Strengthening Our Connection

Cheryl Oestreicher (Boise State University) and Barbara Teague (The Library of Virginia),
2016 Joint Annual Meeting Program Committee Co-Chairs

The Program Committee for ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2016, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and SAA, is excited to be part of the planning team for the Atlanta conference, July 31‒August 6. We’ve taken seriously the SAA Council’s charge to experiment and innovate and the CoSA Board’s emphasis on information access and collaboration. But even as “continuous improvement” has been on our minds, we’ve also embraced the importance of continuity: providing two old and close friends—CoSA and SAA—with another opportunity to strengthen our alliance based on our shared commitment to archives and records. We look forward to bringing our groups together again to learn, share, and grow in sessions that will be worthy of the continued collaboration of our two professional organizations.

Feedback and “Experiments”

The “experiments” you’ve seen thus far included a later submission date for session proposals. The deadline was moved from late September/early October to mid-November, giving CoSA and SAA members and others more time to connect, brainstorm, and plan session ideas and speakers. Another very welcome change involved a move from using the time-worn and cumbersome Excel submission form to using a new web-based form that (we hope) made your submission process easier and (we know) will make the Program Committee’s review process much easier. We’re grateful to the SAA staff for shifting gears to make these changes possible.         

The Program Committee appreciated that so many individuals and groups used a Google document to share ideas about session topics with others. Based on several members’ suggestions, the Committee wholeheartedly endorsed its use to make the session proposal process more open and collaborative.  We received lots of positive feedback about this, so we hope it will continue for the 2017 conference and beyond.

Pop-up Sessions, which were initiated at the 2015 SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, will continue as an “almost new” feature. We’re planning to build on the successes and lessons learned last year to again offer these sessions. For those of you who were not in Cleveland, the Pop-Up Sessions offer an opportunity for sharing information on more timely topics or issues—similar to “Birds of a Feather” sessions at the Best Practices Exchange or to sessions of current interest that might be included in a CoSA work session or an SAA section or roundtable meeting.

We hope that attendees will provide feedback on these new initiatives, whether directly to the Program Committee or via the conference evaluation, so that future program committees can continue to improve their processes to ensure that we’re supporting attendees’ needs at the Annual Meeting.

How the Program Is Formed

The Program Committee met in chilly Chicago from January 14 to 16. Three CoSA members and ten SAA members considered the 141 session and poster proposals that were whittled down during the course of our meeting to approximately 70 education session slots on the final program. Prior to arriving in Chicago, each committee member read and ranked every single proposal. (If we estimate just 15 minutes on each proposal, that means that each Program Committee member spent around thirty-five hours—almost a full work week—reading and evaluating the submissions.) Our scores were then compiled into a master spreadsheet that served as the basis for our onsite discussions, debates, and negotiations.

Our goal was to provide even coverage of subject areas that address diverse levels of professional experience, as well as appropriate representation among speakers in accordance with the SAA Statement on Diversity. We sought to enable newer professionals, nonmembers, and non-archivists to participate in Joint Annual Meeting sessions so that they might gain a fresh perspective from both the archives and affiliated professions. And we made every effort to embrace a diversity of perspectives while ensuring that selected proposals are relevant to current and emerging trends in the profession.

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Archivists’ roles and duties are constantly changing and developing. ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2016 will be a chance to share ideas, promote projects, and provide practical advice on all aspects of the profession. We look forward to providing an outstanding educational experience for you in Atlanta this summer! 

2016 Program Committee (seated, left to right): Rebecca Hankins, Co-chairs Barbara Teague and Cheryl Oestreicher, and Sarah Grimm. (Standing, left to right): Suzanne Reller, Polina Ilieva, Elizabeth Skene, Tim Baker, Sarah Demb, Jamie Seemiller, Dan Linke, Danelle Orange, Brenda Burk.
Annual Meeting referenced: 


CoSA and SAA thank the following Sponsors for their Generous Support!