2017 Candidates for Description Section Steering Committee

Our candidates for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect are Blake Relle (Louisiana State Archives) and Elizabeth Wilkinson (University of Virginia).

Blake Relle (Louisiana State Archives) is our first candidate for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect:

Blake Relle received his Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archive management from LSU in 2013. Currently, he serves as an Archives Specialist at the Louisiana State Archives where he fulfills requests for materials made by the public as well as state agencies. Also, in this position, he processes and creates a DACS compliant finding aid for each collection transferred to the Archives. From 2013 to 2015, he served as a digitization intern at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Professionally, Relle has presented on "How to get new archival professionals involved in archival organizations?" and "Should archival professionals do continuing education?" At the SAA meeting in August of 2016, Relle was on a panel that discussed how archives and museums can provide access to their collections to people with disabilities. Relle serves on the Steering Committee of the Government Records Section (SAA) as well as on the Louisiana Archives and Manuscript Association (LAMA) Scholarship Committee.

Part of my job at the Louisiana State Archives is to process and describe collections. By getting involved with the Description Section, I will be able to exchange ideas with other archivists as well as help come up with solutions to problems that we are facing in describing archival material. Exchanging ideas and working together, we can come up with solutions to problems we face in our repositories. We have to work together because we can do more as a whole than we can individually.

Elizabeth Wilkinson (University of Virginia) is our second candidate for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect:

Elizabeth Wilkinson is the Archivist in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia where she is guiding efforts to improve access, discovery, and description of archival materials.  Prior to this position she served as Curator of Manuscripts at Georgetown University, and was the Processing and Public Services Archivist at Purdue University.  She holds an MLS and an MA in History from Indiana University.  Elizabeth has been a member of SAA for over fifteen years and has previously been chair and steering committee member of the Manuscript Repositories Section, and been a member of the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award Subcommittee.  She is currently the co-chair of RBMS’s Workshops Committee.  Other prior service includes being a committee member and chair of MAC’s Louisa Bowen Scholarship committee; member of MARAC’s Education Committee; and board member and president of the Society of Indiana Archivists.

Statement of interest:
As an archivist who processes collections, works with metadata, and provides reference service, I have seen how critical it is to provide the best description to our special collections resources that we can.  The better the description is the better the access and discovery will be, and the more valuable and essential we are to our patrons.  I am enthusiastic about the prospect of serving the section as the Vice-Chair in order to support colleagues in discovering and applying the best approaches, standards, and technologies to describe archival materials.

Our candidates for Steering Committee Member At-Large are Rachel Searcy (New York University) and Michael Seminara (University of South Dakota).

Rachel Searcy (New York Univesity) is our first candidate for Steering Committee Member At-Large:

Biographical statement:
I am the Accessioning Archivist at New York University and also act as our primary ArchivesSpace administrator. I hold an MA in History and an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, as well as a BA in English and History and a Certificate in Celtic Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I’m deeply interested in our profession’s role in democratically building bridges between our collections and users, and think that principled archival description is foundational to these efforts. I’d like to help empower archivists to create, manipulate, or share archival description - with a broad view of the concept of description - with an eye toward equitable access to information, interoperability and reusable data, and extensible approaches to arrangement and description. I think that the Description Section could serve as an excellent resource and partner to other SAA groups to help archivists and archivists-in-training employ best practices, learn about efforts at other institutions, build upon the strengths and skills we already have, and develop a toolkit for solutions to common issues with legacy description. I’m also a reliable source of puns, although that’s admittedly not terribly relevant in this context.

Michael Seminara (University of South Dakota) is our second candidate for Steering Committee Member-At-Large.

Biographical Statement:
Michael Seminara is a Project Archivist at the University of South Dakota currently working on a large collection of political papers with plans to assist in a 2.6 million image digitization/description project for a related collection of political papers. His earlier experiences include internships in the archival description of photographs and manuscripts at the Schomburg Center and Adelphi University, respectively. Michael holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University with a specialization in Digital Libraries.

Statement of Interest:
I strongly support this section’s commitment to providing a platform for discourse on description. Good descriptive practices allow archivists to refine intellectual control, improve access, and strive for greater research outcomes. As archivists face new challenges in describing collections, it is vital to maintain a community for response. As a member of the Steering Committee, I hope to facilitate this discussion as we all work towards creating records that are utilized to their full potential.

Our candidates for Newsletter Editor are Cheri J. Crist (George Eastman Museum), Lori Dedeyan (The Bancroft Library, University of California - Berkeley), and Lindsay Shupala (University of North Texas - Health Science Center).

Cheri J. Crist (George Eastman Museum) is our first candidate for Newsletter Editor:

Biographical statement:
I respectfully submit my name as a candidate for the Newsletter Editor position with the Description Section of the SAA. The position really brings together my former and present careers as a writer/editor and now, as an archivist. For 15 years, I worked with content for a variety of publication environments and was tasked with ensuring grammatical and mechanical consistency in others' writing as well. I've done a little bit of everything: From senior editor of a music magazine to technical editor at an environmental assessment company, from manuscript editor at a literary agency to proofreader at an international ad agency. Part of my job involved creating style guides tailored to each individual writing environment. Now I've come full circle, writing a processing manual (with style guide!) to aid in the creation of consistent, DACS-compliant finding aids in my current job as project archivist at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Having worked as an archivist in varying positions since 2009, I would be honored to bring my experience in the editing and archival fields to the Newsletter Editor position, and I appreciate your consideration.

Lori Dedeyan (The Bancroft Library, University of California - Berkeley) is our second candidate for Newsletter Editor:

Biographical statement:
My name is Lori Dedeyan and I am a Processing Archivist at The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, where I work with a variety of collections and manage web archiving. I earned my MLIS from UCLA in 2014 and have previously worked as an archivist at UCLA Library Special Collections.  I’m interested in becoming the Newsletter Editor for the Description Section because I’ve always considered research and writing to be an integral part of my archival work, whether in creating collection finding aids or promoting our collections through publication and exhibition, and would like to expand that focus into editing, as well.  I’ve really enjoyed the collaborative work I’ve undertaken as current member of the Issues and Advocacy Section's General News Media Research Team and would like to continue to engage with and support my fellow archivists in conversations about our work and the profession. As someone with a joint background in archival work and writing, I believe that I can contribute meaningfully to this position.

Lindsay Shupala (University of North Texas - Health Science Center) is our third candidate for Newsletter Editor:

Biographical statement:
Lindsay Shupala is an MLIS graduate student at the University of North Texas and is focusing on Archival Studies and Imaging Technologies. She currently works at UNT-HSC as a Recruitment/Admissions Associate for the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. Before her current position, she worked with undergraduate students on their academic writing at the University of Texas at Austin as a graduate teaching assistant. After graduating with a Master of Arts in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, she had the chance to edit the Undergraduate and General Information Catalogs with an administrative team from the Registrar’s Office at UT-Austin. She enjoys editing and wants to continue that line of work. Because she is an MLIS student, she would like to learn from professionals who are out in the field, by playing an active role in serving as SAA’s Newsletter Editor.

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