.

    Ability to develop a cooperative documentation strategy with other archives, libraries, and museums.

    Ability to negotiate with potential donors and other sources of archival collections.

    Ability to analyze and manage all legal constraints on new acquisitions, particularly copyright issues; lack of release forms from interviewees/photographic subjects, and other documented individuals; privacy/ publicity law; donor restrictions; slander/libel/ obscenity concerns; and cultural/ethical concerns.

B. Collections Use

    As staff expert, evaluates reference requests for the appropriate type and level of assistance. Provides specialized reference service and research to local and long-distance scholars and staff. Manages intellectual property rights and granting of permissions for publication.

    Works with regional, cluster, and national Public Affairs officers to meet Freedom of Information Act requests.

    Ability to produce a comprehensive system of access to all archival collections to aid researchers.

    Comprehensive knowledge of current trends and technologies for providing access to researchers.

    Full professional knowledge of policy and legal issues regarding use of archival collections, including reproduction issues (e.g., fees, licensing, publication permissions), intellectual property rights concerns (e.g., copyright, publicity/privacy rights, Freedom of Information Act), ethical issues (e.g., donor restrictions), and cultural issues (e.g., no informed consent during documentation, issues of sacred materials), and preservation management issues.

    Mastery of professional discipline-related research methodologies, publication, and exhibition standards, and outreach methods to attract scholars and meet reference needs.

    Mastery of the reference interview and service process over the phone, fax, the Internet, and in person.

C. Research

    Conducts or directs research into archival collections, including evaluation, appraisal, history, physical processes and formats, and provenance of collections.

    Mastery of primary, secondary, tertiary, and automated research tools and methods for the documentation, research, publication, authentication, attribution, appraisal, dating, process and format identification, and preservation of archival and manuscript collections.

    Ability to synthesize sometimes conflicting information from a complex variety of historical evidence.

    Ability to determine the need for research of archival collections.

    Mastery of the site history.

D. Collections Documentation

    Oversees all documentation of collections, including accessioning, cataloging, and legal and other documentation.

    Mastery of professional archival standards and practices for accessioning, arrangement, and cataloging in ANCS+ Archives Subsystem, and finding aid production.

    Ability to develop a park-wide archival collections documentation program and processing plan.

    Ability to develop loan, reformatting, quality control, and preservation documentation and tracking procedures and systems in accordance with ANCS+.

    Ability to develop a park-wide archival collections survey, analysis, monitoring, and management program.

    Demonstrated ability to plan and conduct complex analyses of, and resolve complex problems related to museum documentation and records management, assuring appropriate coordination, input, and review.

    Current knowledge of professional standards and techniques for archival collections and information management of archival collections.

E. Computer Skills

    As staff expert, directs the analysis, appraisal, manipulation, and preservation of non-current electronic data.

    Thorough knowledge of professional archival data content and value standards and system standards.

    Advanced skills in managing the development and operation of large information management systems, a thorough knowledge and skills in hardware operating systems and the principles of automated database management systems and applications for use in NPS collections management.

    Extensive working knowledge of NPS cultural and natural resource management databases.

    Knowledge of professional archival standards and practices for preservation, protection, reformatting, and documentation of electronic records.

    Ability to create Internet sites and World Wide Web home pages including managing digitization contracts, writing scopes of work, and doing hypertext mark-up of documents.

Preservation, Treatment, and Maintenance
Entry Level
    Assists curator or archivist in preservation and protection of archival collection, including housekeeping, storage, and monitoring.

    Knowledge of archival collections preservation principles and techniques. (e.g., basic archival collection storage techniques, supplies and equipment, agents of deterioration, disaster prevention and recovery, handling techniques, reformatting techniques, and standard operating procedures for managing audio-visual, electronic, and textual records).

    Knowledge of environmental and pest monitoring principles and techniques.

    Knowledge of archival collections protection practices and procedures.

    Ability to create and implement standard operating procedures for archival collection storage, protection, housekeeping, and disaster prevention and recovery.


Developmental Level
    Assists curator in preservation and protection of archival collections, serving as primary specialist in this area.

    Thorough knowledge of collections preservation principles and techniques (e.g., creating permanent records, agents of deterioration, housekeeping techniques, stabilization, disaster prevention and recovery, reformatting techniques, quality control, and migration techniques and environmental requirements).

    Ability to apply knowledge of collections preservation principles and techniques to a wide variety of situations.

    Ability to develop environmental and pest monitoring plans and analyze resulting data.

    Thorough knowledge of archival collection storage and handling techniques and practices.

    Thorough knowledge of archival protection systems, procedures, and practices.

    Ability to recognize archival collections needing conservation treatment and to recommend and refer treatment to appropriate facility, and to inspect and evaluate the resulting treatment for adequacy.


Full Performance Level
    Oversees all archival preservation and protection activities.

    Mastery of professional standards and methodologies for archival preservation.

    Ability to develop and implement a comprehensive archival collection storage plan.

    Ability to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for the long-term preservation, reformatting or treatment, quality control inspection, and long-term migration/ management/monitoring of the archival collections.

    Ability to contract for conservation surveys, conservation treatments, reformatting, quality control, and other preservation work.

    Ability to develop a park-wide archival collections protection program including a theft response action plan.

    Ability to prepare an Integrated Pest Management plan, a disaster preparation and recovery plan, and a systematic and prioritized collection condition analysis in order to prepare a long-range preservation plan including cost figures of all required conservation or reformatting/quality control/migration work for grant writing and programming purposes.

Project and Program Management
Entry Level
    Assists curator or archivist in undertaking unit’s museum management program. Undertakes individual collections management projects.

    Ability to assist in planning and implementing archival management projects.


Developmental Level
    Serves as archival collections program manager.

    Ability to develop and implement solutions to archival management issues.

    Ability to prepare scopes of work, requests for proposals, cooperative agreements, and memoranda of understanding for procurement of professional archival services.

    Ability to independently prepare standard operating procedures, position descriptions, project descriptions, grant applications, long-range plans, budgets, and other management documentation to accomplish archives management goals.

    Ability to develop and manage all aspects of a long-term comprehensive archival project including supervision, planning, programming, purchasing, deadlines, personnel selection, work allocation, progress tracking, and related activities.


Full Performance Level
    Manages an extensive program of archives management activities. Supervises the implementation of archival surveying, preservation, description, arrangement, documentation, and access policies, as well as related work. Writes archival policies and procedures.

    Ability to develop and manage a comprehensive, sustainable, long-term archival and records management program.

    Ability to plan, design and implement assigned projects independently.

    Ability to work in close partnership with professionals from a wide range of cooperating organizations.

    Thorough knowledge of supervisory practices, including personnel management policies and procedures, and skill in motivating a staff of professional and technical staff.

    Extensive knowledge of planning and programming activities and of all potential sources of funding for archival and museum collections management programs.

    Ability to develop and manage contracting documents and cooperative agreements.

Communications
Entry Level
    Assists curator or archivist in preparing reports on various aspects of the collection.

    Ability to write correspondence, reports, grant applications, pamphlets, handouts, and recommendations in a clear and concise manner.


Developmental Level
    Provides curator with documentation and analysis of collections management issues.

    Ability to prepare clear, concise reports documenting and evaluating archives management issues and making recommendations for resolution of issues.

    Ability to write analytical documentation on a variety of aspects of the collection.

    Ability to critically evaluate studies, planning documents, proposals, and other documents.

    Ability to critically evaluate new communications technologies for appropriate uses in archival work and as potential archival acquisitions for long-range retention.

    Ability to analyze, research, edit, index, and write archival finding aids, planning documents, reports, exhibit text and catalogs, and articles to professional archival standards.

    Ability to analyze upcoming park projects, proposals, and studies for accuracy and completeness of park or center planning on archival and records management issues and concerns.

    Ability to develop rapid response strategies to meet challenges.


Full Performance Level
    Prepares planning documents, survey and evaluative reports, and other written documents.

    Ability to prepare clear, concise reports documenting and evaluating archives management issues and making recommendations for resolution of issues.

    Ability to research, write, edit, and manage publications and World Wide Web sites that feature archival and manuscript collections.

    Ability to write analytical documentation of a variety of aspects of the collection.

    Ability to critically evaluate studies, planning documents, communications technologies, proposals, and other documents or plans.

    Ability to work with a wide range of people in complex work and/or social groups, often holding opposing or conflicting attitudes that must be considered, negotiated, and/or altered.