Ten Things that Terrify Archivists


Published: November 5, 2018 by Katie Kuryla

With Halloween just barely behind us, I thought we could look at the ten things that terrify archivists!

As archivists, professionals have a lot they have to deal with. An interview with an archivist from Stanford University told me that once he had to dig documents out of a dumpster. I’m sure any archivist can tell you an interesting story through any of the collections. However, there are some things that archivists do not like seeing in a collection.

  1. Adhesive tape – this can ruin a document and taking it off might make it worse.

  2. Improvised paper clips – really? That’s just wrong! People have also used screws and bolts to use as paper clips as well!

  3. Rubber bands – who likes rubber bands? They do go through the paper most of the time!

  4. Rusty staples – This can ruin a document and the words. Doing genealogy research is difficult when rust staples are all over the paper.

  5. Coffee stains – we’ve all done it before. We set down our drink whether it is coffee, tea, or something else and didn’t realize the mug was wet and then there is a stain! We might not do it at our job but it is definitely scary to realize that our important documents might have a ring on it!

  6. Vintage fireworks – Do they still work?

  7. Snake skins – This is in line with the dumpster story I heard, to find a snake skin, a spider, or more, is definitely terrifying!

  8. Mole skins – okay, this seems worse. I know snakes do shed but I didn’t know moles did and that’s crazy to think an archivist found that in documents they were going through!

  9. Termite damage – That picture says it all!

  10. Treasure hunters – Yeah, if Nic Cage was trying to steal the collection, I definitely wouldn’t be happy either!



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