The ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2016 Program Committee invited submissions of "Pop-Up" session proposals at the CoSA/SAA Joint Annual Meeting in Atlanta, July 31 – August 6. Pop-Up sessions enliven the conference program by focusing on ideas and content that have "popped up" since initial proposals were due in November. Proposers were encouraged to think creatively to point attendees in new directions.
The Program Committee invites your vote(s) on which Pop-Up session(s) you would most like to see presented at the conference. Please vote for up to five proposals. The five proposals with the most votes will be presented as sessions in Atlanta. Deadline for casting your vote(s): Monday, June 20.
Archival Records in the Age of Big Data (Richard Marciano and Bill Underwood)
The large-scale digitization of analog archives, the emerging diverse forms of born-digital archives, and the new ways in which researchers across disciplines (as well as the public) wish to engage with archival materials, are resulting in disruptions to traditional archival theories and practices. Increasing quantities of 'big archival data' present challenges for the practitioners and researchers who work with archival materials, but also offer enhanced possibilities for scholarship through the application of computational methods and tools to this archival problem space, and, more fundamentally, through the integration of 'computational thinking' with 'archival thinking'.
To address these challenges, in October 2015, the University of Maryland iSchool launched a major Digital Curation and Innovation Center (DCIC) initiative that brings together archivists and technologists from the US, Canada, and the UK fostering interdisciplinary partnerships using Big Records and Archival Analytics through public / industry / government collaborations (http://dcic.umd.edu/). This was followed in April 2016 with a Symposium on Archival Records in the Age of Big Data (http://dcicblog.umd.edu/cas/symposium-program/) and will culminate in December 2016 with a "Computational Archival Science" workshop in DC at the IEEE Big Data 2016 conference (http://dcicblog.umd.edu/cas/ieee_workshop/).
Our pop-up session seeks to harness these latest developments by:
- Addressing the challenges of big archival data, with a focus on archival records, cultural materials, and humanities research.
- Exploring the conjunction of emerging digital methods and technologies around big data and their consequences for generating new forms of analysis and historical research engagement with archival material.
This will primarily be illustrated with concrete examples of collaborations and archival challenges. We wish to engage SAA members to help establish a community of practice to develop collaborative engagement and research.
Archives and Digital Inequality (Myles Crowley, Samantha Winn, and Katharina Hering)
Archival theorists have emphasized the power of archives to promote social justice and empower marginalized communities. Digital archives are sometimes presented as a tool to document diasporic communities and promote broader access to information. Yet scholars have challenged the ethical implications of models which may disfranchise communities from accessing their own heritage and knowledge. This pop-up session provides a forum to debate digital inequality and archives. How can institutions share authority over the creation of digital records with communities that don't have regular access to information and communication technologies? How can archivists work ethically with communities in developing areas with limited technology infrastructure and capacity? How can we raise awareness of these issues in the profession?
As a resource for the complex discussion, we have begun compiling an annotated collaborative bibliography on Archives and Digital Inequality, available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15Pg7Pb9EklNxp9ZCvkSCe5QyyYq78vKXdSI4of3TFo4/edit?usp=sharing
We especially encourage reading the 2011 article by Peter Johan Lor and J.J. Britz in preparation for the session.
This pop-up session is for anyone who is interested in discussing archives, social justice, and digital inequalities. We especially hope that archivists working in public libraries will join the discussion. One goal of the pop-up session will be to discuss ways in which we can continue to address these issues within or outside the professional infrastructure provided by the SAA.
If you need access to a copy of the Lor/Britz article, please contact the session leader.
Audiovisual Digital Preservation and Access: The Archive of Public Broadcasting (Karen Cariani)
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media, and to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity. Over the past year, the AAPB has continued to grow and address challenges and issues regarding audiovisual digital preservation and access -- challenges that many archives are facing.
In this case study panel session, AAPB Project Director Karen Cariani and AAPB Project Manager Casey Davis will to share their experiences around planning and launching large-scale audiovisual digitization projects, using AAPB's CLIR-funded PBSNews Hour Digitization Project as a case study. They will discuss the use of the PBCore metadata schema to help manage and describe audiovisual collections and report on its current developments being led by WGBH and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) PBCore Advisory Subcommittee. Casey and Karen will report on the launch of the AAPB Online Reading Room, which provides online access to thousands of historic public broadcasting materials for research, educational and informational purposes. Finally, they will spend the last 10 minutes describing how archives with public media materials can contribute to the AAPB's growing collection, including file format and metadata specifications and content delivery.
The intended audience for this session includes all archivists -- from students and early career professionals to seasoned veterans -- who see a need in preserving and making accessible their audiovisual collections.
Beyond the Elevator Story Swap (Jill Severn, Mandy Mastrovita, and Donnie Summerlin)
Outreach can be easy, fun, and something that archivists can do in the course of their everyday lives. Mandy Mastrovita and Jill Severn, the creators of the "Beyond the Elevator Cartoon," a regular feature on SAA's new Archives Aware! Blog believe this wholeheartedly and are on a mission to convince all archivists that they can be great storytellers in almost any circumstance. The trick is listening and thinking beyond the standard spiel of archives outreach (I do a weird job, let me explain it to you using words I understand and you may not) to connect the world of archives with the interests and activities of the people you encounter. We make these kinds of encounters the focus of our cartoons and we're eager to have the archives community help us spread the message by sharing their great stories with us. Here's what we'll do in the session: After a short presentation on our approach to Beyond-the-Elevator archives storytelling, we'll interview one of our recent storytellers, and then we will ask the audience to share their best, coolest, weirdest experiences talking about archives with the people they meet. To hear from the introverts in the audience, we'll have cards on hand for people to fill out and submit to us. We will use the best ideas for future Beyond the Elevator cartoon strips.
Collaboration Makes It Happen (Sarah Dorpinghaus, Peggy McBride, Katie McCormick, Joshua Minor, Lisa Mix, and Gerrianne Schaad)
The expectation of doing more with less resources is not a phenomenon unique to archives. Museums, libraries, educational programs, and most any organization that strives to make information accessible struggle with meeting the needs of their users. One tried and true way of accomplishing more with less is collaboration.
In a town hall style session, six archivists will share their experiences with collaborative projects and touch upon challenges, success, and lessons learned. The projects range from straightforward and small to large and complex, and resulted in collecting initiatives, digitized resources, exhibits, securing grant funds, and even the merging of public service units. The projects required collaborative partnerships with community organizations, on-campus programs, non-profits, other library departments, and other institutions.
After the panelists briefly summarize their projects and share key take-aways, the session will be dedicated to open Q&A with the audience. Audience members will be encouraged to discuss challenges and/or success with their collaborations. The discussion will be guided by the moderator as needed. The session will be valuable for any level of information professional interested in launching a collaborative project or improving existing partnerships.
Collective Wisdom LAM Conference Exchange (Sofía BecerraLicha)
The Collective Wisdom LAM Conference Exchange project has brought together a cohort of 18 diverse professionals from library, archives and museum (LAM) organizations to promote cross sector dialogue and reflection. In this interactive panel discussion, find out what we've learned about getting out of our silos: from digital asset management to disaster preparedness to accreditation standards and more. Join this ongoing conversation to share your ideas and vision for creating a strong LAM network that delivers high quality services to our communities.
Co-sponsored by Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries and Museums, this initiative seeks to explore cross sector culture, policies, and practices, especially related to the continuing education and professional development of our workforce. We welcome diverse perspectives on these topics. Cohort participants represent a range of institutions, from the Smithsonian to Tulare County Library (CA) to the American Samoa Office of Archives and Records, and more. To stay in touch with the 2016 cohort's activities throughout the year, follow us on Twitter: #LAMcw and @LAMCoalition.
Copyright Advocacy in the Archive (Lily Troia)
The rise of digital media and networked technology has brought copyright issues into the forefront of archival administration and daily activity, from digitization and scanning, to dealing with streaming content, orphan works, digital preservation, and data curation. Archives now serve as content creators, assisting with university presses, supporting institutional repositories, and developing digital exhibits. Archivists, let alone users, cannot be expected to stay apprised of every new copyright case and analyze its implications for information service, yet awareness of changes in this realm cannot be an afterthought. Intellectual property is fundamental to the work of archives, and an understanding of its landscape is a necessary component to any proactive approach to archival practice.
We as a profession have grown more comfortable with advocacy in other arenas, but remain hesitant (or disinterested) when it comes to copyright, perhaps viewed as the domain of lawyers, not information professionals. This session will examine the idea of archivists as copyright advocates: how we can prepare ourselves and our colleagues in the realm of intellectual property so we are equipped with the knowledge, resources, and support necessary to empower and guide patrons to access, use, repurpose, and create information? How can we engage the archival community in copyright and related conversations, so tomorrow's leaders will have the confidence to fight for access, and insure information service needs are addressed in future policy and legislative decisions?
Copyright literacy is more than familiarity with landmark cases and walking through a fair use checklist. Copyright, in the context of the archive, is also about advocacy, and advocacy involves working with Washington, forming alliances, and building public awareness. Advocacy also involves enlisting the support of institutional administrators, anticipating and addressing user concerns, and insuring all archivists are confident in their understanding of intellectual property.
Deconstructing Whiteness in Archives: Opportunities for Self-Reflection (Samantha Winn)
This workshop session aims to facilitate a dialogue among conference attendees about the consequences and legacies of whiteness/white supremacy in archives. The session is geared towards white professionals who want to critically examine how dynamics of whiteness affect their work. Anyone interested in contributing constructively may participate. Organizers hope to provide a collaborative and engaging conversation that complements SAA's ongoing efforts towards cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. Attendees should be familiar with SAA's Initiative for Cultural Diversity Competence.
This session is designed to equip participants to critically examine their own experiences around whiteness in archives, engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues and patrons at their institution, and begin developing strategies to disrupt oppressive and exclusionary practices in their sphere of work. Using the "Story Circle" methodology (https://roadside.org/asset/story-circle-guidelines) developed by Roadside Theater, trained facilitators will lead small groups in a participatory conversation. Following a brief introduction, all attendees will be expected to participate in a Story Circle. It will not be possible to accommodate late arrivals. Participants will be asked to respect strict confidentiality. The session will not be recorded or live-tweeted.
This proposal was inspired in part by dialogue around #ArchivesSoWhite (http://issuesandadvocacy.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/archivessowhite-intro-bibliography) and M. Ramirez's 2015 article "Being Assumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative" (http://dx.doi.org/10.17723.0360-9081.78.2.339). Reflecting a working definition developed by LIS scholars Bourg, Espinal, Galvan, Hall, Hathcock, and Honma, participants will be asked to engage the concept of "whiteness" as both "the socio-cultural differential of power and privilege that results from categories of race and ethnicity…[and] as a marker for the privilege and power that acts to reinforce itself through hegemonic cultural practice that excludes all who are different." (Hathcock, 2015)
Developing Descriptive Metadata Best Practices for Archived Websites (Jackie Dooley, Allison Jai O'Dell, and Penny Baker)
Archived websites are not easily discoverable via search engines or other discovery tools, and lack of shared descriptive metadata practices is a root cause. To address this, OCLC Research has convened a Web Archiving Metadata Working Group to develop best practices to meet user needs. We are keeping SAA's Web Archiving Roundtable fully informed and seeking their input. Further, a steering committee member is on the working group.
The working group will issue two outputs by early 2017: 1) a report on the needs of users of web archives intended to increase understanding of documented needs and behaviors, which will serve as evidence to underpin 2) best practices for descriptive metadata for archived websites.
In this session we will describe the group's methodology and preliminary assessment of issues and solutions. We began with an extensive literature review with a focus on issues relating to both user needs and users' observations about the types of descriptive metadata that would improve discovery and use. We are studying two descriptive standards (including DACS) and seven sets of local guidelines to analyze the data elements currently in use. We are also reviewing existing descriptions "in the wild," which has revealed extreme variance in practice. One objective is to find ways to bridge the gap between bibliographic and archival modes of description.
The intended audience is archivists who are engaged in web archiving, who create metadata for these resources, and who work with researchers who may be interested in studying web content.
Fancy Awesome EAD Exports from ArchivesSpace (Mark Custer and Melissa Wisner)
Intended Audience: Any ArchivesSpace site with EAD to export and make available to users, consortiums, or other access points.
Yale University Library worked with developers at Hudson Molonglo to develop a simple application to export EAD from ArchivesSpace. Mark Custer believes this is awesome. Melissa Wisner is always being called fancy. All of this has come together in a new tool that everyone should be using! The tool is more than a straight batch export of data out of ArchivesSpace. At YUL, the export tool is used to manage and streamline staff workflow to export updated Finding Aids. A few simple configuration settings automate your transformation and validation procedures. It can also help push updated content to a web accessible location of your choosing for easy access for users or metadata harvesters. The session will cover in detail how the application works, how to easily configure and manage the various export jobs, and how any ArchivesSpace site can readily use this application. Basic workflow documentation will be provided and there will be a demonstration of the service, followed by Q & A with the attendees.
From Melancholy to Motivation: Tapping into Mid-Career Inspiration (Rebecca Altermatt, Michelle Ganz, Ann Kenne, Jenny Swadosh, and Christina Zamon)
The goal of this session is to help motivate mid-career archivists pull themselves out of their doldrums by providing support, guidance and tools needed to revive their careers, achieve new goals and/or move into a more challenging professional position. This session would appeal to those archivists who are not new to the profession but also not looking to retire anytime soon and are seeking new challenges in their work. In order to engage participants, we are proposing a world cafe style session that will start with a brief introduction on the topic and how the session will proceed, followed by participants breaking out into five groups to discuss each of the following topics: finding a mid-career mentor, marketing ourselves, staying motivated, skills assessment and professional development. Each group will have a designated leader who is familiar with the topic and can guide the conversation and keep time. Twenty minutes before the end of the session the session leader will reconvene the group and allow one person from each group to report out on their findings and share tools with the entire group.
Holding Back the Floods: Controlling Your To-Do List through Project Management (Rebecca Katz)
If your archive is anything like mine, your to-do list is a mile long and all you do is tread water as one "emergency" after another takes your time and attention. And if you are anything like me, you are going home from this conference with IDEAS! and VISION! and EXCITEMENT! that are only going to make your to-do list longer.
Before we all go home and face the onrushing flood, let's take some time to look at project management as a way to control the water.
Project management is more than (and doesn't require) Gantt charts. It is planning, rather than jumping in and doing. It is identifying tasks, assigning owners, ensuring resources, and more.
This session is not a lecture on the research behind project management. It's not a "this is what we did and you can learn from us" session, either. You are not going to leave this session an expert. This session is going to be participatory.
We will have large sheets of paper, colored markers, web-based tools, and brainstorming, vulnerability, and creativity.
All ("all") the project management books say that project plans need to be developed collaboratively, so this session is for everyone: experienced managers, new managers, non-managers, students, people with projects to manage and people without projects to manage. Some of you will get assistance beginning your project plan. Others will do the assisting. Everyone will leave with strategies to wow their supervisors.
Your to-do list need not drown you. Come hold back the floods.
Improving Finding Aid Visibility: What Are Y'all Doing? (Amelia W. Holmes and Eileen Heeran Dewitya)
How does your institution make their finding aids accessible? Do you create MARC records for finding aids, making them accessible via your institution's OPAC, or have you chosen a different route? What workflows do you have in place, and what technical services staff are involved in making the finding aids available? Please join us for a discussion that will investigate how the greater archival community is making their metadata available. We hope this will be an inclusive conversation between rare book/mss catalogers and archivists.
Managing Expectations within a Climate of Persistent Change and Shrinking Resources (Alston Cobourn)
Whether it's a researcher who assumed that the entire collection would be digitized; the colleague who hates new software because it isn't exactly like the old system; or an administrator who will only support an initiative if it solves all problems for at least ten years, we all have had to address constituencies' unrealized, even unrealistic, expectations.
I propose a sequence of lightning talks in which presenters share such experiences and relate successful techniques they have used in managing the expectations of colleagues and patrons, especially as they relate to new systems or as yet unrealized services. Suggested topics include setting realistic expectations during a project's design phase; "selling" a new system or workflow by helping colleagues and patrons appreciate its advantages while focusing less on what it lacks or personal attachment to its predecessor; and, where practical, offering "bridge" services to mitigate inconvenience resulting from aspirational services not yet available. Attendees will gain strategies for managing others' expectations and helping them understand and cope with change while still learning from the critiques of one's own efforts.
Medium Rare But Not Well Done: The Bane of Material Culture (Susan Malbin and Alexandra Lederman)
'Medium rare' items are an important, but often neglected part of our material cultural heritage. How to find, acquire, collect, preserve, and provide access to such material can create obstacles. How do we in Special Collections and Archives decide what from the recent past will become rare? Many items were poorly made, and/or were hastily made in mass quantities; few survive and are unstable –e.g. digitization is problematic—so what constitutes rareness? These "everyday" items are composed of popular press books, newspapers/periodicals, handouts, souvenirs, etc. Preserving and creating access to these "medium rare" objects will provide insight to and discovery of our cultural past. So how do we—archivists, special collection librarians, etc.—ensure insure both preservation and access to these 'ephemera?'
Minding Other People's Business: Managing Records of Outside Institutions (Rory Grennan, Cara Bertram, and Justin Seidler)
Managing records of organizations outside your parent institution can generate unique challenges, especially when these organizations are still in operation. What obstacles arise when the donor is also the primary user? Or when institutional missions clash? Or when the donor actually comprises several smaller organizations, each with their own unique records and management policies? Should you consider taking records on deposit? This session will address issues faced by archivists that work with outside organizations, and will be helpful to archivists currently working with records of outside organizations, or who are interested in bringing such records into their repositories.
Panelists from three repositories will present and answer your questions about the idiosyncrasies of managing outside organizational records. Justin Seidler, from the Archives of the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church (Albion College), will discuss the challenges in developing outreach and collaborative programs for a dispersed audience. Rory Grennan, from the Florida State University Libraries, will speak about depositor relations and drafting a deposit agreement with a local institution. Cara Bertram, from the American Library Association Archives (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), will discuss challenges and strategies of accessioning and providing access to physical and electronic records from a national association.
New Roots/Nuevas Raíces: Collecting Voices of the Nuevo South (Jessica English)
"If archival practice is to be influenced by … postmodern ideas … then archivists must see that the script, stage, and audiences have changed."i
The Latino population has rapidly expanded in North Carolina by as much as 400% since 2000 in some areas, and eight of the top ten counties with the fastest-‐growing Latino populations from 2000-‐2011 are in the South.ii New Roots/Nuevas Raíces (http://newroots.lib.unc.edu), is collecting, preserving, and providing access to the voices giving rise to this historic moment in Southern cultural memory. Launched in January 2016, New Roots/Nuevas Raíces is a fully bilingual digital archive that contains the oral histories of Latin American migrants in North Carolina and the experiences of North Carolinians who have worked for the integration of new settlers in "Carolina del Norte."
Of interest to oral historians, Southern historians, digital archivists, library technologists, Spanish-‐ language catalogers, anthropologists, community engagers, international collaborators, diversity scholars, open access proponents, etc., this session will explore the evolution of New Roots/Nuevas Raíces from conception to launch and discuss the unique challenges and opportunities inherent in this collaboration among the Latino Migration Project, the Southern Oral History Program, University Libraries and Library Information and Technology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and local Latino community members.
i Cook, Terry and Schwartz, Joan M. "Archives, Records and Power: From (Postmodern) Theory to (Archival) Performance." Archival Science 2.3 (2002): 171-‐185. ProQuest. Web. 8 Apr 2016.
ii "US Hispanic Population by County, 1980-‐2011." Hispanic Trends. Pew Research Center, 29 Aug 2013. Web. 8 Apr 2016.
Once Upon a Time in Archives - Outreach Through Storytelling (Meg Eastwood)
Inspired by recent TED talks that focus on storytelling, such as Shekhar Kapur's "We are the stories we tell ourselves,"1 a group of UT Austin iSchool alumni have decided to dig out their plans for a children's storybook that talks about the importance of archives (a book inspired by the same archives seminar class that spawned the phrase "Cut our funding and we'll cut you out of the historical record..."). Archivists know how important the work we do is, but do people outside of the archives profession know what we do all day? The session will be led by your friendly token librarian, Meg Eastwood, and other presenters will be determined once everyone figures out their travel schedules for the summer. While she was active in SAA-UT during her studies at UT Austin, Meg is now a faculty librarian at the University of New Hampshire, where her new Dean has tasked librarians and archivists alike with "developing a culture of telling our story." It's an interesting challenge! We'll offer ideas for public outreach to both adults and children, and we'll also talk about the importance of inreach -- i.e. telling your story within your own institution (example: how many academic librarians actually know what an archivist does all day? Does your marketing person / publicity committee know what you do all day?) Inreach ensures that everyone in your institution can help you tell the story of archives. Into the Breach! We want every week to be Archives Week.
Only the Lonely: The Solo Archivist (Gavin J. Woltjer)
After reading Christina Zamon's book, The Lone Arranger, it became quite obvious that there are many individuals who are practicing "lone arrangers" whose voices need to be given a platform. As a lone arranger, one is responsible for developing policies, collection development appraisal, planning and administration of the collection, preservation, fundraising, and outreach to name but a few of the myriad of duties and responsibilities assigned to this individual. This presentation, Only the Lonely: The Solo Archivist, provides an overview of how the lone arranger can begin the process of starting an archives, developing an already existing archives, providing access to the archives, and sharing the archives with other individuals or organizations. The intended audience for this presentation is for beginning archivists, the lone arranger archivist, or for those wanting to have more information about the process of being a lone arranger. This session will have a short 25 minute PowerPoint presentation and then an open forum for participants to share ideas and experiences as lone arrangers.
or else, what? – Achieving Records Management Compliance Absent Enforcement Authority (David Cheever and Joseph Klett)
Audience: Government Archivists and Records Management Directors
Purpose: Explore existing and desired options to assure compliance with archival/records management responsibilities
Few if any state archivists and records management directors possess enforcement authority/tools that lead to compliance with retention schedules and the attendant practices of archival preservation and the provision of access to the public record. Consequently, archivists and RM directors resort to exhorting, instructing, pleading, and using whatever powers of persuasion available to promote compliance, knowing that if compliance fails to occur, recourses are limited.
In most cases, the approaches we all use might be good enough; but there are also many instances where they are not, where documents – hard copy or digital – are not preserved, or are destroyed, for which there is no discernible sanction or deterrent. This session proposes to explore whether there should be enforcement authority available, and, if so, to whom? What would it look like? How might it work? What are the ramifications upon storage and retrieval costs and staffing? Is such authority even feasible or practical politically, financially, or administratively? Is there an upside? Is there a downside? Is the problem of lost or destroyed/deleted documents serious enough to warrant what some might regard as extraordinary measures?
Provide e Case Studies illustrating the challenge(s) and prompting consideration and discussion of existing and desired responses.
Participatory by Design: The National Archives' History Hub and Citizen Archivist Dashboard (Kelly Osborn and Suzanne Isaacs)
The vast holdings of the National Archives demand innovative approaches to soliciting, supporting and scaling public participation. Without an actively engaged public, much of our nation's history would remain inaccessible. History Hub is a crowdsourcing platform that is modeled on how technology companies like Apple and Verizon respond to consumer questions, but built for people interested in documents and records. It is a place to share information, work together, and find people based on their experience and interests. Experts from the National Archives and Records Administration and similar organizations, history enthusiasts, family historians, and citizen archivists are available to help with your research.
The Citizen Archivist Dashboard is where the National Archives asks the public to tag and transcribe records in its online Catalog in order to unlock the records. Through missions and featured records citizen contributions, text within scanned records are added to the catalog to enhance search results and provide additional information to researchers.
In this session Kelly Osborn and Suzanne Isaacs will discuss the National Archives' multifaceted approach to engaging with the public to achieve its mission and goals, how they were developed, public participation, successes and challenges, lessons learned as well as future plans at the National Archives.
Participatory by Design is a session that would appeal to all archivists, from those who are considering crowdsourcing to those who are actively interacting with the public.
Practical Options for Incoming Digital Content (Jody DeRidder and Alissa Helms)
Due to the new and complex challenges presented by born-digital materials, many special collections and archives are struggling to develop and institute practical policies and procedures for the intake, selection, processing, and access of digital content. Key to sifting through the possible options is the need to find out from others what has worked for them, and what has not. In order to guide our choices at the University of Alabama Libraries, we developed a survey to uncover the selection of practical tools, the development of productive workflows, and recommendations that more experienced digital archivists have to share. In May we are distributing this survey widely, and in June and July we will sift the results to generate guidelines that are useful for a range of material types, media, and formats.
We will begin the session by sharing the results of our survey, and asking attendees if they have useful tools to demonstrate or practical workflows to share in the areas of intake, selection, processing and access of any form of digital content. Based on their responses and the interest areas of the attendees, we will divide into small groups around either the stage of workflow or the types of content (or both). Attendees will be invited to share their own positive and negative experiences, and each small group will be asked to add notes to our shared Google Document, and to then share highlights of their discussion with the larger group. The Google Document will serve as a basis for future reference, and will be organized post-conference for increased usability, and the link shared again on SAA listservs.
The intent of this presentation is to engage participants in sharing useful information and tools, and to expand the capabilities of all participants to better manage their own incoming digital content.
Race, Slavery and the Rise of the Academy (Tim Pyatt and Bill Landis)
In recent years, many universities and colleges have researched and examined how their growth and origin may be linked to the exploitation of enslaved and native peoples. In some cases this has been driven by the desire to honor and recognize the role these individuals played in building the institution, while in others student protests have been a significant motivator for the institutional self examination. In many cases there have been calls to rename buildings and colleges as well as remove monuments that celebrated founders who were active in slave trade or race segregation. Some notable institutional responses have been Brown University's Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice as well as the University of North
Carolina's ongoing efforts to document and acknowledge the role of enslaved peoples on campus.
Recent headlines concerning Georgetown University's role in the slave trade have prompted a number of additional academic institutions to examine their past. What role have archivists and the archival record played in these discussions? How can we as archivists facilitate this research into and reconciliation with our institutional pasts? What opportunities for diversifying the archival record might result from these examinations?
Using a Fishbowl conversation style format, the two session leaders will facilitate a discussion on these and other questions. Archivists from institutions who have addressed and/or are currently addressing their past connections to slavery will be invited to attend and participate. Broad participation from the audience will be sought with the goal of sharing how the archivists and the archival record can inform and help facilitate these institutional examinations of our
Re-appraising the Colophon: Perspectives on Light and Hyry's "Colophones and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid" (Shaun Hayes)
The purpose of the session is to facilitate a dialog about the 2002 American Archivist article "Colophones and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid" by Michelle Light and Tom Hyry.
The article suggests that by adding an addendum to finding aids in which the archivists relate the various appraisal and arrangement and description decisions that went into the publicly-accessible representation of an archival collection, archivists will increase the contextual knowledge that researchers possess about the process behind the creation and representation of the collection that they are interacting with.
By sharing this knowledge, archivists are allowing researchers to be more aware of the biases and other factors that influenced the representation of archival materials that they are using for research purposes.
I would like to see to what degree, if any, professionals are incorporating Light and Hyry's ideas about improving the transparency related to finding aid construction, and more generally, addressing the role that archivists have as shapers of social memory.
This article specifically is chosen because it is among the few (to my knowledge) that provide a practical example for how archives can pull back the curtain on the influence that they have in how collections are assembled, arranged and described, and thus accessed by researchers.
Participants and attendees will be encouraged to share their reactions to the Light and Hyry article, talk about possible (or actual) implementations of their ideas, and how these ideas are relevant to archives today.
I would begin by highlighting the important aspects of the article and then open the discussion to any additional participants and attendees.
The Bits in the Field: A Survey of Digital Forensics Work (Melanie Wisner)
Harvard University's Digital Forensics Working Group is currently developing a strategy to approach management of its extensive holdings of vulnerable digital materials that are on obsolete media, are born digital, or are otherwise in need of mediation in order to protect them from degrading and deteriorating. While looking inward, the group also looked outward and in the spring of 2016 interviewed 14 other institutions to learn about the basics of their digital forensics programs—the origins and goals of these programs, lessons learned, and strengths and challenges. The questions were simple and open-ended; the answers in the aggregate say a lot about the state of handling born digital--what works and what doesn't in the boots-on-the-ground realities of programs to receive, process, and deliver content. This popup session will summarize themes and trends from this set of interviews in an attempt to characterize the state of born digital programs and their hopes for the future.
We think our "taking the temperature" in this realm will be of interest to early-career professionals as well as seasoned managers. The intended audience for this popup session is anyone engaged now with born digital or thinking about starting a project or program to engage with these holdings. Managers tasked with collection stewardship, especially those in higher education, will be interested to hear major themes from the experience of colleagues setting up and running digital forensics and related work; new graduates may learn how their studies and interests fit in with the realities of staffing, equipping, and funding such programs.
The session will be conducted informally by two or more members of the Working Group, with PowerPoint and standard media hookups, in a lively, subjective but fact-based "reveal" of directions we seem to be taking with born digital.
The Lone Arranger Experience in Academic Institutions: A Case Study (Calli Force)
This brief proposal will illustrate the often overlooked first-time professional experiences of new MLIS graduates. This case study is a personalized discussion of my own experience of pursuing archival work and how vastly different that work turned out to be compared to MLIS program discourse. While it is written in much of the prescribed literature that archivists wear many hats, especially those working solo in their designated repositories, there is little discussion about exactly which hat to wear in order to navigate the muddy waters of pre-established institutional hierarchies. Being able to identify and work within these constructs will allow professionals in similar positions – consultants or contractors hired to develop programs with no technical infrastructure, no funding or resources, and very little initial support – successfully manage and execute their responsibilities and deliver results that surpass their constituents' expectations.
This case study will outline the necessary steps to design an action plan that leads to achieving goals with as little guesswork as possible. If I am able to share my perspective as a lone arranger hired for a job that turns out to be something entirely different and more complex than anyone intended, perhaps other new MLIS professionals will be able to benefit from my process.
The intended audience includes current MLIS students, recent graduates, those seeking less traditional library/archival work, or seasoned professionals who find themselves in this kind of unfamiliar territory.
The presentation may be a PowerPoint (if technology is available) or a simple oral presentation that includes visual aids, helpful resources, tips for best practices, and a link to a Weblog to follow updates throughout my own process. The ultimate goal is for MLIS students and professionals alike to share their own lone arranger experiences and form a network of support – beyond ListServs – for those in similar situations.
The Moving Target: Revisiting and Re-Constructing Diversity in the Archival Profession (Holly Smith)
In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Carla D. Hayden to lead the Library of Congress; she will be the first woman and African American to serve in this prestigious post. The Hayden announcement represents a significant milestone on multiple levels within the arena of librarianship. Her appointment is a striking example of the very progress that practitioners within the field have been lobbying for. However, it should not be viewed as a reprieve for academic and non-academic institutions to stop or lessen their efforts to diversify areas within library sciences, specifically the archival profession. Hayden represents what is possible and should therefore serve as another opportunity to revisit what the archival profession means when it says it has a commitment to diversity.
The Pop-Up Session, moderated by the chair of the Diversity Committee will feature a cross-section of panelists from the archival profession that acquire, advocate, and generate policies that provide access to collections highlighting under-documented communities (including but not limited to African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, and LGBTQ). The panelists will engage in a conversation that revisits the definition of diversity in the archival profession, and looks at what it means to be more inclusive, while highlighting personal experiences within their respective positions including achievements and challenges. At the conclusion of the 30-minute panel discussion panelists will have the opportunity to participate in a thoughtful Q&A while hearing insightful commentary from attendees. Finally the session will be recorded. Key moments that highlight the achievements of the panelists and audience members, or potential solutions for advancing or advocating for diversifying the archival profession and its record will be used for a promotional video created by the Diversity Committee that illustrates the advances taking place within the profession.
Uncovering Our Roots: The Information Profession and Going Beyond Our Worldview (Aaisha Haykal and Harrison W. Inefuku)
In a profession dedicated to preserving American society, cultural competency within the profession is vital to ensuring the breadth of America's stories is captured in the archival record. While the Midwest Archives Conference, the Society of American Archivists, and other organizations have sponsored scholarships and groups (such as the Harold Pinkett Award, Mosaic Scholarship, and the Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable), which have intended to nurture and support diversity within the archival profession, it remains overwhelmingly homogenous.
This session will be a fishbowl that will provide archivists an opportunity to share their experiences, challenges, and lessons learned while working in the profession. It will open with brief remarks Helen Wong Smith to discuss SAA's work and have selected participants who will tell their stories: from being an archivist of color, working with diverse collections to supporting new professionals of color. The session leaders will then open the conversation and invite audience members to pose questions, discuss how SAA can be a resource for improving diversity, and join in to share their own perspectives and experiences with diversity, both professionally and personally.
Some of the issues that we hope comes out of the session are the different worldviews we have, how cultural competency relates to hiring practices and collection description, and best practices. By the end of the session, we hope that attendees have a better understanding of the state of the profession, to create a group of self-identified archivists and information professionals who may be interested in assisting with developing a curriculum, resources, etc. around cultural competency. The intended audience is individuals who want to discuss and support cultural competency in the profession.
Volunteers Pop-Up (Adam Speirs, Nicholas Hartley, Alexis Smith Macklin, and Nancy Freeman)
The purpose of the session is to solicit professional "in-the-moment" feedback on two projects related to volunteer programs in archives.
The first research project is exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with the implementation of the SAA Best Practices for Volunteers in Archives across various types of archives, including: governance/policies related to volunteer and intern use; how volunteers and interns are being used; and improving the understanding of the work done by archivists.
The second project involves investigation into the hypothesis that an archivist's identity (how he or she views the profession) directly correlates to structures of volunteer programs in archives. Often archivists experience angst and conflict regarding how an organization, society, and individuals view archival work (i.e., anyone can do it). The level of angst is part of the framework in which to view volunteer programs.
Session presenters became aware of each other's projects months after SAA's original call for annual meeting proposals. The research project began in early 2016 and preliminary findings are now coming in. Through e-mails and a phone call, the presenters realized connections between the projects, in addition to similarities and differences. Presentation of the projects and a Q & A session provides space for fertile discussion and feedback on a topic germane to many archivists.
The session will proceed in three parts, 10-15 minutes to present preliminary research project findings, followed by 10-15 minutes on archives identity as relates to volunteer programs, and then open floor for Q&A and group discussion.
The intended audience is working archives professionals that host, or intend to host, volunteer programs at their institution.
Zine Union Catalog Project (Jennifer Hecker)
I would like to propose a pop-up session about the ongoing work of the national Zine Union Catalog project team. The session is aimed at archivists and librarians who have zines or similar self-published materials in their collections, and at technologists who are interested in helping to facilitate broader access to these and similar materials via metadata aggregation.
An informal group of 10-20 zine librarians, archivists & students from academic, public, and community-based repositories have been working for a couple of years now to hash out requirements for aggregating zine holdings metadata to create a union catalog for searching for these often hard-to-find resources.
In addition to the challenges presented in any metadata aggregation project (incomplete records, various data to formats, lack of standardization, etc), other challenges unique to zines include incomplete publishing information, privacy and anonymity issues, and lack of resources (especially in the community-based collections). Further complicating matters, zines held in archives and special collections are rarely cataloged at the item level.
I intend to present about the state of the project to date, funding opportunities and innovative partnerships we are pursuing, and then open the session up for discussion and brainstorming. My main goal in this session will be to expose more archivists to this work, explore their ideas and concerns, and drum up support for and participation in the project.
Annual Meeting referenced: