Women Archivists Roundtable Meeting

Women Archivists Roundtable Meeting
Meghan Courtney

Business Meeting:

Lynn Eaton – Archives 2015 in Cleveland.

  • Location based on results of membership surveys.
  • Currently there’s no theme, though the program committee has interest in presentations related to advocacy and access.
  • The sessions will remain in the 60-75 minute range, and all formats are welcome – feel free to be creative and suggest a new variation.
  • Roundtable endorsements are no longer a part of the proposal process. If your session is not accepted, it may be appropriate to contact a section or roundtable to serve as the program portion of that meeting.
  • Pop up sessions will be added. This idea is not yet concrete, but will allow 5-10 sessions Thursday and 5-10 sessions Friday to address topics as they arise. More information about this in October.

Alexandra Orchard – Old Business

  • WAR’s themes and accomplishments this past year include scholarship and professional development.
  • WAR took on the issue of Annual Meeting childcare options, spearheaded by Heather Dean. SAA evaluated the current system and will keep an eye on member responses and demand for childcare.
  • Several goals accomplished:
    • Social media presence increased through Facebook, Live Tweets, Blog, Steering Shares. The blog will continue to host these 3-question interviews with members of the Steering Committee.
    • Plans to continue in person meet-ups, such as at SAA last year, MAC, and Murphy’s after the WAR meeting.

Alexandra Orchard and Helen Kim – New Business

  • The WAR elections resulted in a new Co-Chair (Leslie Van Veen McRoberts of Salisbury University) and a new Steering Committee member (Carrie Hintz)
  • In progress:
    • New SAA employment survey to update the data last collected in 2001. If anyone is interested in helping on that project, please contact Helen Kim.
  • Upcoming:
    • More live tweets! If anyone has topic ideas, feel free to share those.
    • WAR Internship starting to help with social media and communications support. If anyone has ideas for projects, contact Alexandra Orchard at Alexandra@wayne.edu.

Program: A workshop on professional development.

Getting Published: Jeanette Bastion of Simmons College.

Former book reviewer at American Archivist, published in several journals, and serves as a mentor to students.

What’s required?

  • Passion for your subject! Editors can tell.
  • Write about what you know – a case study or presentation translates nicely into an article.
  • Look for special issues in journals that might be well suited to your topic.

How you can increase your odds of success:

  • Include your own ideas; don’t just cite other authors. Archives is always changing, so take a risk on an interesting idea that may turn out to be wrong but does move the conversation forward.
  • Don’t sit around waiting for someone to ask you to write a book review – if you have an interest, reach out.
  • Try writing an article with someone else to exchange ideas.
  • Pass the draft around to colleagues! The more reads before submission, the better.
  • Consider contributing to an edited collection of works.
  • When you start writing, start with some of the less demanding journals but note that some specialize in certain types of information.

The audience then discussed their experiences with the peer review process. Some said that as reviewers, they have never turned down an article due to content, but they have rejected some based on poor organization or writing. Others noted that they had had articles rejected, but that comments can only help improve the work.

Salary Negotions and Self-Promotion: Beth Myers, Director of Special Collections at Smith College

Asked for a show of hands about who has negotiated a salary, and only about half the people in the room raised their hands.

While many applicants are averse to negotiating, it’s important to recognize that when you are offered a position the power dynamic has shifted a bit in your favor.

When deciding how to negotiate, have all the information you can.

  • How valuable is this position to the institution? How much responsibility does it carry?
  • Are you being asked to start as soon as possible?
  • How badly do you want to work there?
  • Do you know what you’ll need to maintain the quality of life you want?

Myers urges job seekers to avoid “career gratitude,” especially early in one’s career. It is always your job to advocate for yourself. The institution won’t be doing that.

Having been on both sides of salary negotiation, Myers insists that no one will ever be shocked that you try to negotiate. However, you should know what your base requirements are before you get started.

Note that negotiating isn’t just about the salary. If there’s no room for negotiating there, try:

  • Technology (do you need a certain computer or software).
  • Professional development funds and release time.
  • Moving expenses (ask if they can be dispensed before the move).
  • Housing allowance or help to offset the costs of moving family.
  • Working from home.
  • Office supplies (whiteboard? Whatever makes work better for you).
  • Signing bonus (Hey, it happens sometimes).

No matter what happens, protect yourself!

  • Always get that salary/benefits package in writing and make sure you’ve got a signed offer before you uproot your entire life.
  • Where possible, negotiate over email so you have a record and time to think between responses.
  • Don’t accept “no room to negotiate” at face value. Ask about issues beyond just salary.
  • Start high – nothing bad will happen to you for asking. In many cases, any retirement contributions or salary increases are directly tied to your starting salary.

There’s a lot of problematic advice going out to women about negotiating. Should you lean in? Should you lean halfway in so people don’t think you are a pushy nag? All of that is pretty condescending. The thing to remember is DO NOT BE PASSIVE.

Presentations and Conference Proposals: Arlene Schmuland, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, Co-Chair, SAA Annual Meeting Program Committee 2014

Some background on the SAA Program Committee:

  • The proposal form is usually created in June.
  • 12 people serve on the committee.
  • The committee has a 3 day meeting to rank and discuss the proposals.

Tips for submitting:

  • Since SAA is embracing some non-traditional formats, use the proposal to explain how the presenters will be interacting with the audience. Don’t just say “lightning talk.” Briefly illustrate what that means to you.
  • Reference previous presentations that may be related and provide some context for your proposal.
  • If you want to present several case studies, get someone to be a commentator and tie everything together.
  • Get buy-in from everyone on the panel before you submit!
  • Don’t shy away from discussing theory.
  • Keep in mind that during joint conferences, such as 2014, there will be more competition for slots and more pressure to appeal to all the groups involved.
  • Sometimes the committee likes a “lighter” presentation.
  • Note that roughly 100% of posters are accepted.
  • Reach out to like-minded presenters and coordinate your efforts
  • Get feedback.

If you find yourself confused by the reasons behind your rejection, the committee may not have understood your proposal – go for clarity.

Not interested in presenting? If there’s a topic you want to hear about but you’d rather not talk about it yourself, propose ideas for other people to discuss. Post them to listservs, etc.

Volunteer for the program committee!



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