Name: Hannah Bawden
Title: Records Management Archivist
Specialties: Local and state government management & preservation and For the Record Blog
How did you end up working at the Alabama Department of Archives and History?
As a history student writing term papers, I relied on archives to access primary sources, but I didn’t find my passion for archives work until I interned for a museum. Part of my internship involved helping to prepare their small archives for researchers. After completing an M.A. in North American history, I earned a post-masters certificate in Archives and Records Management from Western Washington University. I’ve been lucky enough to work in a variety of archives around the United States, including for the National Park Service (NPS) in Yellowstone National Park and at the Southeast Archeological Center in Florida. One especially exciting project for the NPS was working at Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. I worked with the on-site map collection, preparing the maps to move to a more environmentally controlled storage area in Colorado. I also worked for a non-profit in South Dakota, Deadwood History Inc., as well as the State Archives of South Dakota. In the summer of 2020, I passed the exam to become a Certified Archivist with the Academy of Certified Archivists. Working as a processing and reference archivist helped me understand how people use the records in an archives, and I bring that perspective to my work with records management.
For people who don’t think about their records every day, why is records management important?
Working as a reference archivist taught me that while the records we generate in our day-to-day work might not seem like critical historical documents, the information they contain may be invaluable to researchers in the future. Having a plan for records management allows you to preserve that information.
On the other hand, we all accumulate temporary records that don’t require long-term preservation and can be disposed of. Implementing a records management plan can help you decrease the paper and electronic files cluttering up your desk and inbox!
What is something you enjoy about working in records management?
I chose a career in archives because it allowed me to help researchers find what they are looking for, but records management is just as, if not more important! Instead of assisting researchers, I provide the tools and support necessary for records creators to understand the required disposition of their records and to feel empowered by their role in the records management process.
I also enjoy the variety of tasks that you get to carry out in records management. Each day is different. As a processing archivist there were times where I would need to spend all day doing the same task with the same type of records, for weeks on end.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy spending time outdoors and hiking. When the weather keeps me inside, I like reading, trying out new recipes, and spending time with my family.