controlaccess: Relevant Subjects in Archives and Related Fields 2018-07-15

SAA News

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ARCHIVES * RECORDS 2018: SNAP session!

Here it is: at the 2018 SAA annual meeting, please join SNAP “for a panel discussion focusing on the current state of hiring practices in the profession, followed by breakout conversations. Topics will include the value of generalists vs. project positions, labor ethics, temporary vs. permanent, and career transitions. Ideas will be compiled to share with the broader archival community.”

I can’t attend this one myself — I don’t arrive in Washington until later that evening — so catch it for me, if you don’t mind. (And consider signing up to write a recap!)

controlaccess: Relevant Subjects in Archives and Related Fields 2018-07-08

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!

SAA News

NARA Issues Update on Review of ICE Records Disposition

ARCHIVES * RECORDS 2018 Advance Registration Deadline Is July 20!

Archives and Archivists in the News

This is a thread about what my friend found in her attic. #LGBThistory by @Gawanmac. Like many archivists, I felt a pang when this thread concluded that the artifacts were better off on display in a bookstore than donated to an academic archives where they’d probably end up in a drawer — but I also couldn’t deny that the poster was right. Archives exist for people, not for their own sake, and these objects need to remain a part of the community that created them. @Gawanmac and his friend are showing us the power of citizen archiving and independent research.

Outcry over word ‘Aboriginal’ continues as historians push for ban on changing certificates by Rebecca Turner. In Australia, there’s an extremely complex public debate going on about removing pejorative terms from historical records.

Queering the Archive With Kate Messer by Beth Sullivan. I guess it’s Queer Citizen Archiving Week here at controlaccess. This interview with Messer is fascinating, touching on lesbian punk rock, the illusion of objectivity, the archive as memory repository for people who have died by suicide, and the difference between decluttering and curating. The sentence “thank God for Ann Cvetkovich” is uttered. Highly recommended.


Year in the Life: Rachel Fellman, part 5

In July’s A Year in the Life, Rachel Fellman contemplates Half a Year in the Life.

We’re halfway through 2018 now, which means I’m halfway through my first year in museum archives, as well as my year as New Professionals blog editor. This is a transitional moment: I’ve finally been at the museum long enough to know the collections.

An archivist’s relationship with the collections is very specific. We know them as well as we know our own stuff; we remember the storage room as well as we remember our homes. We might not know exactly where we put that multipack of toothbrushes or that banker’s box of business correspondence (circa 1950), but we have a mental map that can guide us.

This is a delightful party trick to know. If someone asks me for a photo of an ice show artiste from the 1970s, I can provide it. If they want to know where we keep our Emmy Award, the odds are pretty good that I won’t need to look at the catalogue. I can turn on a dime. It makes people happy, and it makes me feel skilled, and it gives good service to the patrons.

At the same time, there’s peril in knowing the collections. Namely, the better we know them, the longer our successors will have to spend learning them — because the better we know them, the less in touch we’ll be with the needs of the researcher who is starting from zero. After all, if we can find something ourselves, we won’t think as much about how to make it findable. One type of sight replaces another. This is why it’s important to bring new people into the archives — patrons, other archivists, administrators, anyone who’s curious — and to listen to what they say. Accessibility depends on our refusal to get too comfortable, even in our own metaphorical living room.

controlaccess: Relevant Subjects in Archives and Related Fields 2018-07-01

SAA News

Issue Brief: Net Neutrality

Thank You for Giving Back!

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Year in the Life: Kara Flynn, part 6

In this month’s Year in the Life, Kara Flynn reflects on processing.

This summer marks my first full summer here at Augusta University, since I started my position last August, only two weeks before the semester began. On the one hand, I am so relieved that it is summer—I’ve had much more time freed up by the lack of classes and office hours that I’ve been able to start tackling some of the projects that had to be put on the back burner during the academic year. On the other hand, Georgia summers may be the death of me. I was not built for this level of heat and humidity! But I digress. . .

One of the things that I’ve realized over the last few weeks is that I was letting the administrative/managerial aspects of my job overwhelm me, and bog me down a little bit, so I have made the conscious effort to use this summer to work on projects that I enjoy more. One such project is processing a large archival collection. It may surprise some of you who are in the trenches of processing day in and day out, but I actually miss having time to really devote to processing. In the last few months, I have managed to process a few collections, but it has been hard to schedule in that much concentrated time between all my other work demands.

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controlaccess: Relevant Subjects in Archives and Related Fields 2018-06-24

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!

SAA News

SAA Statement on Presidential Records

2018-2020 ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellows Named

SAA Foundation Awards Eight Strategic Growth Grants

SAA Foundation Awards More Disaster Recovery Grants to Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

Archives and Archivists in the News

Backpack-Sized Archiving Kit Empowers Community Historians to Record Local Narratives by Allison Meier

“For some people, archival supplies are really important,” [community archivist Josephine] McRobbie stated. “We have worked with several historic black towns in the South through our partnership with the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, and a theme that has shone through is the effects of environmental racism on how people are able to preserve historical documents. Not only are we in the South where it is muggy and humid, but there are many stories of African American communities that have lost documents and historic landmarks due to being located in flood-prone areas.”

News Monitoring Team: Indian Schools and Historical Othering by Steve Duckworth (SAA Issues & Advocacy).

So, first eugenics got stuck in my mind, and now I keep learning about more and more ways in which atrocious acts have been committed, for this reason or that (have you listened to the Seeing White podcast series?), which all really boil down to othering certain groups to keep the white people on top – assimilation, cleansing, separation, racial purity, etc. And I think, damn, we humans are really horrible (this, itself, is not really a revelation for me, but more of an expansion).

But humans can also manage to do some good here and there. So, and here I relate it back to archives, it’s painful to learn of this history, but it’s refreshing (in a way) to read stories of how archival records and cultural history are being used to return remains, artifacts, memory, and culture to people who have been wronged by our country (and others) – and perhaps even provide some healing to the wronged. These acts of restitution provide some concrete examples that can be used to influence archival ethics and practices today and perhaps encourage people to look up and out from their lives and small worlds, to see far afield and take in the big picture of all of us on this planet and what we’re doing to each other.