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The archives are the organizational network of the archives . In the German-speaking area, the public archives of the federal government, the federal states and the municipalities, in which full-time archivists are employed with specialist training, are formative. The job description in Germany is traditionally strongly determined by civil servants or employees of the higher and higher service, archivists who have received their training at the archive schools in Marburg , Munich and Potsdam . In addition to the public archives, there are also numerous private archives, e.g. B. aristocratic, family, economic and company archives ( see also: archive sections ).

The most important tasks in the "classic" archives are:

Advice on document management and archival evaluation

An important task of the archives is to advise the administration or the provenance offices assigned to them (also registrar) with regard to the organization of records management . Important norms and standards in this area are the DOMEA concept , DIN ISO 15489 and the Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records ( MoReq ). The assessment decides on the archivability of the documents in the registries or in the intermediate archive that are offered to the archives. Documents to which the archivists attribute no permanent value must be destroyed - in archives this is called cassation , in Austria it is called mapping.

The evaluation processes are documented in an evaluation protocol.

The files, processes or documents transferred to an archive are listed in the delivery directory .


Preventive (passive) conservation and restoration are part of the preservation of the archives. Preservation measures can be, for example, the choice of a storage facility that meets the conservation requirements for humidity and temperature (climate). This also includes the choice of suitable, acid-free packaging materials in the form of folders or boxes. The usage regulations, which regulate the handling of archival material, are also intended to ensure that archived material can be used for as long as possible. The restoration serves to repair damage that has already occurred, such as B. by mold, acid, water, etc. Restorative measures can include mass deacidification, paper stabilization and the like. Ä. be.

A professional restoration is always expensive, which is why care should always be taken to ensure optimal conservation conditions.

In addition, protection against theft of archive material is part of the preservation process.

Archival indexing and inventory structure

The indexing of written and archived material is one of the essential core tasks of archival activity. A professional title formation that is clear for subsequent user guidance requires comprehensive knowledge of the tasks and structures of the respective registry creator / archive carrier, which the archivist must acquire before processing the inventory.

The main structure of the archives in an archive is called tectonics . The overview of the holdings (inventory overview) is integrated below the higher-level tectonics of an archive. As a rule, the holdings of the archive are documented within the inventory overview. Often these are briefly presented in the overview with the time scope and clearly identified by a specific inventory signature. Depending on the size of the holdings, classification groups (classification groups) must be set up that follow structural specifications (provenance) or subject-specific classifications (pertinence). Uniform series of files can be summarized as title groups (mostly as a lower classification group). The archive materials belonging to the respective holdings are indexed in terms of content and made accessible via finding aids. It is essential that a precise and concise description of the content is made using a precise title (see archival index ). The archive material is taken over and cataloged primarily in accordance with the specifications and criteria of the provenance principle . Essential elements or authority data (= metadata ) for the indexing of files or documents within a collection are: the signature , the title, the term as well as specific comments. In addition, valid protection periods or other information such as the material properties, the state of preservation and other references and notes can be stored in the archiving program in the case of new registrations .

Traditionally, repertories , card indexes or finding aids were created in the course of indexing files or documents . Today, in addition to the indexed archive material, the classification groups (internal structure) of the inventory, the inventory and authority history, lists of abbreviations and registers (indexes) as well as additional literature and source references are usually recorded in a finding aid. The structure of a finding aid follows the standardized structure of a common scientific work. International norms and standards such as ISAD (G) and ISAAR (CPF) facilitate and standardize the indexing. Often the principles of order and description for the State Archives of the German Democratic Republic (OVG) are used as valuable assistance.

Today, the holdings in most archives are indexed with special software and prepared for research on the intranet or the Internet. The indexing thus forms the basis for permanent access to essential information in the files and documents.

Archival collections

As a rule, there are collections of materials in all archives that supplement the “classic” archive material that is taken over by the submitting agencies in a valuable way and that can provide additional information. Collections are generally structured according to the principle of pertinence and are created across all holdings by the archive. Legacies that are also collected here within the scope of the responsibility of the archive can also be counted as special collections . Almost all archives have more or less large service libraries (reference libraries) which, among other things, often have excellent holdings in the area of ​​literature on regional and regional history. These libraries are also set up and managed within the scope of the archive's area of ​​responsibility.


The archive material is available for general use in public archives . Each time it is used, the respective responsibility of the archive for the question must be clarified in advance (principle of provenance). They are usually used on site in the reading rooms of the archives. A user can finding aids are being prepared or repertories spot in the archive itself and performed beyond have published repertories or archival online finding aids assistance. In many archives, detailed written information cannot be given to the user due to a lack of human resources.

Archive portals support users in finding the archive or archives that contain sources for their own research questions. Archive portals now enable comprehensive research for archival material in different archives.

Public and educational work

Archive pedagogy has established itself as a generic term for educational work . Public relations work mostly takes place in the context of guided tours, exhibitions, own publications and via the Internet. The main focus of the publication activities of archivists is on source editions, the publication of finding aids, works on the historical auxiliary sciences , on the history of the archive or the history of the registry maker (archive owner). How intensively public and educational work is carried out in the archives varies widely and depends on the alignment of the archive and the number of specialist staff. Although access to the information handed down in the archives is of great importance for archivists, public relations and educational work mostly play a subordinate role, especially in smaller archives, due to the shortage of personnel.


The archives training of the public service for the higher and higher service takes place for most of the federal states within the framework of the civil service career at the archive school Marburg . In addition, the Department of Information Sciences at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences has been offering an external course to become an archivist since 1993. The basis of the training is the integration of the three information science disciplines archive, library and documentation science . The department trains archivists for all archival branches as employees. In the 2004/2005 winter semester, the company switched to a Bachelor's degree.

Since 2008 it has been possible to acquire a subject-related further education master’s course every 2 years in distance learning - previously only within a narrowly limited framework only for lateral entrants with a university degree. The existing demand for a higher degree, especially in the field of archivists, cannot be met.

The education for the middle, upper and higher archive service in Bavaria takes place at the Bavarian Archive School in Munich. The nationwide state-recognized training for the middle service is the dual training for " Specialist for media and information services - specializing in archives", or FaMI archive for short. The archive schools, the FU and the HU Berlin offer advanced and advanced training courses for a fee, as does the Vereinigung deutscher Wirtschaftsarchivare e. V.

Integrated training courses also exist in Switzerland; Vocational training to become a specialist in information and documentation, university studies to become an information and documentation specialist in Geneva and Chur. Both universities of applied sciences, the University of Bern and the University of Vienna offer courses at Master's level.

Archive law

The fulfillment of the archives' tasks raises a wealth of legal questions in all areas of an archive's tasks. Archivists are therefore familiar with the field of archival law. In addition to the fundamental archival laws of the federal and state governments, the area of ​​archival law u. A. copyright , data access rights , protection of personal rights and regulations on the protection of secrets, the area of ​​register law and other relevant legal areas. The archival preservation of monuments , which is mostly operated by the state archives, takes care of valuable private archives, such as aristocratic archives .

Archive staff

The proportion of "lateral entrants" without specialist training in the archives (related to all archive branches) is 30 percent (as of 2000), but will continue to increase due to the emerging shortage of skilled workers and the retirement of archivists who were still trained in the GDR .

There are also 32.7 percent scientific archivists (higher service), 25.2 percent with technical college training for the higher service. At 2.7 percent, the (Munich) middle-class service is not significant. (No information: 8.7 percent; status of the survey: 2000). In the state archives, employment without a career qualification is rather rare, as the complex requirements of the rapidly changing job profile of an archivist in the information society require specific training or a degree.

See also

Portal: Archives  - overview of Wikipedia content on archives


  • Sabine Brenner-Wilczek, Gertrude Cepl-Kaufmann, Max Plassmann: Introduction to modern archive work . Darmstadt 2006.
  • Eckhart G. Franz : Introduction to archival studies . Darmstadt 2007.
  • Evelyn Kroker , Renate Köhne-Lindenlaub, Wilfried Reininghaus (eds.): Manual for economic archives. Theory and practice . R. Oldenbourg Verlag Munich 1998. ISBN 3-486-56365-3
  • Marcus Stumpf (Ed.): Practical archival studies. A guide for professionals in media and information services - specializing in archives . 4th revised edition, Ardey-Verlag, Münster 2018. ISBN 978-3-87023-434-8 .

Web links

Wikisource: Archives  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Lt. Archive messages of the GDR 1 (1977), p. 20, quotation: "The development of a stock is a very complex scientific project, which is composed of a number of interdependent work processes, including institutional historical studies on the respective registry builder and the fine evaluation belong"
  3. Training delegation Information & Documentation ( Memento of the original dated January 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /