I.  Election announcement

Just a friendly reminder that if you have not yet voted for new members of the Acquisitions and Appraisal Steering Committee, please do so now!   The nominating committee, made up of Tara Laver, Linda Whitaker, and Jennifer Graham, worked hard to put together a strong slate of candidates that is representative of the diversity of individuals and institutions that make up our section.  The online election opened up last week, and you can cast your ballot until Tuesday, July 20.  For more information on the election, the candidates, and to cast your ballot, please visit


II.  Section Business

Annual meeting:  The Acquisitions and Appraisal Section will hold its annual meeting at the SAA Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 13.  This is an excellent time to check in with other members of the section, learn how you can become more involved, and hear a great session, all at the same time!  The following is the agenda for that meeting, as submitted by Section Chair  Carl Van Ness:


Acquisitions and Appraisal Section Meeting

Friday, August 13, 2010



1. Call to order, introduction of current leadership, and election runoff:  Carl Van Ness  (4 minutes)

2. Remarks from 2011 Program Committee:  TBA  (5 minutes)

3. Remarks by Council liaison: Dennis Meissner  (5 minutes)

4. Report from RLG Partnership on appraisal initiatives: Merrilee Proffit (5 minutes)

4. Report from the Deaccessioning and Reappraisal Development and Review Team:  Laura Uglean Jackson  (10 minutes)

5. Report on section sponsored and endorsed sections at 2010 meeting:  Carl Van Ness (3 minutes)

6. New business: Announcements from the floor, motions, call for project ideas, session proposals (15 minutes)

7. Update on section website: Call for recommendations.  (10 minutes)

8. Report on elections:  Tara Laver  (3 minutes)

9. Section meeting program:  Making Choices: Real life records selection for twenty-first century archivists.  (1 hour)

* Adriana Cuervo, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois, “Playing it by ear: appraisal considerations for acquiring music collections.”

* Chana Kotzin,  Jewish Buffalo Archives Project, "Down in the basement or out in the garage": Appraising Jewish community historical materials in Buffalo, NY.

* Claire Galloway, University of Texas-Arlington, “Direct Action Gets the Goods”:  Appraisal Techniques in the Texas Labor Archives.

10. Adjourn


Sessions at SAA:  In addition to the presentation at the Acquisitions and Appraisal section meeting, there will also be other sessions throughout the conference that might be of special interest to section members.  These include:

103.  "Western Trailblazing:  The Movement Toward State and Regional Collaboration."

306.  "Sex, Sports, and Parking:  From Documentation Strategy to Documenting Society."

410.  "Beyond the Ivory Tower:  Archival Collaboration, Community Partnerships, and Access Issues in Building Women's Collections."

607.  "'But He's Really Rich!'  Selection, Appraisal, and Fundraising Campaigns."

608.  "Labor Records....and So Much More:  New Directions in Acquisition, Access, and Outreach for Labor Collections."

For further information on these, and other sessions, consult the web page for the conference, which contains links to the program, at .


Implementation of Drupal:  In addition to the upcoming annual meeting, one further piece of business that is worth mentioning is that SAA has begun the process of using a new open-source content management system, Drupal.  What this means is that the contents of all of the SAA group websites--including this one--are being converted to Drupal in the coming months.  During this transition time, the most current news on the Acquisitions and Appraisal section website can be found at

Following the transfer of all of the group's web content from the old site to the new one--tentatively scheduled for early 2011--this page and all pages from the SAA website will revert to their previous web addresses, as the old web site is shut down.  Stay tuned for further details.


III. News from our members

Exhibit Announcement: For All Workers:  The Legacy of the Texas Labor Movement, 1838-2010

The University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit For All Workers:  The Legacy of the Texas Labor Movement, 1838-2010, featuring the personal papers of labor and political activist John “J.W.” Jackson, as well as numerous items from the Texas Labor Archives at UT Arlington.  The exhibit, open May 17 through August 7, is located in Special Collections on the sixth floor of the UT Arlington Central Library. 

The exhibit is inspired by J.W. Jackson’s generous donations of labor archives records and personal papers.  In the 1960s, J.W. Jackson began compiling and cataloging multiple boxes of labor records stored in the basement of the Wichita Falls Labor Temple; in the 1980s, when he retired, his purchase of the Carpenters Local 977 union hall prevented the destruction of all of these historic records.  This collection was donated to the university in 2009, culminating a 40-year effort to acquire these materials.  The records of the numerous Wichita Falls labor unions, as well as J.W. Jackson’s personal papers, provide a window into the impact of labor in a small Texas town. 

This exhibit, which highlights records and papers from J.W. Jackson’s donation, also includes treasures from the Texas Labor Archives.  In doing so, the exhibit accomplishes one of J.W. Jackson’s greatest passions – educating people about the labor movement.  It explains what labor unions are and why they are important, shows the importance of the labor movement as seen through the life of J.W. Jackson, and concludes with accounts of labor events that have impacted Texas history.  This exhibit shows that the labor movement, a little-known aspect of Texas history, is nevertheless inextricably intertwined with the legacy of what it means to be a Texan, shaping the makeup of who we as a state are today. 

For additional information on the exhibit, please contact:


Claire C. Galloway, C.A.

Labor Archivist

Special Collections

The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Box 19497, Arlington, Texas  76019-0497

(817) 272-7511



Submitted by Claire Galloway


III.  Acquisitions and Collecting Initiatives


ACORN Records Donated to the Wisconsin Historical Society

The national community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been one of the preeminent advocates for the disenfranchised in American society for almost four decades and the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Archives has been its official records repository since the early 1990s.  The ACORN Records are part of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Social Action Archives, a national collection that focuses on materials documenting economic justice; civil rights, civil liberties, and free speech; the Vietnam War, student activism, and the New Left; peace and justice activism; and reproductive rights/right to life issues.

Last year, ACORN was beset by several well-publicized problems and it ceased to exist as an organization in April 2010.  Upon learning that ACORN would be closing its doors, we reached out to our contacts at the organization to make sure that historical records of the organization were not lost.  Over the course of the past several months we have acquired records from the ACORN national office in New Orleans as well as local ACORN offices in St. Paul, Minnesota and Brooklyn, New York.  Additional records are slated for transfer in the coming months. 

Submitted by Jonathan Nelson, Collection Development Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, WI


IV.  Recently published:

The following is a sampling of recently published articles the pertain to the topics of acquisitions or appraisal.


Blouin, Jr., Francis X.  “Thoughts on Special Collections and Our Research Communities.”  RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Cultural Heritage; Spring 2010, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p23-31.  Abstract:  This article addresses the nature of special collections, and how they are constructed, and whether and how the advent of digitized collections will substantially alter the nature of such collections and their users.

Daniel, Dominique.  “Documenting the Immigrant and Ethnic Experience in American Archives.”  American Archivist.  Spring/Summer 2010, Vol. 73 Issue 1, p82-104.  Abstract:  In describing the history and evolution of ethnic and immigrant archives in the United States, from the 1960s onward, the author includes discussion of the appraisal of records in such archives, as well as the creation, description and use of such collections.

Devlin, Nora.  “The Ethics of Archiving "Murderabilia": The Papers of Ted Kaczynski.”  Journal of Information Ethics; Spring 2010, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p126-140.  Abstract:  Using the experiences of the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan, and its assistant curator (and former Acquisitions and Appraisal Section Chair) Julie Herrada, the author examines various issues that arose when that repository acquired the papers of the convicted “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski in 1997.

Hackman, Larry.  “The Origins of Documentation Strategies in Context: Recollections and Reflections.”  American Archivist; Fall/Winter 2009, Vol. 72 Issue 2, p436-459.  Abstract:  One of the main developers and proponents of documentation strategy as a means of building collecting repositories in the United States looks back over the past quarter century, reviewing the history of this idea within the American archival profession, and suggesting that it has continued relevance.

Harris, Rachel Lee.  “Sci-Fi Novelist's Papers Go To California Library.”  New York Times; October 5, 2009, p 2.  Abstract:  This article announces the acquisition of the papers of the late science-fiction novelist Octavia E. Butler by the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. 

“Harry Ransom Center to House Magnum Photo Archive.”  American Libraries, Apr2010, Vol. 41 Issue 4, p. 15.  Abstract:  Article announces the acquisition of the archives of the Magnum Photo cooperative by the Ransom Center at the University of Texas.

Ross, Harvey and Thompson, Dave.  “Automating the Appraisal of Digital Materials.”  Library Hi-Tech; 2010, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p313-322.  Abstract:  This paper critically evaluates the idea that various appraisal functions can be automated when dealing with digital objects, both by examining available literature on this topic and by examining the experiences of the authors in implementing such a system in the United Kingdom.

Yeo, Geoffrey.  “‘Nothing is the same as something else’: significant properties and notions of identity and originality.” Archival Science; June 2010, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p85-116.  Abstract:  In examining issues connected with the preservation and migration of digital records, the author compares notions of “significance” and “originality” as they apply to such records, with the notion of “value” as used in appraisal theory.  The author leaves the reader with the question of whether significance and originality are meaningful criteria for assessing digital records.