So I’ve been in my new role as the Assistant Archivist for a business archive for six weeks now. It’s challenging, it’s interesting, and I am learning so much in the process.
If you’re a regular visitor to Learning About Archives, you might remember my post The Second Graded Piece of Coursework, where I talked through the coursework submission for the Record-Keeping Professional module, in my MA in Archives & Records Management at UCL. This coursework submission was part group work and part individual work, and one of the items submitted as a group was an action plan for an imagined archive scenario. That was the first time I had encountered an action plan, and now, just three months later, I am implementing this skill into my archive career.
The action plan that I’ve been writing at work is for a big project involving archive materials stored off-site, and my predecessor had already noted down some objectives and listed equipment and materials required for the project. Having read these notes and visited the off-site storage, I was able to acquaint myself with the task at hand, identifying activities to meet the existing objectives, and also adding my own objectives and activities for the project.
The combination of access to my predecessor’s brief notes combined with the practice of creating an action plan that I had put in during the Record-Keeping module really put me in the best possible starting point: I had a grasp of the project at hand, what I might need, and an idea of how to set out particular objectives and activities. Without these resources, I would have been quite lost and lacking in confidence. The Internet has also been an excellent resource for quick answers too, and I have been able to find answers to my questions about the form and structure of an action plan through a simple keyword search.
Writing an action plan is a big responsibility that does occasionally give me some twinges of impostor syndrome, but I have to admit that writing my first action plan is the most professional I have felt, and it has sometimes left me with a skip in my step as I leave the office in the evening. Part of my action plan has included a list of projects at the off-site location to be investigated in the future. Should the archive decide to address any of these additional projects, they will also require action plans, and I know that I will be well prepared to create one from scratch when the occasion arises.
Header image: Entrepreneur