Historian Career

Job Description: Research, analyze, record, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, interviews, films, electronic media, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.


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What Historians do:

  • Gather historical data from sources such as archives, court records, diaries, news files, and photographs, as well as collect data sources such as books, pamphlets, and periodicals.
  • Conduct historical research, and publish or present findings and theories.
  • Research the history of a particular country or region, or of a specific time period.
  • Organize data, and analyze and interpret its authenticity and relative significance.
  • Present historical accounts in terms of individuals or social, ethnic, political, economic, or geographic groupings.
  • Determine which topics to research, or pursue research topics specified by clients or employers.
  • Conserve and preserve manuscripts, records, and other artifacts.
  • Advise or consult with individuals and institutions regarding issues such as the historical authenticity of materials or the customs of a specific historical period.
  • Organize information for publication and for other means of dissemination, such as use in CD-ROMs or Internet sites.
  • Speak to various groups, organizations, and clubs to promote the aims and activities of historical societies.
  • Prepare publications and exhibits, or review those prepared by others, to ensure their historical accuracy.
  • Conduct historical research as a basis for the identification, conservation, and reconstruction of historic places and materials.
  • Interview people to gather information about historical events and to record oral histories.
  • Research and prepare manuscripts in support of public programming and the development of exhibits at historic sites, museums, libraries, and archives.
  • Trace historical development in a particular field, such as social, cultural, political, or diplomatic history.
  • Recommend actions related to historical art, such as which items to add to a collection or which items to display in an exhibit.
  • Collect detailed information on individuals for use in biographies.
  • Teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, museums, and other research agencies and schools.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in cataloging and filing materials.
  • Edit historical society publications.
  • Translate or request translation of reference materials.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Holland Code Chart for a Historian

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