Hello from the SAA annual meeting! What a whirlwind trip. It’s been a really wonderful experience so far to sit in on so many wonderful presentations and roundtables. New Orleans is such a vibrant city, and though I’ve been busy with the conference, I’ve also been able to sneak away and enjoy a lot that NOLA has to offer (much of which has been amazing food thus far!). This is my first time attending the annual meeting, and I’m amazed at how large and well run this conference is.
The presentations have been diverse, though many continue to focus on the digital side of our profession, covering topics such as the digital divide, cloud storage benefits and disadvantages, and crawling websites. These presentations have left room for audience participation and provide the opportunity to hear how other institutions face these challenges, which is enormously helpful as I work through similar issues at my own institution.
Jackie Dooley’s plenary talk on Friday was directed towards the necessity to provide opportunities to students and new professionals, and I found it to be hugely reassuring that someone who has such an illustrious career in this profession has taken the time to understand the challenges facing those of us who are just beginning our careers. 25% of SAA members are students, and she emphasized the importance to engage and work with these members to welcome them into this profession and encourage their participation. She emphasized the need for true entry-level positions, one’s that will allow students with experience in internships and volunteering to apply and have a true shot at the job. And on the topic of internships, she discussed the necessity to ensure that internships, which are too frequently unpaid, benefit the intern over the employer. These positions are often our only opportunity to “learn on the job” before we start to search for employment post-graduation. Her recommendations to employers working with students or new graduates included offering praise and credit, recognition, listening without correcting, and learning from their perspectives. I found her talk to be honest and a reminder to myself to support friends, interns, volunteers, and other new professionals in any way that I can.
Outside of the world of SAA: The last two months at the EDA have been incredibly busy. We’re continuing to work on the Callister collection, and we’re thankfully on track to finish the project in time for our NHPRC grant deadline in October. It’s hard to believe that a year has almost passed in what feels like the blink of an eye. It’s been an amazing first year out of school, and I feel so fortunate to have had this job opportunity. While the grant ends in October, I’ve recently been offered an 18-month extension to continue to stay on at UC Berkeley to process another collection.
Outside of the NHPRC grant, I’m researching new opportunities for bringing in funding for projects outside of the traditional paths of grants and donations, including exploring the utilization of crowd funding sites. These funding endeavors would be for minor amounts of funding, rather than what would be needed for the full processing of a collection. I’ll have more to share on this topic next month, but I’m looking into the possibility of putting together a panel talk on this topic for the next annual meeting. If any of you out there know of projects of have participated in projects that use alternate methods to gather funding and would like to work on putting together a panel discussion, please feel free to contact me!