Archives FAQ: What does an archivist do?

Archivists collect materials such as documents, photographs, and artifacts created or received by a person, family, or organization. These items have often fulfilled their original purpose, but are considered to have enduring value and usefulness.

The work of an archivist includes the appraisal and arrangement of archival materials, as well as research and reference assistance. Here’s a brief overview:

Appraisal: Archivists determine which items will be added to the collections during an appraisal process. However, this type of appraisal process is not related to a collection’s monetary value, but rather to the collection’s content and use.

Accession: After appraising the material and determining that it should be added to the collection, the archivist takes possession of the items, and accessions the records. Accessioning is the addition of new materials to the archives collections.

Arrange: Archivists organize and arrange collections in order to facilitate access and use by researchers. This may also include the stabilization and conservation of materials that have deteriorated over time.

Research: Archivists provide research assistance to individuals interested in specific collections. Because archives contain, original, one-of-a-kind items, archivists manage the physical access to collection materials, and supervise their use.

Here at City of Hope, the Archives is the repository for COH historical collections including papers, photos, artifacts, and other materials that document the history of the institution.

To learn more about the City of Hope Archives or to make an appointment, contact Susan Yates at



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