SNAP Project Idea: a First-Timer’s Guide to the Annual Meeting

By Rebecca Goldman, our SNAP Chair

As you may have heard, SNAP has recently implemented a project proposal process, and we’re encouraging anyone who has an idea for a project to write a blog post first, to get feedback and possibly recruit project team members. I thought I’d start us out with such a blog post. The format mirrors the format of our project proposal form.

Describe your project (please provide as much detail as possible).

Last month, SAA put up a blog post asking for feedback on how to make the Annual Meeting more welcoming. I posted some ideas, including a first-timer’s guide to the Annual Meeting posted on the SAA website. A couple of weeks later, SAA executive director Nancy Beaumont  called me up to ask if this is something SNAP would be interested in working on. And I think it’s right up our alley.

What are the goals of your project?

To create a guide that helps new attendees navigate and feel comfortable at the Annual Meeting. Some of the information might be SAA-specific (e.g. here’s what all the different types of events are), some might be more about attending professional conferences in general (e.g. here’s how to save money on dining while you’re in town).

How is your project relevant to SNAP’s mission and goals? (

A first-timer’s guide will make the Annual Meeting more accessible to students and recent grads with advice about how to get the most out of the meeting, and how to attend on a budget. It will also make it easier for new archivists to get involved in SAA by highlighting opportunities for involvement at the Annual Meeting.

How does your project fulfill a need within SNAP or the archives profession?

There is currently no resource available specifically for first-time Annual Meeting attendees. We’ve heard from new archivists that the existing First-Timers meeting doesn’t completely fill the need, and advice for new attendees will be more useful if it’s available before the conference–or even before attendees start making travel plans.

Will you be partnering with other groups or organizations?  If so, please list those groups and explain their roles in the project.

The Membership Committee would be a natural partner for this project.

How will you evaluate the success of your project?

We could add questions about the first-timer’s guide to the Annual Meeting evaluation form (here’s the 2012 form, as an example). Response would reveal whether new attendees were aware of the first-timer’s guide and whether they found it useful. Any suggestions received through the survey could be incorporated into the guide for 2014.

Please provide a timeline for your project.

I don’t have an exact timeline yet, but I think it makes sense to release different parts of the guide at different times. For example, information about hotel options could come out around the time that the conference hotel starts taking reservations. The guide should be finished by mid-July, a month or so before the Annual Meeting starts.

So, before SNAP can go ahead with a project like this, we need some feedback from you guys, such as (but not limited to!):

  • What information would be helpful to include in a first-timer’s guide?
  • If you’ve been a first-timer recently, what information do you wish you’d had before attending?
  • Are there any other groups we could collaborate with?

5 thoughts on “SNAP Project Idea: a First-Timer’s Guide to the Annual Meeting

  1. archivistkira

    What a great idea!

    You may want to collaborate or talk to one or more roundtables. sections, and (sub)committees to get a sense of what information they might want to share with new members, first-time attendees, or SNAPpers! As a section vice-chair of the Description Section, one of things I’m thinking about now is how we can encourage more interaction from section members. First time attendees, new members, and SNAPpers would be a great group to talk with from my perspective and I’m happy to chat. Just let me know!

    1. Rebecca

      Maybe we could invite all sections/roundtables/committees to submit a quick blurb for the first-timers’ guide about items of interest to new attendees? Something like: “The Description Section will be recruiting volunteers for its XYZ Project. Section members and non-members are encouraged to stop by the meeting to learn more about the project.”

  2. Eira Tansey (@eiratansey)

    This seems like something that would dovetail well with the SAA Annual Meeting Task Force, so I would encourage that alliance to be made. Will this be a document that lives on the SNAP Roundtable website?

    I think it’d be really good to have a whole section of the guide that details how business is decided at the meetings. I’ve gotten more interested in the “sausage making” of SAA recently. For example, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER who is at the meeting and able to attend NEEDS to go to the annual business meeting. To me, this is like the equivalent of voting – if you can show up to the polls and don’t do so, you don’t earn your right to complain. If you’re at the meeting and able to go to the annual business meeting but choose not to do so, you’ve given up your right to be a vote/voice on very important membership matters. (That said, I thought there was some talk about changing how certain votes are taken given that many people cannot attend the annual meeting, but I’m unclear what the current status of this is)

  3. Rebecca

    I think this would be a document for the main SAA website or the Annual Meeting part of the site, rather than for the SNAP site. It would be aimed at all new Annual Meeting attendees, even those who aren’t students or recent grads. The AMTF would be a great partner–we’ll definitely contact them if this project gets going!

    I volunteered to work at the Career Center during the business meeting in 2011, and I told everyone who came over for a resume review to run to the business meeting after they got reviewed. 🙂 It’s important! And I’d like to see explanations of all the types of meetings that happen at the Annual Meeting and who can attend those meetings. I think the majority are open to anyone, but that’s not obvious from the program.


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