Category Archives: Other Professional Conferences

A Day at SCA

Guest author: Casey Seyb
Science Data Archivist at Raytheon IIS

The Society of California Archivists (SCA) Annual General Meeting was my first conference attendance as a recently employed archivist and volunteer with a local historical preservation society, the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society. It was difficult to limit myself to just one day and even more difficult to decide which sessions to attend, as I felt I could learn a lot from any number of them.

One memorable moment was a group that presented for the community engagement talk. They had collaborated with other department students at their university to create a way for people to virtually interact with archives. I had been thinking about that since I had attended a tech talk at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) during my internship. At the time, I thought virtual engagement of archives would be a good next step in getting people interested in what archives have to offer for everyone. And they succeeded in creating a way to do that!

There were a few people in attendance who I already knew: two fellow interns from a previous gig at JPL in the summer of 2015 (one of them was presenting on a panel). A third was an archivist at a local university, someone who had given me great advice and insight into the field, before and during my MLIS (which I completed in August 2016).

Even without that, the event had a communal sense–people in the SCA are supportive, hard-working and engage with collaborative pride. And I gained many tips and resources, especially how to provide more outreach for my local society through photo-sharing and social media.

This was inspiring as I was due to receive a great job offer in a somewhat-related field, but one that doesn’t provide the opportunity for more archival training or skill development. Being at the conference reminded me how passionate I feel about archives and how many roles one can play in the field, traditional or niche. It also demonstrated how much potential there is for networking, professional growth and recognizing my own potential. That was a critical, valuable and timely experience for me.

Casey Seyb is a Science Data Archivist with Raytheon IIS in Pasadena, CA. As a JPL affiliate with Raytheon, she assists several NASA earth missions with technical document preservation. She also represents the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society as their Archives Chair and volunteers in the archives, co-owned by the City of Sierra Madre, CA. She completed her MLIS at San Jose State University in August 2016.


Attending MARAC as a Student & First-Time Conference Attendee

Guest author: Lauren Bell
Archives and Preservation MI student at Rutgers University. 

Figure 4

Lauren with her poster during MARAC poster presentation, 4/21/17.

On April 20-22 I attended the bi-annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Newark, New Jersey. I had initially planned on being at the conference to attend workshops and get a better understanding of conference structure, but gradually assumed other roles throughout the conference.

This was the first conference I’ve attended as a graduate student in the archives field and I was blown away by the amount of opportunity presented at this gathering. On the first day, I attended a workshop titled “Dating 19th Century Portrait Photographs,” given by Gary Saretzky (Monmouth County Archives). During this workshop, Saretzky discussed various 19th century photographic media including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, carte de viste, and cabinet cards. Saretzky went through each of these photographic types at length, providing many visual examples of how one could determine the date that the photo was taken. Some consistent elements to look for amongst all of these types include dress and accessories worn by subject in the photo, color of photo, the casing of the photo, material of photo, photographer’s marks, and captions. The presentation was supplemented with reading material and a hands-on look at some photographs in Saretzky’s own personal collection. Continue reading

Personal Digital Archiving (PDA) 2016

Guest author: Colin Post
Ph.D. (Information Science) and M.A. (Art History) student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and SNAP Roundtable Steering Committee Member

I had the pleasure of attending the recent Personal Digital Archiving conference, held this year at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor from May 12 to May 14. As I was considering a venue to present on a project that I’ve been involved with, the IMLS-funded Learning from Artists’ Archives program at UNC, PDA 2016 seemed like a great fit. I wanted to talk about how the artists’ archives project has helped artists to create and sustain their own personal archives, specifically through a series of workshops where local North Carolina artists have been able to gain necessary skills for tackling both analog and digital archiving projects. As the focus of the artists’ archives project has been to help artists with archiving at the personal level, the PDA conference seemed to me a fantastic opportunity to both share the successes and challenges of our project, as well as to learn about other exciting personal archiving efforts taking place across the country.

As I dug in for the first day, looking over the program of sessions, I quickly realized that the PDA conference is unique in many ways. The conference brought together an eclectic mix of information professionals from a variety of institutions, academics and graduate students with diverse research interests, businesses and tech companies developing digital archiving tools, and (perhaps most importantly) individuals and community organizations hard at work sustaining vital archiving projects. Despite the broad mix of participants, the total number of attendees was not overwhelming, filling a single, smallish lecture hall. Between sessions and during breaks, participants engaged in friendly dialogue, quick to spark a conversation with a presenter to learn more about their research or project. This congenial atmosphere pervaded the conference, generating a collaborative environment with professionals, academics, developers, and citizen archivists alike exchanging ideas and learning from each others’ experiences. Continue reading

And Now, I Present: SCA AGM as a Panelist

Guest author: Emily Lapworth
Digital Special Collections Librarian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and SNAP Roundtable Steering Committee Member

The Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting (#SCA16) was held in Santa Rosa, California from April 7 to 9, 2016. I attended on Friday, April 8th.

Dr. Michelle Jolly, a history professor from Sonoma State University, gave the plenary address on Friday morning. Dr. Jolly discussed her own recent experiences with primary sources and her struggle getting her students to use and understand them. Part of the problem is standardized testing- teachers are teaching to ensure that students are prepared to pass these exams, but at the cost of cutting out other kinds of learning and the development of creative and critical thinking skills. Faced with an ambiguous assignment and resources, and no one right answer, today’s undergraduate and even masters students feel overwhelmed and anxious, sometimes flat out refusing to participate.

Therefore it is important that teachers, professors, and archivists collaborate to share skills and experience in order to teach students the skills they need to use primary sources. Dr. Jolly discussed workshops she participated in with K-12 teachers and ideas for activities and assignments that introduce students to primary sources effectively. Members of the audience shared similar programs other universities are implementing to overcome this challenge, and Dr. Jolly asked that the lines of communication are improved between the different professions and universities so that we may build on each others’ successes. Continue reading

The First Conference: SCA AGM as a First Time Attendee

Guest author: Mary Priest
MLIS student at the University of California at Los Angeles and 2016 James V. Mink Scholarship Winner

IMG_8131I glanced down at my packing list one final time before pulling the door closed behind me. “Chargers, tooth brush, business cards, baby Yoda plushy (my travel buddy)…YEP!” I dashed to my car in the early morning light and eagerly began my road trip to Santa Rosa, California for my very first conference: The Society of California Archivists’ Annual General Meeting (SCA AGM).

I was introduced to SCA at the USC Archives Baazar in my first year of my MLIS program and by my second year, I became the Programs Chair for their first student chapter at UCLA. Because SCA board members were so supportive of our student group, I knew that their conference would likely be just as welcoming. The AGM was also alluring because it seemed a little more intimate than some of the nation-wide conferences and it was more affordable for this thrifty grad school student. When looking for more information about the conference on their website, I found details about James V. Mink Scholarship which would help support a student’s attendance at the meeting and a pre-conference workshop, so I applied. A couple months before the meeting, I received an email stating that I was selected as the 2016 Mink scholarship recipient. I squealed gleefully, shared the news with my grandma, danced around my room, and then registered for the conference.

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SBA ICA Conference 2016

Guest Author: Samantha Bradbeer
Historian, Hallmark Cards, Inc. 

The annual Section on Business Archives – International Council on Archives conference was held at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, GA from April 5-6. Over 130 archivists from both ICA and SAA were in attendance. The theme of the meeting was “Sustainability.” Presenters discussed how to sustain an archive, how archives can contribute to sustainable business patterns and how archives can support brand growth.

The two-day conference consisted of two keynote presentations, fifteen presentations, a panel discussion, a tour of the Coca-Cola Archives and a reception at The World of Coca-Cola.


The Coca-Cola Company hosted this year’s annual SBA ICA conference at their headquarters (right) in Atlanta, GA.

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New England Archivists (NEA) Spring Meeting 2016

Guest author: Kristen Weischedel
MSLIS and MA Dual Degree Student at Simmons College School of Library and Information Science

NEA Spring 2016New England Archivists hosted their annual spring meeting in Portland, Maine from March 31-April 2. This year’s theme was “Uncharted Waters,” examined through a multidisciplinary lens. (You can find more discussion on twitter with #neasp16, each session marked with #sSessionNumber, for example 1.2 is #s102)

The pre-conference options on March 31 included a Day of Service at Maine Historical Society, or one of three workshops, emphasizing different approaches the preservation, description, engagement with different types of records (oral histories, paper records, and electronic records). More about each of these workshops can be found here.

The conference kicked off with a plenary talk by graffiti artist, Caleb Neelon, who talked about the evolution of graffiti in American culture and how he incorporates historical artifacts into his graffitti. Although not an archivist by training, Neelon spoke on how he resonated with the work of archivists and how his graffiti was his way of preserving moments. Continue reading