Tag Archives: professional conferences

Year in the Life: Elizabeth Shulman, Pt. 8

Elizabeth Shulman is one of our participants in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Elizabeth for a year. You can read her previous posts here.

Earlier this month, I attended a day-and-a-half Local History Librarian conference hosted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The conference was generously sponsored by the North Caroliniana Society which made it free to all attendees. As soon as I learned about the conference through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s partners list-serv, I knew I had to attend. I figured this was at the very least a good way to meet colleagues doing similar work from across the state. The majority of attendees work for public library systems across North Carolina.

The vast majority of the speakers either worked at Wilson Library at UNC or worked for the state government at either the State Library or State Archives. The first two sessions were the type of work being done at Wilson Library and the state agencies. The third was an open forum for participants to discuss their collections and ask questions of other librarians in the room. The question we spent the most time discussing was “How do I get more people to learn about and use my collection?” I ended up talking about my Archival Petting Zoo as well as my efforts to promote the collection on social media. That wrapped up the morning. In the afternoon there were sessions about demographic of users in North Carolina, conservation (which is a struggle for us public librarians), state-level grant applications, and free North Carolina oriented reference resources. The last session was particularly interesting to me as I learned about several digital map resources. I have been getting a lot of map questions lately so it was definitely a helpful resource I’ve passed along to my patrons. The first day of the conference ended with a lovely dinner at the Carolina Inn and a dinner talk about the story food can tell in the archives by the head of the American Studies department at UNC.

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Getting Ready for SAA 2017: 9 Ways to Prepare for SAA in Portland

The Annual Meeting is a month and a half away, but in our minds we’re already there. If you are just now finding the time to plan for #SAA17, here are nine things you can do to prepare:

  1. Sign up for the Navigator Program: If you’re a First Time Attendee, this is a great opportunity to be mentored by a conference veteran! The deadline is coming up so act fast and request a Navigator by June 15!
  2. Sign up to give a Lightning Talk at the SNAP Section Meeting: Did you miss the deadline to submit a poster or presentation for the Annual Meeting? Get your feet wet presenting at a professional conference with a short talk for SNAP! Submit your proposal by June 23.
  3. Sign up for the SAA Career Center: Looking for a job? Feel like your resume needs some sprucing up? Sign up for mock interview and career consultation appointments by July 10.
  4. Sign up to share Rides or Rooms with other SNAPpers: Looking for a ride, a place to stay, or need a roommate? Conferences are expensive–let’s help each other make them affordable! Use our spreadsheet to connect with others looking to share rides or housing.
  5. Sign up for SNAP’s Lunch Buddy Program: Conferences can be lonely, so make some new friends through the Lunch Buddy program. You can volunteer to lead a meal excursion or join one that’s already been planned on our spreadsheet.
  6. Plan your conference schedule: The interactive conference schedule allows you to mark what looks interesting and see who else is planning on attending a session. Create your own schedule (and make sure you plan to attend the SNAP Section Meeting on 7/26 from 2:30-3:45pm).
  7. Share your SAA 2017 experience with others through the SNAP Blog: Not everyone can make it to the Annual Meeting this year, so be a friend and summarize the sessions you attend for those who can’t! Sign up to summarize any session or conference event.
  8. Check out SAA’s tips for New Members, First-Timers, and Students: A large conference like SAA can be overwhelming. Make sure you’re well prepared and consult these tips.
  9. Read SNAP’s First Timer’s Guide: Not sure what to wear? Overwhelmed by the program options? Read SNAP’s guide and feel at ease!

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

Student Experience: First-time Conference Presenter

This post is part of the Student Experience series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me

Guest poster Irina Sandler, Simmons College student and archivist at the Baker Library of Harvard Business School as well as the Cambridge Historical Society, discusses her experience as a first time presenter at the New England Archivists Spring 2017 meeting

There is almost nothing as nerve-wracking as public speaking.

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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

Prepping for Prepping for SAA 2016

Nope, the title of this post is not an accident!

It’s kind of hard to believe, but SAA’s annual conference is less than three months away. In the usual fashion of covering many angles of attending the conference leading up to the conference, we’re planning posts that will help you prepare for the conference, and the SNAP Roundtable Steering Committee has been working to put together some information (forthcoming) that will help you navigate the conference and the area. Another group working on this – from a different angle – is your wonderful host committee, which includes SNAPers JoyEllen Freeman and Cathy Miller! Here is the host committee’s blog, which already has lots of great information about what to do and how to get around.

As usual, SNAP has Lunch Buddy and Roommate/Rideshare signups, and we’ll also have a spreadsheet for you to sign up for session recaps before the conference – and this year we’re encouraging pictures! We’re also looking at different ways to cover the conference that go beyond the session recaps, with more information to come on that later. I want to go back to the two spreadsheets, though. SNAP tries very hard to think of ways to make SAA’s annual conference as welcoming and accessible for new members as it possibly can, and to that end, cutting costs is a big issue for us, but so is making certain new members have a support system. If you’re a more established SNAP member, please consider hosting a Lunch Buddy date, and if you’re someone who isn’t, don’t be scared to join us for breakfast/lunch/dinner/etc. We’ve each been the newbie, and we get how difficult it can be to “break into” a new place. Good news! We’re an easy bunch to “break into.”

Finally, I’d be remiss in not pointing to the excellent posts on conferences past, which includes tips for networking, session proposals, and more.

As a native Georgian, I’m really excited to have SAA come to my home state, and I hope y’all enjoy your time in the Capital of the South!