Understanding Essential Information Maintenance Work Within and Beyond COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the work of information maintainers within libraries, archives, and museums all the more precarious and difficult, even as particular information maintenance roles are deemed “essential”. We are inspired by several collaborative efforts including two recent white papers on information maintainers and contingent labor in libraries, archives, and museums, and a variety of reports from the DLF Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries, Archives, and Museums. The proposed project builds on these efforts by exploring the relationship between information maintainers’ perceptions of their status within cultural stewardship organizations, and organizational preservation and access outcomes.


The findings and outputs of this work aim to inform and empower information maintainers and leaders of cultural stewardship organizations to consider the impact of occupational status on organizational efficacy in cultural stewardship within and beyond the pandemic.

How it relates

By partnering with information maintainers to document their work and their perceptions of role and status we hope to learn about the range of information maintenance work that is often less visible but nevertheless “essential” to the production, dissemination, and long term access to information.


  • Information Maintainers