Blogs

Bryan Whitledge is Archivist / Manager for University Digital Records for the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University. He currently serves as vice-chair of the Society of American Archivist’s Committee on Public Policy (SAA-COPP). Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, and Bryan Whitledge, SAA Committee on Public Policy, at the 2020 National Humanities Advocacy Day events. Have you ever considered how archives are funded? – we are talking about a true assessment of...
Apr 13, 2021   Archives AWARE!
On October 22, 2020, Ryan Anthony Donaldson & Rachael Cristine Woody presented the webinar “Archives Are Always Essential” to 280 attendees. Below is a summary of the webinar complete with key takeaways, a summary of questions and answers, and a list of resources. Many of us in the field know that archives are essential, but sometimes it feels like a best-kept secret. It’s challenging to convey the true value of our collections despite our best efforts with digital content,...
Apr 6, 2021   Archives AWARE!
What made you fall in love with archives? What do you love about your work? Here, Jeanie Fisher, Reference Archivist, Seattle Municipal Archives, Seattle, WA, shares her love of archival work. Jeanie Fisher is a Certified Archivist and has over 15 years of experience helping users in both libraries and archives find and access the information they need. What do you love about being an archivist? Let us know at lmiller@tulane.edu. We want to hear from you! Share your stories,...
Mar 31, 2021   Archives AWARE!
This article originally appeared as the Executive Director’s Message in the March/April 2021 issue of Archival Outlook. We’ve slipped into another March, and the “before times” seem so remote. I’m both exhausted and exhilarated by our transition to a new way of doing things. Our need to connect—and the relative ease of doing so virtually—has meant more frequent meetings of SAA’s volunteer groups and a resultant uptick in activity. The SAA Council and the Foundation Board now meet every...
Mar 23, 2021   Off the Record
https://zoom.us/ Reviewed by Lauren Kata, CA, New York University Abu Dhabi Library [PDF Full Text] Zoom Wordmark, from https://zoom.us/brandguidelines Many of us do not need headlines such as “Why Zoom Rose to the Top during the Coronavirus Pandemic,”[1] or “Zooming Ahead: The Explosive Growth of Zoom during the Pandemic,”[2] to understand the video conferencing software’s impact on a variety of industries and workflows throughout 2020. While Zoom’s effect on the archival profession...
Mar 19, 2021   AA Reviews
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the March/April 2021 issue of Archival Outlook. It’s with bittersweetness that I share that our long-serving executive director, Nancy Beaumont, will step down from her position once a successor has joined the association. During her eighteen-year tenure, Nancy has guided us through periods of both growth and challenge. She will be greatly missed, as she has become a friend to so many of us during her tenure. We’re...
Mar 17, 2021   Off the Record
https://whowillwriteourhistory.com Reviewed by Sister Grace Marie Del Priore, Felician Sisters of North America Provincial Archive [PDF Full Text] The 2018 documentary Who Will Write Our History tells the story of Oyneg Shabes, the secret archives of the Warsaw Ghetto. Directed by Roberta Grossman and distributed by Abramorama, it is a moving and thought-provoking documentary and one of the first major films about this archives. The film had a limited release run in theaters in 2018 and...
Mar 16, 2021   AA Reviews
On February 22, 2021 Katherine Barbera, Archivist & Oral Historian at Carnegie Mellon University and member of the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA), talked with Clint Pumphrey and Chase Anderson about their remarkable work on the Outdoor Recreation Archive. The Archive is a unique collaboration between Utah State University’s Special Collections and its Outdoor Product Design & Development program and boasts over 2,000 items from 200 outdoor companies, from REI to Patagonia...
Mar 16, 2021   Archives AWARE!
Welcome to the first entry in the new ArchivesAWARE series, “Archival Authors.” Here we will feature archivists who have used their professional experience to inform books they have written for the general public. What inspired them? How does one write a proposal for a publisher? How did archivistics affect the tone or direction of their book? What did they want readers to take away? In this first series post, Deirdre A. Scaggs, Associate Dean, Special Collections Research Center, and...
Mar 12, 2021   Archives AWARE!
Dear Reader, The SAA journal American Archivist is going completely digital! Volume 83, no.2 (Fall/Winter 2020) is the last issue published in a paper format.  Last summer the Council of the Society of American Archivists made the decision to publish the journal in an entirely digital format beginning with Volume 84:1 (Spring/Summer 2021)—a decision made in support of the responsible stewardship of SAA resources. Ever-increasing...
Mar 11, 2021   Off the Record
Petrina JacksonVeronica Reyes-Escudero As American society reckons with racial injustice, many archivists wonder how they can combat systemic racism in the workplace and the profession. Archives in Context reached out for guidance from Petrina Jackson, director of the Special Collections Research Center, Bird Library, Syracuse University; and Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Katheryne B. Willock head of special collections, University of Arizona Libraries. As chair and incoming chair of the Rare...
Mar 9, 2021   Archives In Context
What made you fall in love with archives? What do you love about your work? During February, we asked SAA members to tell us why they love what they do! Here are some of the responses we received: “It gives me the opportunity to interact with the people who have created such vast and interesting materials in the course of their work. Being given the responsibility to select what is remembered and forgotten gives me an opportunity to intimately learn so much about a person or entity to...
Mar 8, 2021   Archives AWARE!
Archives + Audiences: Michelle S. Koo on the Museum of Vertebrate and Zoology Collections at University of California Berkeley. This is the latest entry in our Archives + Audiences series, which features the perspectives of archival audiences – scholars, journalists, filmmakers, artists, activists, and more – for whom archives have been an important part of their life and work. In this post, COPA Early Career Member and Archivist, Kristianna Chanda interviews Michelle Koo, manager of the...
Feb 24, 2021   Archives AWARE!
Alan VelasquezUnit Coordinator, Digital Scholarship & InitiativesTulane University Libraries In this article, Alan Velasquez reveals his creation of short videos promoting the digital holdings of Tulane University Special Collections. Since May of 2020 Tulane University Libraries has been producing a video series, Collection Connection, released on the library’s YouTube channel. This series has been a collaboration between two library departments: Tulane University Special...
Feb 17, 2021   Archives AWARE!
https://toolkit.dobetterlabor.com/ Reviewed by Erin Passehl-Stoddart, University of Oregon [PDF Full Text] One of the most pressing issues raised within libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) in the last few years is ethical labor practices for contingent workers, including term-limited, grant-funded, and unpaid positions. One website that weaves together materials that explore issues and outcomes on LAM’s contingent labor is the Collective Responsibility Labor Advocacy Toolkit.[1] This...
Feb 15, 2021   AA Reviews
Residents of East Tacoma, Washington, line up to use a public phone booth, circa 1943. Image courtesy of Tacoma Public Library Online Digital Collections. As we leave 2020 behind us, Archives In Context begins 2021 on a hopeful note. In this special episode focused on archivists and archival work during COVID-19, we hear from you! Archivists called and wrote to us with their advice on navigating this challenging time and shared the ways they are finding joy, what they are thankful for, and...
Feb 9, 2021   Archives In Context
On January 19, 2021 the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) member Rachael Woody sat down (virtually) with Elizabeth Stauber of the Hogg Foundation Archives, a recent recipient of the Advocacy Award from the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board. Elizabeth Stauber stewards the Hogg Foundation’s educational mission to document, archive and share the foundation’s history, which has become an important part of the histories of mental and public health in Texas, and the evolution of mental...
Feb 9, 2021   Archives AWARE!
https://syrianarchive.org Reviewed by Laila Hussein Moustafa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [PDF Full Text] In 2011, a group of Syrian citizens took to the streets calling on the Syrian government for democratic reforms. This was the beginning of a civil war that has lasted for almost ten years. Originally a regional war, today it is an international war.[1] The war has taken the lives of over half a million Syrians; an additional 5.6 million are refugees and 6.2 million are...
Feb 3, 2021   AA Reviews
Archival Innovators: Rebecca Hankins on the Rich LGTBQ+ Collections Housed in Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A & M University. Rebecca Hankins with Academy Award-winning writer and director Dustin Lance Black, writer of Milk, when he spoke at A&M. This is the latest post in our series Archival Innovators, which aims to raise awareness of individuals, institutions, and collaborations that are helping to boldly chart the future of the archives profession and set new...
Jan 28, 2021   Archives AWARE!
This is the newest post in our There’s an Archivist for That! series, which features examples of archivists working in places you might not expect. In this article, Mott Linn talks about his role leading one of the world’s larger scientific research archives. Mott, thanks for talking with us. Please tell us a little about yourself. ML: My BA is from the University of Delaware, I have master’s degrees in history (University of Wisconsin – Madison), librarianship (Drexel University),...
Jan 15, 2021   Archives AWARE!
On December 16, 2020 Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) member Rachael Woody sat down (virtually) with Deborah S. Davis to interview Davis on her remarkable success in building an Archives & Special Collections program at Valdosta State University. Davis is a Full Professor and the Director of the Archives & Special Collections at Valdosta, a program she’s been building since 1998. During Davis’ tenure, she has turned a closet (literally) archives collection into a...
Jan 5, 2021   Archives AWARE!
Dorothy Berry What is self-care, and why should archivists care? Listen to our conversation with Dorothy Berry, digital collections program manager at Harvard University’s Houghton Library, as she explores a more sophisticated understanding of self-care—one that goes beyond eating brownies and taking bubble baths. With wisdom and humor, Dorothy talks about how and why we should be kinder and gentler to ourselves and our colleagues. Episode Extras Watch Dorothy’s virtual...
Dec 16, 2020   Archives In Context
https://memorylabnetwork.github.io/resources.html Reviewed by Annie Tummino, Tomasz Gubernat, and Jeanie Pai, Queens College, City University of New York [PDF Full Text] Launched by the DC Public Library (DCPL) in 2017, the Memory Lab Network (MLN) is a digital preservation program designed to establish do-it-yourself digitization stations in public libraries nationwide. Each year, the MLN selects seven public libraries as project partners to receive assistance in building their own...
Dec 15, 2020   AA Reviews
SAA has always been small and cost conscious, and has long subscribed to the “doing more with less” habit of thought. (As I’ve mentioned a few times recently, our habit is to punch above our weight!) But lately we’ve had some challenging conversations, born of COVID fatigue, about how we might do less with less. That concept is difficult for me, and I’ve preferred to reframe those conversations more along the lines of “what’s really important and what can we stop doing?”—the same questions...
Dec 7, 2020   Off the Record
Lately I’ve been thinking about how much my career in archives has been strengthened by leaders I’ve learned from—and the opportunities I’ve had to work with those newer to the field. In September, the archives profession lost a great leader and champion of our profession, Dr. David B. Gracy II. An enthusiastic supporter of all things archives, Dr. Gracy was a teacher and mentor to many of us in the profession. It was my pleasure to witness that mentorship during the four years he joined us at...
Dec 4, 2020   Off the Record