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'Abstract professor' Job sees his job in the archives disappearing: 'He's outdated' |  Economy

‘Abstract professor’ Job sees his job in the archives disappearing: ‘He’s outdated’ | Economy

columnAnne-Mariej Backens (34) has owned the business for more than a decade, helping people over 50 find work. This week Job sees his work in the municipal archives taken over by a faster, more efficient system.

Archivist Joop, 62, looks like you would expect an archivist to look. Calm, smart frames, gray beard, slightly shaggy hairstyle and everyday outerwear. His backpack is large enough for a weekend of camping, but Gob uses it to carry books and notes. “Here’s the absent-minded professor himself,” Joop begins, not without a hint of self-mockery.

“I realize that my job will be made redundant as of January 1st,” Job says. “Of course I am an old boss. Completely outdated these days. Very old in knowledge and skills. Yes, I read your articles about the future of work. I know that you have to continue developing and that the future is digital. My boss has also decided that the archives of the municipality where I work should To be digitized. While up to now you have been responsible for searching for archival documents for residents, soon a fully automated system will take over this work. It will certainly become faster and more efficient. Cheaper too. But better? Dare I doubt it? I’ll explain to you why, before I You think I’m just an old whiner who thinks everything was better in the past.” Gob rubbed his beard hesitantly.

Understand each other

“This city archive is a good example of a place where people learn to understand each other. The most beautiful stories are created every day in the reading room, memories are recalled and new connections are made. People come there because they are looking for their past. Family trees, property deeds, drawings Building. All those ancient pieces give meaning to the present. People become more understanding when they understand their origins better.

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“A lot of people will view me as a somewhat absent-minded, dusty person who knows exactly where to find every conceivable archive item. Someone who, in terms of digitization, goes no further than Word and Outlook and last century wrote a thesis for an archival science course on A typewriter. But I see myself as a link between rival communities, football clubs and discordant neighbors. And as the grandfather who tells stories to families whose biological grandfather is no longer able to do so. In my classroom I see reconciliation, affection, understanding and softness. The fact that I was able to find the birth certificate “Fast is not my greatest achievement. That I solve family problems with this, yes. Of course, this digital system will also find that birth certificate, but the human connection and my interpretation – the all-knowing city troubadour – will no longer exist.”

“The election results are not surprising.”

Gob stares out the window for a while and then continues his story. “Last week, everyone was surprised by the election results. But I didn’t find it surprising. There are fewer and fewer places where we can truly find each other. “Where we can hear each other’s stories and laugh at our similarities and differences.”

“In our daily race for a better future, we ignore our history. This makes a lot of people feel very displaced and we are polarizing more and more. People no longer understand each other and are therefore dependent on social media enthusiasts who are only after money and power. It is cheap indoctrination “It is volatile and moody, and has no established roots anywhere. What worries me. For the sake of a good future, we may have to go back in time.”

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Want to see more of Anne-Marije Buckens? Also follow her on X, formerly Twitter.