National History Day Committee

The National History Day Committee of the Reference, Access and Outreach Section is chaired by Shaun Hayes. The committee's primary objective is to disseminate information about and advocate for National History Day amongst archivists and archival repositories, the National History Day organization, and participants. The Reference, Access and Outreach Section's resources page includes a variety of information sources about National History Day of interest to archivists. 

National History Day and Archives Toolkit

Reference, Access, and Outreach Section
National History Day Committee Report
August 13, 2010

The Reference, Access, and Outreach Section charged the National History Day Committee in February 2010.  The committee formed and divided into two working groups: the first, under co-chair Shaun Hayes, works directly with archivists; the second, led by co-chair Doris Malkmus, fosters coordination between archivists and affiliates of the National History Day office to meet these goals.   As a preliminary, fact-finding first step, committee members of both working groups interviewed 36 state coordinators between May and July 2010, gathering information on existing communication networks between NHD state coordinators and teachers, students, and archivists; resources available and/or needed to promote and enhance the use of local archival resources; and what additional teaching tools and resources were most needed.  NHD Committee members entered answers from the interviews into a survey tool and a summary of that data is attached to this report.

Analysis of the data revealed that NHD state coordinators are in close communication with teachers through email, mailings, and other publicity.  Between a quarter and a third have a paid educator who works closely with NHD teachers and students.  On the other hand, communication with local repositories in the state was thin and inconsistent and information about doing archival research was rare.  For example, 5.6 percent of state Websites offered guidance about using finding aids, 44 percent had information about finding online primary sources, and only 55% included links to repositories. 

Improved communication to archivists was high on the list of priorities.  When asked what new resources and education tools they considered most desirable, most state coordinators selected an online Webinar for teachers on how to effectively research materials in repositories, followed by straightforward handouts for students about how to use primary sources. More outreach to archivists was a close third. 

These interviews clearly point to a need for enhanced understanding and cooperation between archivists, K-12 teachers, and NHD coordinators in disseminating information about NHD and teaching the use of primary sources.  Interviews identified specific tools and resources most desirable to support this cooperation.  This assessment information provides evidence for future strategies and tasks, and can form the groundwork for funding requests for resource development.
The NHD Committees will use this information, just compiled, to strategize goals and objectives in accordance with the committee charge, and begin work on actions steps to enhance archivist participation in NHD and a more engaged relationship within NHD networks.

Survey of National History Day State Coordinators 2010

Survey Summary

Survey Results - Text only  (excel spreadsheet)


NHD Committee Responsibilities: 

Develop ongoing communication and dissemination plan using RAO's SAA's website, a blog, a wiki, or other appropriate tool that allows the committee to share information while also allowing others to provide feedback and share information with the committee and other archivists.

Review resources available from RAO, NHD, and other sources of use to archivists. 

Compile and update bibliography and/or literature review including conference presentations as well as links to websites and other appropriate resources for and from archives and archivists participating in NHD.

Prepare or solicit newsletter articles, blog posts, and other appropriate communication pieces about archivists and NHD, the committee's work, and related topics for archival organizations (SAA, regional and local archivist organizations, etc.), blogs, and other communication mediums.

Develop short and long-term goals and objectives. Review annually.

Explore opportunities for collaboration between the NHD Committee, other SAA sections, roundtables, and committees, the larger community of archivists, the National History Day national and state organizations, and other appropriate bodies.

Provide updates to the Reference, Access, and Outreach Section (RAO) at least twice annually.

Evaluate group's membership annually seeking new members as needed. The committee shall have at least five members.

Actively participate in reviews of the committee's progress and purpose and make recommendations for appropriate further actions, resources, etc.

Reports and Communication: The committee will strive to provide timely updates to RAO and the larger community of archivists as appropriate. At least two updates must be provided annually to the RAO Steering Committee including one in advance of and/or at the RAO annual meeting. These reports will then be made available in whole or abridged form as appropriate at a minimum via the RAO section blog, newsletter, and/or listserv as well as via any additional communication mediums (wiki, blog, etc.) established by the committee. The committee may consider other formal and informal publication projects as appropriate and as opportunity allows. 

Committee's Role:  The committee serves an advisory role with its products intended to benefit the larger archival community and users of repositories.

Anticipated Date of Resolution:  The committee's progress and effectiveness will be evaluated annually by the RAO steering committee with changes made to the charge as needed.



Doris Malkmus, Pennsylvania State University, Co-chair

Shaun Hayes, American Heritage Center, Co-chair


Outreach to Archivists Working Group:

Shawn Hayes, American Heritage Center, Chair of Working Group

Kimberlee Brownlee, 

Polina Ilieva,  UC-San Francisco

Kathryn Otto, Minnesota Historical Society

Lisa Sjoberg, Concordia College

Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Iowa State University


Outreach to Teachers Working Group:

Doris Malkmus, Pennsylvania State University, Chair of Working Group

George Bain

Lynn Eaton, Duke University

Greg Kocken, American Heritage Center

Jennifer Quier,  Claflin University

Robert Sieczkiewicz, Drexel University

Ashlee Till, South Carolina State University  



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