I&A’s Advocacy Toolkit—The Secret’s Out

Guest Author: Christine George
Archivist & Faculty Services Librarian, Charles B. Sears Law Library, SUNY Buffalo Law School

I’ll admit that the title for this is a bit of a lie. The Issues & Advocacy Roundtable’s Advocacy Toolkit was never a secret…though from the number of people who know about it, you would think it was. Allow me to introduce you. The I&A Advocacy Toolkit (which will be spelled out in its entirety for this post because, alas, Archivists’ Toolkit already has the lockdown on the AT abbreviation) has been a labor of love for the I&A Steering Committee since 2013. Its first home was I&A’s microsite where it lived until earlier this year. What was in this Advocacy Toolkit? In its own words:

A large part of advocacy involves convincing financial and political stakeholders of the value that archives add to a given community, and all related efforts need be supported by evidence. The resources listed…which also serve as access points to more resources contain the types of quantitative information and qualitative narratives that help make the case for archives. This list is not exhaustive; rather it is a starting point for those looking for facts, arguments, and compelling reasoning to lend weight to their advocacy efforts. The resources linked here do not indicate endorsement, but offer some templates which can be used to formulate advocacy efforts. Continue reading

Year in the Life: Lauren Gaylord, Pt. 6

Though I’m still deeply entrenched in move preparations, I managed to slip away for two days this month and geek out with other archivists at the Society of California Archivists (SCA) Annual General Meeting. This month I want to share a few highlights from my time in Santa Rosa with other archivists from the state.

SCA will always have a special place in my heart because it’s one of the first places where I learned about archival theory and glimpsed the greater archival community. I had been encouraged to check out the conference after an informational interview with an archivist towards the end of my undergraduate studies. I attended one day of the meeting and was quickly impressed by the caliber of archivists and wide-range of institutions and materials represented. I hastily scribbled in my notebook about foreign concepts like MPLP and archives as being sites of the production of knowledge, not just repositories. Though I hadn’t decided to be an archivist at the time, I felt an immediate kinship with the kind of people who would consider questions like whether the privileging of certain types of primary sources continued a male-centered narrative in history.

This year’s annual meeting was the first conference I have attended since becoming a professional archivist. As a student attendee to SCA and SAA, my activities had revolved around frantic networking and cramming my available hours with sightseeing and extracurricular meetings. Finally a working professional, my approach this year was a little more relaxed. I still tried to participate in all that I could, but I treasured the quiet moments of a leisurely lunch break filled with antique shopping and a mid-afternoon reading break in my car. Conferences can be so overwhelming and fast-paced that it’s critical to take time to allow yourself to breathe and process everything. My head is still spinning from some of the talks I heard and I knew in the moment that self-care would be critical in maintaining my stamina.

While the experience was exhausting, it was also exhilarating to be surrounded by people who are passionate about the field and working on so many exciting projects. Attending a conference always reminds me that I deal with just one small slice of the pie and there is so much still to learn. Perhaps one of the most meaningful sessions I attended examined the role and quandaries of institutional archivists. The panelists discussed how they approach issues of loyalty and impartiality, the cognitive dissonance between how a cultural heritage institution handles its own records and those it acquires, and the difficulties in navigating the internal politics of an institution. As a corporate archivist I related to much of the conversation and saw issues that I often encounter reflected in these other organizations as well. I found it extremely helpful to remember that corporate archivists are not the only ones dealing with these questions. One member of the audience brought up the important point that institutional archives and their issues cut across traditional archival settings, touching universities, religious institutions, corporations, local government, museums, and non-profit organizations.

Another highlight of this year’s conference was connecting with new and old colleagues. My SCA experience was full of chance encounters, as I ran into friends from graduate school with whom I had lost touch, old coworkers from my brief internship at the San Francisco Public Library, and fellow archivists whose names I knew but I had never personally connected with. I especially enjoyed gathering with fellow corporate archivists over dinner on Friday night. Building an archival community is incredibly important to me and that includes connecting with archivists in similar positions with whom I can swap stories. It was incredibly encouraging to hear about other archives in the process of moving, as our own move has consumed my life the past few months.

Ultimately, SCA reminded me just how critical it is to get involved in professional organizations, both at the regional and national level. It’s so easy to keep my head down and work in a bubble, but when I come up for air I realize that this larger community has answers to some of my problems. While not every question has a straightforward response, engaging with others, even in simple conversation, can help you find the solution that you need. As I head back into the world of moving and all that it entails, I’m buoyed by the knowledge that others have done it before me and they’re only a click away.

Reminder: AACR Chat Tomorrow, April 26th

There has been a lot of discussion about social justice, documenting social movements, and how this can relate to diversity, outreach, and advocacy. Thus, we want to revisit some of the issues that were brought up at the 2015 Diversity Forum in Cleveland, discuss what has happened since then, and see what this the future of these efforts.

Note: The chat will take place at 1 PM EST / 12 PM CST on Tuesday, April 26th.

The discussion will include:

Nadia Ghasedi (@lowvisghasedi), Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis
Bergis Jules (@BergisJules), University Archivist at UC Riverside
Stacie Williams (@Wribrarian), Learning Lab Manager and Curator of Architectural History at University of Kentucky – Special Collections Research Center
Jarrett Drake (@jmddrake), Digital Archivist at Princeton University
Sofia Becerra-Licha (@sbecerralicha), Archivist at Berklee College of Music

  1. Discuss DocNow’s progress and what it aims to do moving forward?
  2. What happened after the Cleveland project and how can this be a model for other cities? Regional component?
  3. What should archivists be aware of when they want to document current activities?
  4. What are some differences you’ve observed between say a sizable/large institution doing this type of project versus a small group of interested archivists?
  5. What lessons can be learned from the past in documenting the Modern Civil Rights Movement?
  6. What social issues need to be documented?
Participate in the chat by following and tweeting the hashtag #AACR. It is not limited to AAC Roundtable members only, so feel free to share this message with your archivist friends and members from other roundtables.‏
As always, we hope you will use this opportunity to share your thoughts, questions, and connect with other archives professionals. Our Twitter handle is @aacr_roundtable. See you soon!!

controlaccess: Relevant Subjects in Archives and Related Fields for 2016-4-24

This is the weekly roundup of headlines in and around archives, including some library, museum, digital humanities, and information science things as well. If you see something we’ve missed, please email us!


Pop-up Session Proposals for the 2016 Annual Meeting are being accepted through June 3.

Learn what you can do on MayDay  to help save archives. Continue reading

Chat with us Monday, April 25th

Mark your calendar to attend the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable’s on Monday, April 25, 2016 #snaprt Twitter chats! On Monday, April 25, we hold a joint chat with Librarian Wardrobe focusing on workplace attire. All chats will take place from 8-9 PM Eastern Time

The SNAP Roundtable Twitter account (@SNAP_Roundtable) will pose the following questions:

  • What is considered professional attire (clothing, hair, etc) within your workplace?
    • How much does presentation outside of clothing matter?
  • What factors play into what is considered professional attire?
    • As SNAPers, how do we create and support environments that push back against these unjust assumptions of professionalism?
  • What are your wardrobe concerns as a student/new professional?
  • Do you feel your race/ethnicity and/or age plays a role in what you feel you can wear to work?
  • Where does the pressure come from about what it appropriate and inappropriate for work? (boss, colleagues, family, friends ect. )
    • Do you ever feel the need to dress down when your natural inclination is to dress up?

We would like this chat to be as conversational as possible! You may participate in this chat by:

  • responding to a main question based on your own knowledge and experience
  • posing a question that is related to the main question being discussed
  • following up on others’ responses with your own thoughts and further questions

We welcome everyone to join or keep up with our chat using the #snaprt hashtag on Twitter.  Please send questions or suggestions about our upcoming chats to @SNAP_Roundtable, through the anonymous form on the SNAP RT chat webpage, or to the SNAP RT Junior Social Media Coordinator at emcolonm@umich.edu. Please see the SNAP RT chat webpage for more information about #snaprt Twitter chats.

Here some comments from the Librarian Wardrobe admin related to the #snaprt joint chat for your consideration:

  • In relation to Question 2 and 3:
    • “In my experience, new professionals are a lot more conservative about their appearance both while interviewing and the first year on the job. For my first year out of school, I didn’t wear jeans, tshirts (printed or plain), or sneakers, despite the fact that my coworkers frequently dressed more comfortably. There was some sort of unspoken pressure for me to express myself as minimally as possible. “ –Maria Aghazarian
  • In relation to Question 4 and 5:
    • “Sometimes I feel that because of my race and age I need to be more “on point” than everyone else. Not only because I look like our patrons but because I am a minority in a predominantly white field so I feel like I stand out more and always need to be on my  A game.” –DeAnn Brame
  • You can find Libraian Wardrobe here: http://librarianwardrobe.com/
    • Be sure to check out their #lwpoll and Twitter @LibWardrobe

Elena Colón-Marrero
SNAP Roundtable Junior Social Media Coordinator

#snaprt chat Flashback: Archivist and Technologist Collaboration

This is a cross post in coordination with the Electronic Records Section’s bloggERS!

The spirit of community at the 2016 Code4Lib Conference in Philadelphia (March 7-10) served as inspiration for a recent SAA Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable #snaprt Twitter chat. The conference was an exciting opportunity for archivists and librarians to learn about digital tools and projects that are free to use and open for further development, discuss needs for different technology solutions, gain a deeper understanding of technology work, and engage with larger cultural and technical issues within libraries and archives. SNAP’s Senior Social Media Coordinator hosted the chat on March 15, focusing the discussion on collaboration between archivists and technologists.

Many of the chat questions were influenced by discussions in the Code4Archives preconference workshop breakout group, “Whose job is that? Sharing how your team breaks down archives ‘tech’ work.” On the last day of the conference, SNAP invited participants through different Code4Lib and Society of American Archivist channels, such as the conference hashtag (#c4l16), the Code4Lib listserv, various SAA listservs, and the SNAP Facebook and Twitter accounts. All were invited to share suggestions or discussion questions for the chat. Participants included archives students and professionals with varying years of experience and focuses, such as digital curation, special collections, university archives, and government archives. Our chat questions were:

  • How do the expertise and knowledge of archivists and technologists who work together often overlap or differ? How much is important to understand of one another’s work? What are some ways to increase this knowledge?
  • What are some examples of technologies that archives currently use? What is their goal/ what are they used to do?
  • Who created and maintains these tools? Why might an archive choose one tool over another?
  • What kinds of tools and tech skills have new archivists learned post-LIS? What is this learning process like?
  • What are some examples of tasks or projects in an archival setting where the expertise of technologists is essential or extremely helpful? Please share any tips from these experiences.
  • Do you know of any blogs/posts that are helpful for born digital preservation / AV preservation / digitized content workflow?

Continue reading