Theodore Calvin Pease Award: Emily Larson

Emily Larson, a dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is the 2019 recipient of the Theodore Calvin Pease Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes superior writing achievements by students of archival studies, and entries are judged on innovation, scholarship, pertinence, and clarity of writing.

Larson’s paper, “Big Brother, Big Data: Digital Preservation of Big Data in Government,” was nominated by Luciana Duranti, professor and director at InterPARES. Big Data is central to the concerns of contemporary archivists. The paper discusses government big data and proposes that archivists be responsible for it. Larson urges the reader to consider big data’s technical aspects, primarily its velocity, volume, and variety, but also its claims to knowledge production and decision-making. She provides thoughtful and valuable connections between the archival literature and issues associated with big data, and examines the limited archival research and scholarship on the subject.

“The writing is very clear, given the complexity of the issue. The paper shows curiosity, initiative, and the willingness to take risks,” noted Duranti. Larson's paper will be published in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of American Archivist.