Limited Identities for a Common Identity: Archivists in the Twenty-First Century

  • Jean-Pierre Wallot


This paper is about the evolution of the archival profession in the "Information Age." The first part provides a brief reminder of the specific and traditional realms of archivists and, among other information professions, librarians. The second section provides an overview of the unprecedented context of the "Information Age" challenging narrow disciplinary approaches. The third part sketches a vision for the future, with its impact on our practices and role, on our growing partnerships with other professions, on training, and on providing information to the public. A common identity for archivists will emerge from our own limited identities, both inside our profession and, more and more, through cross-pollination with kindred information professions.


Cet article porte sur l'évolution de la profession d'archiviste à l'« Âge de l'information». La première partie évoque les domaines propres et traditionnels des archivistes et, entre autres professionnels de l'information, les bibliothécaires. La seconde partie présente un survol du contexte, sans précédent, de l' âge de l'information, lequel remet en question les approches disciplinaires restreintes. La troisième partie esquisse un tableau pour l'avenir avec ses contrecoups sur nos méthodes et notre rôle, sur les relations croissantes avec les autres professions, sur l'information et sa dissémination. Une identité de plus en plus large chez les archivistes émergera de nos propres identités limitées, à la fois à l'intérieur de la profession et, de plus en plus, par pollinisation croisée avec les professions parentes.

Author Biography

Jean-Pierre Wallot
Jean-Pierre Wallot has been the National Archivist of Canada since February 1985. Immediately before his appointment as National Archivist, Dr. Wallot taught history at the UniversitC de MontrCal, where he held a number of senior academic posts, including those of Vice-Dean of Studies and Vice-Dean of Research (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) as well as Vice-Rector of Studies. A graduate of the UniversitC de MontrCal, where he completed his doctorate degree in 1965 on the history of Lower Canada in the early nineteenth century, Dr. Wallot is known for his work on the economy and society of French Canada between 1760 and 1850. He has written over one hundred scholarly articles and numerous papers, and written or co-authored ten books, including Un Qukbec qui bougeait (1973); Patronage etpouvoir duns le Bas-Canada (1794-1812)(with Gilles Paquet, 1973); and Les Irnprimks duns le BasCanada (1801-1810) (with John Hare, 1967). A Past President of the Canadian Historical Association, the Institut d'histoire de 1'AmCrique franqaise, the Association canadienne-franqaise pour I'avancement des sciences, and of the AcadCmie des lettres et des sciences humaines of the Royal Society of Canada, he was elected President of the International Council on Archives in 1992 and served until 1996. Dr. Wallot is a member of the AcadCmie des Lettres du QuCbec, an Officer of the Ordre des arts et des lettres de la R6publique fran~aise, Officer of the Order of an Canada, and has recently received an honourary doctorate from the University of Ottawa.
How to Cite
Wallot, Jean-Pierre. 1996. “Limited Identities for a Common Identity: Archivists in the Twenty-First Century”. Archivaria 41 (April), 6-30.

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