Blogs

This is the latest post in our series Responses and Retrospectives, which features archivists’ personal responses and perspectives concerning current or historical events/subjects with significant implications for the archives profession. Interested in contributing to Responses and Retrospectives?  Please email the editor at archivesaware@archivists.org with your ideas! Sandy Rodriguez is an archives administrator with a background in audiovisual archives, digital repositories, and digital...
Mar 31, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the January/February 2020 issue of Archival Outlook. As we enter this new year—and new decade!—I want you to know that I hear you. Regardless of the  medium used to communicate your thoughts or concerns, I hear you and the SAA Council hears you. Each day I work on listening, moving beyond my own distressing experiences, and healing. We all have learned biases—conscious or unconscious—that we bring to work, home, and...
Mar 30, 2020   Off the Record
The Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has presented Clue, a live action mystery event twice a year since the fall of 2012. Clue is designed to bring people into the Wilson Library and demystify both the building and the special collections and archives housed within. Emily Jack is the Community Engagement and Outreach Librarian at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and has been involved with the Clue team since its inception in 2012. In the following...
Mar 24, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Joanna Black Listen to compelling stories about archives from A Finding Aid to My Soul, a storytelling event at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2019, sponsored by SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA). The event was hosted by Micaela Blei, two-time Moth Grand Slam Story Champion and former director of the Moth’s Education Program, who coached the ten storytellers in advance of the event, and also told a story of her own. Part 3 features stories from Joanna Black, archivist at the William E. Colby...
Mar 24, 2020   Archives In Context
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the September/October 2019 issue of Archival Outlook. What a successful and transformative joint conference we had in Austin in August! The SAA Council carefully considered the then-pending legislation called the “bathroom bill” when determining to remain in Austin for our 2019 Annual Meeting. Council members value and acknowledge all gender identities, and it was important in this instance to show up in Texas in...
Mar 23, 2020   Off the Record
The Society of American Archivists is committed to supporting archivists during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The SAA Council strongly recommends that leaders, boards and trustees, and administrators of archives close public-facing facilities until archives workers are significantly less likely to be exposed or contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. While this decision is made locally, we urge decision-makers to act swiftly and proactively to authorize closures and remote work to...
Mar 18, 2020   Off the Record
This is the latest post in our new series Archival Innovators, which aims to raise awareness of the individuals, institutions, and collaborations that are helping to boldly chart the future of the the archives profession and set new precedents for the role of the archivist in society. Dr Meral Ekincioglu (courtesy of Dr Meral Ekincioglu). In this installation of Archival Innovators, SAA Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) member Rachel Seale interviews Dr. Meral Ekincioglu on her research...
Mar 17, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Leah Harrison Listen to compelling stories about archives from A Finding Aid to My Soul, a storytelling event at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2019, sponsored by SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA). The event was hosted by Micaela Blei, two-time Moth Grand Slam Story Champion and former director of the Moth’s Education Program, who coached the ten storytellers in advance of the event, and also told a story of her own. Part 2 features stories from Leah Harrison, manager of research archives and...
Mar 17, 2020   Archives In Context
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the March/April 2020 issue of Archival Outlook. One of my favorite SAA Core Values is Professionalism. I use it as a lens when at work. To me, although some may disagree, Professionalism refers to a competence in a specialized skill, not necessarily a behavior. Professionalism: Archivists encourage professional development among their coworkers, foster the aspirations of those entering the archives profession, and...
Mar 16, 2020   Off the Record
Arielle Petrovich Listen to compelling stories about archives from A Finding Aid to My Soul, a storytelling event at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2019, sponsored by SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA). The event was hosted by Micaela Blei, two-time Moth Grand Slam Story Champion and former director of the Moth’s Education Program, who coached the ten storytellers in advance of the event, and also told a story of her own. Part 1 features stories from Micaela Blei; Arielle Petrovich, instruction...
Mar 10, 2020   Archives In Context
By Rachel Vagts, SAA Vice President/President Elect After the Annual Meeting in Austin last summer, a group of archivists put together the SAA19 Archivist Salary Transparency Open Spreadsheet. As a big believer in transparency being the first step to resolving issues of wage equity, I was happy to see folks take up this effort. When I filled out the sheet I was also impressed to see all of the data points they included. But what really caught my eye was the field for the amount of student...
Mar 9, 2020   Off the Record
“What’s an archivist? Who uses archives? Isn’t everything online?” As archivists, we sometimes find ourselves answering questions about what exactly we do and why we do it. During ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2019 in Austin, Texas, hosts Chris Burns, Colleen McFarland Rademaker, Nicole Milano, and Anna Trammell “took to the streets” to ask attendees to respond—on the spot with no preparation—to questions archivists commonly receive. Listen to their responses and find...
Mar 3, 2020   Archives In Context
Photograph of Rebecca Cline. Courtesy of Walt Disney Archives Photo Library. 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.  COPA member Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist at Iowa State University, brings you an interview with Rebecca Cline, the Director of the Walt Disney Archives. Becky Cline joined The Walt Disney Company in 1989, and became a member of the staff of the Walt Disney Archives in...
Mar 3, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the July/August 2019 issue of Archival Outlook. If you have not yet looked at SAA’s Strategic Plan for 2020–2022, you should! The strategic goals provide direction for the work that members request. In the Strategic Plan, the Council has identified tangible outcomes that committees, sections, Council members, and staff will work on to support these goals and objectives. Read the full document at https://www2.archivists.org...
Feb 26, 2020   Off the Record
Why do you love being an archivist? On Valentine’s Day, the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) asked archivists to share their answers to this question. Check out their responses below. Why do YOU love being an archivist? Share your answers with SAA's Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) using #ILoveBeingAnArchivist or send your responses to archivesaware@archivists.org! Stay tuned as we share more responses! #ArchivesAWARE #HappyValentinesDay pic.twitter.com/T4C09Oc1dg —...
Feb 25, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This is the latest post in our series Responses and Retrospectives, which features archivists’ personal responses and perspectives concerning current or historical events/subjects with significant implications for the archives profession. Interested in contributing to Responses and Retrospectives? Please email the editor at archivesaware@archivists.org with your ideas! Geof Huth is the Chief Records Officer and Chief Law Librarian at New York State Unified Court System. He’s a co-host of An...
Feb 18, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This is the latest post in our series Responses and Retrospectives, which features archivists’ personal responses and perspectives concerning current or historical events/subjects with significant implications for the archives profession. Interested in contributing to Responses and Retrospectives?  Please email the editor at archivesaware@archivists.org with your ideas! Samantha Winn is an archives worker based in southern Appalachia with an interest in comparative archival practices,...
Feb 12, 2020   Archives AWARE!
SAA’s 2020 election has presented some new and unique challenges for our organization. SAA is uniquely democratic among professional organizations in that the Nominating Committee, as well as the governing Council and its officers, are elected by the general membership. In many organizations, candidates are slated by the executive committee or the board and/or individuals are elected to the board and officer positions by the board. We are gratified that our election process allows...
Feb 6, 2020   Off the Record
The 2019-2020 SAA Nominating Committee sent the following message to the SAA Executive Committee and Executive Director on January 17, 2020: Dear Executive Director and Executive Committee, Though the petition for the addition of Kris Kiesling to 2020’s SAA ballot has already been posted and shared without any response from the Nominating Committee, we would like to take the opportunity to address what has taken place during this year’s process. While we acknowledge that...
Jan 28, 2020   Off the Record
This is the latest post in our series Responses and Retrospectives, which features archivists’ personal responses and perspectives concerning current or historical events/subjects with significant implications for the archives profession. Interested in contributing to Responses and Retrospectives?  Please email the editor at archivesaware@archivists.org with your ideas! My name is Jeremy Brett. I am an archivist/librarian, as well as one of the founders of the Concerned Archivists Alliance (...
Jan 28, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Dear SAA Members, I am writing to you in response to the Society of American Archivists (SAA) statement of January 19, 2020, “NARA Exhibit on 2017 Women’s March in Washington, DC”, in which SAA expressed its concern about NARA’s alteration of a photo of the Women’s March.  The SAA statement explained that our action raised deep archival issues of falsification of historical records, politicization of the National Archives, and violations of archival ethics...
Jan 27, 2020   Off the Record
Photo of Krü Maekdo (courtesy of Krü Maekdo).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.  COPA member Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist at Iowa State University, brings you an interview with Krü Maekdo, the founder of the Black Lesbian Archives. Krü Maekdo has been an innovator in community organizing, gracing stages around the world sharing, her charm, wit, and presence, while contributing to...
Jan 22, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This post was authored by guest contributor Margot Note, CA, CRM, IGP, PMP. Note is the principal and founder of Margot Note Consulting, LLC, an archives and records management consulting business in New York. She’s a professor in the graduate Women’s History program at Sarah Lawrence College and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Library and Information Science program at St. John’s University. She’s the author of five books, including her newest Creating Family Archives: A Step‐by‐Step...
Jan 14, 2020   Archives AWARE!
By Lae’l Hughes-Watkins University Archivist, University of Maryland, College Park “I am a mediator between what has been and what is yet to come.”Klamath Henry, Emory University graduate, Project STAND panelist (February 21, 2019) October 19-20, Project STAND held its third national symposium at Chicago State University. On the second day, Charles Preston, a student activist, and panelist spoke about being on the front lines of the fight to keep Chicago State University...
Jan 6, 2020   Off the Record
Rachael Woody (photograph courtesy of Rachael Woody). This is the latest post in our series Responses and Retrospectives, which features archivists’ personal responses and perspectives concerning current or historical events/subjects with significant implications for the archives profession. Interested in contributing to Responses and Retrospectives?  Please email the editor at archivesaware@archivists.org with your ideas! As the end of the year approaches we begin to take stock and reflect....
Dec 30, 2019   Archives AWARE!
Christine “LadyBee” Kristen. 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.  COPA member Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist at Iowa State University, brings you an interview with Christine “LadyBee” Kristen, Burning Man’s Archivist, Art Collection Curator, and Photo Gallery Editor. Christine Kristen (a.k.a LadyBee) is Burning Man’s Archivist, Art Collection Curator...
Dec 18, 2019   Archives AWARE!
We offer a sincere apology to SAA members and our readership for how the Brown Bag Lunch event during Archives*Records 2019 and pre-publication of Frank Boles’ article unfolded last August, and for any ways in which those actions have alienated members or marginalized their work. These events have affected many people, in various ways, and we believe that it is important to acknowledge and recognize that hurt and pain. Most importantly, the conversations around these issues revealed that there...
Dec 16, 2019   Off the Record