The lot of a business archivist is becoming no happier. Corporate archivists have perennially been confronted by the daunting challenge of bringing order to the mountain of corporate documentation deposited on their doorstep. All too often, archivists have also been obliged to contend with the skepticism of their corporate masters, battling to maintain that the archives is a vital corporate function. The 1980s have hardly lessened these challenges. The information revolution has fundamentally transformed the nature of corporate documentation; personal computers, telecommunications, fax machines, and the ease of corporate travel have all diminished the centrality of the written word. The days of the logical, linear paper-based archives are numbered. Corporate information has become increasingly slippery and transitory; decision making now seldom leaves a neat paper trail in its wake. This trend has been given velocity by monumental complexity of global business today, the rigors of recession restructuring, and the deep-seated litigiousness bred by a decade of hostile buyouts and financial sophistry.
Business archivists must meet the challenge of this new information order, not by resting on their laurels as efficient paper sorters but by aggressively proving an expanded applicability for their corporate talents. They must resist wrapping themselves in the esoteric jargon of professionalism and must instead present themselves in a useful light, as the information handmaidens of decision making. To do this, they must become more entrepreneurial and more attuned to the new diversity of information emanating from the corporation, thereby becoming more able to prove themselves as value adders to the corporation.