Archival Advocacy Resource Page
The Issues and Archives Roundtable has compiled the following list of online resources from organizations familiar to most archivists and from other entities with overlapping political and policy interests in areas like federal and state records and information provision, and public funding for cultural institutions. A large part of advocacy involves convincing financial and political stakeholders of the value that archives add to a given community, and all related efforts need be supported by evidence. The resources listed below (which also serve as access points to more resources) contain the types of quantitative information and qualitative narratives that help make the case for archives. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point for those looking for facts, arguments, and compelling reasoning to lend weight to their advocacy efforts. The list will be updated and edited as needed. Please feel free to contact the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable with submissions and recommendations.
Archives Frequently Asked Questions:
The Society of American Archivists compiled a one page "What is an Archives" information sheet, based on a 2003 article by Lee Ann Potter, aimed at the general public. It includes information on the different types of archival repositories as well as the materials that one would find in each.
New England Archivists has compiled a list of questions frequently asked of archivists. Information includes the organization's upcoming events, education in the field, and information on donating materials, as well as advice for those not in field on how to access and work with materials. Information on education and getting involved are locally focused.
The Washington State Digital Archives Frequently Asked Questions lists the types of archives and their materials found in an archives, explains the use of finding aids, and gives information on the differences between primary and secondary sources.
This YouTube video was made in conjection with Smith College class IDP 140 by Student Maida Goodwin. This video highlights the types of materials found in archives as well as preservation needs of these materials and the processing fuction. YouTube also includes links to other related videos about archives.
This Smithsonian The Bigger Picture blog post is a brief explanation on what an archives incorporates, including and explanation of the word "archives." It covers what is meant by the term "collection," and explains to the general reader to understand by using examples that they would be familiar with (i.e., a scrapbook), explaining "[a]n archives is a group of materials that someone intentionally decided was unique and had enduring value."
Value of Archives:
This Q&A section on the research value of archives is taken from The role of archives and records management in national information systems: A RAMP study, prepared by James B. Rhoads for UNESCO. Though generally applicable, much of the information can be used for creating talking points and informational narratives when advocating for archives.
Greg Sanford, Archivist for the State of Vermont, wrote this humourous short piece that nicely sums up the value of archives and the archivists role in making sure that historical records are available in the long run.
Lists are often the most straightforward way of articulating the finer points of a subject and this one from Melissa Mannon's ArchivesINFO blog is pretty thorough accounting of why archives are valuable.
The Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) website contains a number of Outreach Information Sheets covering most aspects of the archives profession and archival value.
Advocacy Resources from Related Professional Organizations and Coalitions:
The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) website acts as a sort of clearing-house for state-by-state information, resources, and news announcements affecting State Historical Records Advisory Boards and other archives-related issues.
Unlike those not in stand-alone repositories, many archives and archivists exist within larger institutions and organizations including businesses, museums, and libraries. Fortunately for archivists our main allied profession - librarians - have a very active advocacy contingent and have compiled numerous resources that, while not specific to archives, are applicable to archivists as much of the time our fates are intertwined and inseparable. The main American Library Association (ALA) Office for Library Advocacy website contains a number pages, links, publications, and other materials invaluable to advocacy work. These include: return-on-investment resource list, fact sheets on usage and economic impact of libraries, and information alerts on federal funding and pending legislation for libraries.
There are several umbrella groups that help secure funding and support for archives, including the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), which provides regular advocacy alerts and a page with project funding priority statements.
The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) is a consortium of small to large size institutions and organizations that also puts our periodic calls to action and contains a webpage with advocacy tools.
The Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) sponsors reports, articles, presentations, and other authoritative publications that can be culled for information useful to making the case for archives.
Advocacy Resources from Government Agencies:
Includes an interactive map of NHPRC-supported projects in for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Projects funded are categorized by Records Projects and Publications Projects and years awarded.
Provides an overview of the Institute’s programs and resources, including useful tips and tools to develop competitive grant applications and staff contact information for each grant program.
Includes LSTA Grants to States profiles for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These profiles provide a snapshot of immediate challenges, program goals for 2008-2012, and an exemplary project for each state. Profiles are provided in PDF format.
IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) Connecting to Collections planning grants are designed to foster networks among organizations in a state, commonwealth, or territory to provide safe conditions for its collections, develop emergency plans, assign responsibility for collections care, and marshal public and private support for collections care.
Throughout this multi-faceted, multi-year initiative, collections care institutions across the country can capitalize on the initiative’s professional development opportunities, grant programs, the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, and other conservation and preservation resources. Provides profiles of institutions that have been involved with the initiative by state.
A video that can serve as a call to action, spurring activity at the local, state and national level to care for America’s collections. This can be displayed at and to institutions and funding bodies, as well as linked from websites.
Advocacy Resources from Policy and Issues Organizations:
Center for Responsive Politics: At CRP's OpenSecrets.org Action Center, archival advocates can identify the ways in which money operates in U.S. politics and its effects on government policies, including those concerning library and archives resources.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW): CREW's resource page provides a gateway to the mission and activities of this important watchdog agency. You can also link to CREW's list of state-based ethical watchdogs, here.
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF): ITIF, concerned with policies relating to IT innovation and the impact of IT on daily life, has a page devoted to issues, arranged alphabetically, surrounding these policies.
PEW Internet Project: One of our most important weapons in the battle for advocacy is the value that libraries and archives add to communities. A Web presentation on this subject is available for viewing here.
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