Blogs

Laura LaPlaca, Director of Archives. Photo courtesy of Laura LaPlaca. 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 Rachael Woody, owner of Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC, brings you an interview with Laura LaPlaca, the Director of Archives of the National Comedy Center. Before her tenure as Director of Archives for the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY, Laura earned a PhD in...
Jun 16, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Courtesy of Ilana Short. 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 Ilana Short, the Vault Manager for Invenium. Ilana Short, MA has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a master’s degree in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins...
Jun 9, 2020   Archives AWARE!
As noted in the Society of American Archivists’ June 2 Statement on Black Lives and Archives, the vitality of American archives depends on the safety of archives workers and an explicit commitment to social responsibility, justice, and anti-racism in the work that we do and the organizations we work within.  The SAA Council is convening a forum of reflection to move toward healing and understanding. We invite the archives community to participate in a reflection on the continuation of anti-...
Jun 8, 2020   Off the Record
We, the Council of the Society of American Archivists, unanimously condemn harassment and violence against the Black community. As archivists, we learn from history that this country was founded on genocide and slavery. We continue to witness the legacy of this history with systemic and structural racism that lead to marginalization, disenfranchisement, and death. The murder of George Floyd, and countless others, at the hands of the police manifest the continuing atrocities faced by Black...
Jun 2, 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! MLIS candidate at the University of Washington and SAA student chapter member Sarah Meidl brings you an interview with Mark...
Jun 2, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This article originally appeared as the Executive Director’s Message in the May/June 2020 issue of Archival Outlook, available soon. Zoom is our new and ubiquitous reality. We use it daily—some days, hourly—to connect as a staff, to facilitate the work of SAA groups, and to provide free webcasts. But SAA has been “zooming” in more ways than one since our world and work changed in early March. To wit: March 10: As COVID-19 interrupted the best-laid plans of SAA’s Committee on...
May 26, 2020   Off the Record
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the May/June 2020 issue of Archival Outlook. Nothing connects people more immediately and universally than a shared emotional event. Over the last year we have been through a lot, but nothing like this global pandemic. Our societal, organizational, and individual value systems have been challenged recently, but even more so by COVID-19. This shared situation puts everything in a new light. In some ways it may highlight...
May 21, 2020   Off the Record
Deriving Value from Collections in the Time of Corona (COVID-19) was delivered on April 7, 2020 by Margot Note (founder and principal of Margot Note Consulting), Chris Cummings (Founder and CEO of Pass it Down), and Rachael Cristine Woody (owner of Rachael Cristine Consulting). The webinar was sponsored by the Society of American Archivists’ Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) and is recorded on SAA’s Resources & Toolkits page. Abstract Join Margot Note, Chris Cummings, and...
May 19, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Photo provided by Rachel Thomas. 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! Rachel Thomas, MA, is the University Archivist at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon....
May 12, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Courtesy of Kat Siddle. 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 Kat Siddle, the Sample  Librarian for the Historical Garment Archive at lululemon athletica. As a self-described “clothes librarian”, Kat Siddle manages the historical garment archive at lululemon athletica’s...
May 5, 2020   Archives AWARE!
  Andretta Schellinger of Schellinger Research. Photograph courtesy of Schellinger Research. 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, we feature COPA member Rachael Woody’s conversation with Andretta Schellinger and her experiences using historical materials to...
Apr 28, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Mathew Brock, Mazama Library & Historical Collections Manager 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 Anna Trammell brings you an interview with Mathew Brock, Library and Historical Collections Manager for the Mazama Library. AT: How did you get your job? MB: When the position was posted I was volunteering at the Oregon Historical Society in the research library. The then...
Apr 21, 2020   Archives AWARE!
Samantha Cross Archival representations in popular culture can go a long way in informing and impacting our work to raise public awareness about archives and archivists, which is why we knew we had to talk to Samantha “Sam” Cross, creator of the POP Archives blog!  COPA member Nick Pavlik recently spoke with Sam on representations of archives and archivists in popular media, and what archivists can do to address the cringe-inducing and wildly inaccurate stereotypes we often see. ...
Apr 14, 2020   Archives AWARE!
  Photograph courtesy of Susan Malsbury 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 Rachael Woody, owner of Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC, brings you an interview with Susan Malsbury, the Director of the Estée Lauder Companies Archives.   Susan Malsbury graduated from Earlham College with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and continued her graduate work at Pratt...
Apr 7, 2020   Archives AWARE!
This article originally appeared as the President’s Message in the November/December 2019 issue of Archival Outlook. As I reflect on the past few months, I’m reminded of Kathleen Roe’s remarks at the 2014 Annual Meeting, in which she opened with the lyrics from “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent: “525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.525,600 minutes—how do you measure, measure a year?In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.In inches, in miles, in laughter...
Apr 6, 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! 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
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