What Is #AskAnArchivist Day?
It’s an opportunity to:
- Break down the barriers that make archivists seem inaccessible.
- Talk directly to the public—via Twitter—about what you do, why it’s important and, of course, the interesting records with which you work.
- Join with archivists around the country and the world to make an impact on the public’s understanding of archives while celebrating American Archives Month!
- Interact with users, supporters, and prospective supporters about the value of archives.
- Hear directly from the public about what they’re most interested in learning about from archives and archivists.
How Does It Work?
On October 5, archivists around the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Take this opportunity to engage via your personal and/or institutional Twitter accounts and to respond to questions posed directly to you or more generally to all participants.
Questions will vary widely, from the silly (What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?) to the practical (What should I do to be sure that my emails won’t get lost?), but each question will be an opportunity to share more about our work and our profession with the public. Visit SAA’s Storify that summarizes the 2014 #AskAnArchivist Day to get more examples of questions and answers. Last year generated thousands of questions and answers, some of which have been Storified:
- FSU Special Collections & Archives
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
- Pennsylvania #AskAnArchivist participation
- Knitting records in archives
Between now and October 5:
PROMOTE #AskAnArchivist Day among your users and constituents via your institution’s website, Twitter account, blog, newsletter, and any other mediums available to you.
For additional inspiration on what your promotion of #AskAnArchivist Day might look like, see our Storify of marketing from the 2014 #AskAnArchivist Day, as well as these great examples of museums’ promotions of past #AskACurator Days:
- Cincinnati Museum Center
- Indianapolis Museum of Art
- The Library of Virginia
- Presidential Libraries of the National Archives
Examples of possible Twitter promotion:
- Happy #AskAnArchivist Day! Our archivists are waiting for YOUR questions. Tag us at @TWITTERHANDLE and use #AskAnArchivist.
- Archivists at @TWITTERHANDLE are gearing up for #AskAnArchivist Day on October 5! Literally—documents and photo boxes stacked and waiting!
ENCOURAGE the public to use #AskAnArchivist and your institution’s Twitter handle (e.g., @smithsonian) when asking questions so you won’t miss any that are intended for you and so we will be able to track questions and answers to measure overall participation.
TALK to your staff and colleagues to develop a plan for responding to tweets throughout the day. Will one person respond to all tweets? Will you share the task? Will individuals sign up for time slots and let the public know who will be available when?
Here’s one example:
- During #AskACurator Day, one person at the Indianapolis Museum of Art was selected to monitor both the general hashtag and tweets sent directly to @imamuseum. When direct questions came in or interesting general questions were posed via the hashtag, the designated monitor sent the questions to participating curators via email. The curators (and their archivist!) replied with their answers, and the monitor posted all answers from the @imamuseum Twitter account. (See the Storify of the IMA’s participation in #AskACurator Day for results.)
CREATE an institutional Twitter account if you don’t already have one. #AskAnArchivist Day and American Archives Month are both great opportunities to start one! Click here to get started.
And if an institutional Twitter account is not an option for you, answer questions from your personal Twitter account! If your institutional affiliation and job title are not already listed on your profile, be sure to add that for the duration of #AskAnArchivist Day.
If you plan to participate, please email SAA Editorial and Production Coordinator Abigail Christian with your Twitter handle so we can create a list of participants.
TWEET and GREET! Take advantage of this opportunity to join with archivists from around the country to talk to and hear directly from the public on October 5.