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Seeking an Identity: The Portrayal of Archivists in Film
Archives Society of Alberta Conference
  • Anne Daniel, Western University
  • Amanda Oliver, Western University
Document Type
Conference Proceeding
Publication Date

The image of archivists in media can sometimes seem nebulous. From descriptions of dusty, unorganized vaults and cardigan-clad gatekeepers, there appears to be many stereotypes perpetuated in media. Building upon previous research in this area, this study aims to investigate how archivists are portrayed in film. Films involving archives and archivists were selected and a content analysis of these films was conducted to address the following questions: is there an archivist in the film and how is the character portrayed? Can specific stereotypes be identified? Do archivists have their own distinct identities in films or is the archivist a non-descript character without a name? We have found that the image of archivists portrayed in film is not always beneficial to the image of archivists and this is a risk to the archival profession. These stereotypes are perpetuating an image of archivists that may have negative effects on our professional identity and may supply potential researchers with negative connotations about archives and archivists. What does the threat of these preconceived, and often inaccurate, portrayals have on the profession and how can we turn these threats into opportunities?


Archives Society of Alberta Conference, "Facing Risks, Taking Risks: Turning Archival Threats into Opportunities" May 23, 2014, Jasper Alberta

Citation Information
Anne Daniel and Amanda Oliver. "Seeking an Identity: The Portrayal of Archivists in Film" Archives Society of Alberta Conference (2014)
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