Advocacy and Outreach Opportunities at the Archives*Records 2020 Annual Meeting

Last week was the start of the SAA Annual Meeting with the Teaching Primary Sources Unconference kicking off the Pre-Conference activities. Here is a list of some recommendations for awareness and advocacy sessions and creative outreach.

Please note, there is a mix of live, recorded, and on-demand sessions. Make sure to visit the schedule and view session descriptions to see which category a session or meeting falls and whether you need to register for a session.

Wednesday, July 29

College & University Archives Section

Join the Section to continue discussion on the various topics we’ve had at our weekly “coffee chats”, including collecting COVID stories, working and managing remotely, combating systemic racism at our institutions, and our plans for returning to campus. We’ll split into breakout sessions to explore these topics further. But first (after our business meeting), we’ll hear from Katie Howell, who developed a rapid response collecting initiative to document COVID-19 on the campus of UNC Charlotte.

Students & New Archives Professionals Section

Join SNAP for a brief business meeting as we present updates on section projects and advocacy work from the past year and introduce new steering committee members. 

Friday, July 31

Archives Management Section

Look, I Made a Hat: Agility in the Archives
Archives managers are required to don many hats (as it were) in addressing a range of challenges and moving quickly to implement solutions. After conducting some section business, we will transition to presentations on incredibly timely topics: Budgeting, Personnel, and Advocacy.

Monday, August 3

Storytelling Workshop with Micaela Blei

A powerful story has the potential to connect us to our own experiences, pull a community together, and engage new audiences with our work. In this master class storytelling workshop led by two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner (and former Moth director of education) Micaela Blei, you’ll learn “what makes a story work” and the connections among narrative performance, research, and teaching, as well as brainstorm and craft stories of your own.

The workshop is structured to make the online experience as engaging and welcoming as possible—using a webinar format and then an optional small-group discussion structure to allow you to take part in the workshop at the level that will best serve you. 

Registration is required and there is an additional fee of $49.00 to attend.

Wednesday, August 5

Keeping Archives Relevant in a Dizzying Digital World

Join Preservica customers and staff as they explore together the evolving impact of digital archives, celebrate user projects and stories, and discuss innovations in archival practice.

Thursday, August 6

Plenary 1

In addition to hearing our current president, Dr. Meredith Evans speak, this session includes Jodie Foley and Tempestt Hazel. Jodie Foley is the Montana State Archivist at the Montana State Historical Society.

Tempestt Hazel was the 2019 recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award from the Society of American Archivists. She is a curator, writer, and founder of Sixty Inches From Center, a Chicago-based arts publication and archiving initiative that has promoted and preserved the practices of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists, and artists with disabilities across the Midwest since 2010. Focusing primarily on reframing cultural archives and institutional collections, her exhibitions and projects have been produced with the University of North Texas, South Side Community Art Center, Terrain Exhibitions, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Smart Museum of Art, and the University of Chicago, among others.

2B – Archival Outreach in the New Normal: Using Digital Platforms to Teach Primary Sources

Learn about the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) longstanding partnership with Internet2 and the Presidential Primary Source Project and the teaching series they have done, completely online. They will share tips for presenting in this medium and discuss methods for regaining audience attention and making the session more interactive.

In addition, learn more how NARA has moved its adult programming to online platforms. They will discuss how to host these kinds of sessions with members of the general public and how to manage registrations, digital platforms, and advertising.

3A – From the Margins to the Center: Foregrounding Underrepresented Communities and Revitalizing Mainstream Collections

This session examines how different approaches to foregrounding marginalized groups and individuals have revitalized established collections at three archival repositories.

3B – Showing Up: Community Engagement Events Toward a Better Cultural Record

This panel will explore the centrality of community partnerships in the diversification of the archival record, featuring programs that have hosted grant-funded community engagement activities to create and collect documentation of historically underrepresented groups.

Friday, August 7

4B – Reframing History: Opening Up Archives to Artists

This panel will highlight the Chicago Archives + Artists Project organized by Sixty Inches From Center and feature visual artists, curators, and writers who have collaborated with archivists, librarians, and other collection caretakers for their research-based creative practices to commission new artworks and curate exhibitions.

Hop into History: Archives and Alcohol in America

Grab a drink, and pull up a stool at the virtual hotel bar for a storytelling session featuring archivists who are working to document various aspects of alcohol history in the United States. Whether your drink of choice is beer, wine, bourbon, or cocktails, we’ll share some stories from our collections that might make you think a little differently the next time you take a sip!

Saturday, August 8

S04 – Ambition, Advocacy, and the Future of Storytelling

Orchestra and radio archivists describe how they pitched forward-thinking projects that break storytelling out of its traditional mold. Participants then break into groups to imagine, share, and learn what the future role of archives will and can be. Practical tips and challenges related to technology, project implementation, and advocacy will be shared.

S11 – Community Collections as Digital Collections

L.A. as Subject (LAAS), Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC), and the Recollect community in Australia and New Zealand will address the lessons learned and future visions in achieving a truly collaborative and reciprocal network. Although they are separate and independent entities, LAAS, CCC, and Recollect developed coinciding missions to collaborate with a diverse set of community archives in order to openly share collections and strengthen the profession through more comprehensive knowledge sharing.

S12 – Connecting to Communities: Outreach at the Missouri State Archives

 In this session archivists from the Missouri State Archives will share their experiences with tours, special events, speaker series, and grant programs. The focus is on creating sustainable, diverse programs to reach a broad range of patrons.

S29 – Love Can’t Turn Around™: Evidences of the Belief in the Power of Our Collective Social Experiences as Sites of Pleasure, Purpose and Politics

The Blackivists™ are a collective of trained and credentialed African-American archivists based in the Chicagoland area who address the needs of people interested in creating and preserving personal, community and “non-traditional” archives. The Blackivists™ collaborated with Honey Pot Performance on a series of programs for the Chicago Black Social Culture Mapping Project, which exists to preserve Chicago’s black social cultural lineage through fun and informative experiences focused on a Chicago based cultural art form: House music.

S35 – Project STAND: Highlights and Hurdles of a National Project on Social Justice and Archives

Project STAND, is a consortium of 70 colleges and universities that has created an online resource centralizing primary sources relating to student activism in historically under-documented and minoritized communities. This session will focus on its creation, highlights, and hurdles, and the role of the archivists to build relationships with marginalized communities, provide tools for documenting activism, and advance archival collections. Speakers will discuss the website and collection highlights, the Archiving Activism toolkit, and the symposia conducted in 2019/2020.

S36 – Protocols 101: How to Start the Conversation at Your Institution

This session explores the future of Indigenous collections stewardship for the 21st century archivist. Following the conference theme, it asks participants to consider how archivists can leverage creativity to make positive changes to collections care and access amidst institutional constraints.

S39 – Remaining Relevant: Changing the aesthetic of archives through collaboration and creativity

This interactive session is opportunity to not only hear what this institution is doing to change the profession, but engage in constructive and collaborative brainstorming with a variety of professionals to incorporate new strategies to better provide access and awareness to collections.

S42 – Setting a New Standard: Practical Applications and Uses of Standardized Measures and Metrics

Presenters will discuss implementation of the  SAA/RBMS Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics, approved by SAA in 2018, and suggest ways to use statistical data to impact internal operations and advocate for your institution. General recommendations for data collection and application will also be provided. 

Tuesday, August 11

Reference, Access, and Outreach Section

As a part of the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists, the Reference, Access, & Outreach (RAO) section will host its 8th annual Marketplace of Ideas. The Marketplace of Ideas takes place in conjunction with the annual RAO business meeting, and offers participants a chance to learn more about creative instruction, outreach, and reference programs piloted by colleagues. 

Thursday, August 13

Committee on Public Awareness

Come meet the members of the Committee on Public Awareness, hear about our activities over the past year, and learn about our plans for next year!

Know of other outreach- and advocacy-related sessions, events, and general happenings taking place over the course of ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2020 that didn’t make our schedule? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know which of these and other annual meeting events you are most looking forward to!

#ILoveBeingAnArchivist

Why do you love being an archivist?

On Valentine’s Day, the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) asked archivists to share their answers to this question. Check out their responses below.

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Special thanks to everyone who participated!

We’d love to hear from you! Why do you love being an archivist? Tell us on Twitter using #ILoveBeingAnArchivist or email archivesaware@archivists.org.

 

Houston Archives Bazaar 2019

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Vince Lee

This post was authored by guest contributor Vince Lee, Archivist at the University of Houston, and current member of SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA).

The second biennial Houston Archives Bazaar was hosted at the White Oak Music Hall on November 14, 2019. Over 22 organizations representing local, regional, and state institutions participated in the Bazaar: 

 

Sandwich sign with graphic on top three quarters of sign than text below that says "It's Free! Sunday, Nov. 17, 201- - 10 a.m. – 2.pm. Houston Archives Bazaar"

Houston Archives Bazaar Poster directing visitors to the event (Photo Courtesy of Vince Lee)

Exterior view of building on street corner, partial text of building name shown.

White Oak Music Hall-site of the Houston Archives Bazaar (Photo courtesy of Vince Lee)

Visitors and attendees to the Bazaar were greeted at the door where they would sign in, fill out a name tag, and get their passports from the registration table. From there visitors were encouraged to visit as many tables within the Bazaar and take part in activities. They would present their passports at each table where they would be stamped. At the end of touring the Bazaar visitors take their stamped passports to get free swag such as a Houston Archives Bazaar (HAB) tote bags, pencils, pins, and other ephemera.  No self respecting visitor or archivist attending a Bazaar would want to leave empty handed, and as archivists we all love free stuff!

Person with hair in bun with glasses standing behind table with purple table cloth with name tags, folders, booklets, and next to sign that says "Claim Prizes & HAB Swag Here!" Adjacent table with purple table cloth and 4 people standing behind it on right.

Registration Table for the Houston Archives Bazaar (photo courtesy of Vince Lee)

What sorts of visitors can you expect to find at an Archives Bazaar? From my own personal experience of visitors at our table (University of Houston Special Collections), I ran across genealogists looking for additional resources to track down family history, students at area colleges and universities looking for potential research projects,  high school teachers and administrators seeking potential topics and primary source materials for research for their students as well as seeking potential collaborations with area repositories for field trips and tours. There were heavy users of archives such as researchers looking for news-clippings and audio-visual clips to bolster their research, advocates of archives from the Houston community such as artists, historians, and donors looking to find a home for their materials.

In short there were a wide variety of folks that came out to visit the Houston Archives Bazaar for a variety of reasons and interests. The Houston Archives Bazaar truly was a gathering place of activity that reflected the different constituencies that archives and archivists serve each and every day. As if that wasn’t enough it was a free event  and open to the public!

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Display materials representing the various collecting areas of the University of Houston Libraries-Special Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vince Lee)

In addition to the tables which showcased collection materials of each of the participating repositories, attendees had an opportunity to contribute to a time capsule-they could write a short note or letter to themselves in the future, deposit an item or artifact, and doodle or draw something to someone in the future. There was also an oral history booth that did short 15-minute recordings for attendees wishing  to contribute their memories and stories of Houston — whether it was growing up in Houston, going to school here, or a memory of a neighborhood or area and how Houston has changed.

People standing around sign that says "Oral History Storytelling" and table with clipboards on it.

Oral History Storytelling Booth (Photo courtesy of Vince Lee)

Close up of brown box with sticky note with "Time Capsule" written on it, sitting on table with purple table cloth.

Time Capsule for deposited materials (Photo courtesy of Vince Lee)

Two people sitting behind table with purple table cloth with standing sign that says "Houston Time Capsule" standing to the left, person in front of table sitting and engaging.

Houston Time Capsule Booth (Photo Courtesy of Vince Lee)

The 2019 Houston Archives Bazaar for me represented a unique opportunity in which archives and archivists come together not only in engaging with the public with our material holdings and explain what we do as archivists, but it is also an opportunity to take stock of the existing relationships we have with one another as institutions and fellow archivists, not to mention the potential new relationships forged through  the community we serve. That’s something we all can be thankful for this holiday season. 

Have some interesting archival or special collections outreach event or highlights you’d like us to share?  Email us at archivesaware@archivists.org !

October 2nd is Ask An Archivist Day!

The members of SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) get excited when #AskAnArchivist Day comes around. This year’s #AskAnArchivist Day will be Wednesday, October 2nd. On that day, archivists around the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist, letting us engage directly with the public about what we do, why it’s important, and of course, to share our “most interesting/bizarre/touching etc., records” stories.

Between now and October 2nd, we encourage you to promote #AskAnArchivist Day among your users and constituents via your institution’s website, Twitter account, blog, newsletter, and any other mediums available to you. View SAA’s public #AskAnArchivist Day announcement  and feel free to pick up language from it for your own promotions.

COPA’s members have found memes to be a great way to drum up excitement. They’re fun and are easily created through an online meme generator. Here’s an example, a new one created for this year’s Ask An Archivist Day.

Starting September 30, follow the official hashtag #AskAnArchivist, on Twitter–we’ll keep sharing our memes up until the big day. We hope to see yours as well, and look forward to seeing you on Twitter on October 2nd for this great public outreach opportunity!

If you plan to participate, please email SAA Editorial and Production Coordinator Abigail Christian with your Twitter handle so we can add you to the 2019 LIST OF PARTICIPANTS!

Advocacy and Outreach Opportunities at the Archives*Records 2019 Annual Meeting

This week is the start of the SAA Annual Meeting. Here is a list of some recommendations for awareness and advocacy sessions and activities.

First things first — stop by the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) table! We’ll have a table in the conference registration area.

  • Saturday afternoon, 3:15 – 4:30 PM the Kitchen Sisters will be at the table playing clips from their podcast!
  • The Archives in Context podcast team will be at the table Sunday from 8:00-10:30 AM and 3:00-5:00 PM to record your elevator speech!
  • Elevator speech postcards – get them while they last!
  • Crafting Your Elevator Speech puzzle – a repeat of last year’s puzzle, be part of the team that puts it together!

Storytelling Workshop with Micaela Blei

Learn how to tell your story—and tell it well! In this introductory COPA-sponsored workshop, you’ll work with two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner (and former Moth director of education) Micaela Blei, PhD, to find stories that you want to tell, learn strategies for delivering riveting stories, and feel great doing it.

“Sing Out, Louise! Sing Out!” The Archivist and Effective Communication

This session includes panelists providing strategies for effective communication, examples of communication fails, and includes Q&A so attendees can share experiences too.

Are you ArchivesAWARE? Teaming up with SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness to Create a Stronger Archives Community

COPA members share successful initiatives and then engage with audience to brainstorm outreach strategies, solutions to outreach obstacles, and how we can better engage with communities that may have barriers to accessing archives.

Community Connections: Unleashing the Potential of Programs and Services Aimed at Underserved Stakeholder Communities

Archivists who oversee labor and social justice collections share their collaborations, programs, and services that have reached beyond the usual academic or institutional stakeholders and discuss the impact of reaching out to underserved communities.

Get With, or at Least On, the Program: Crafting Session Proposals for Archives-Related Sessions at Non-archives Conferences

Panelists from this session share the history and accomplishments of the Society of Southwest Archivists’ new committee, the State Partnerships and Outreach Committee.

What’s Your Elevator Speech?

The Archives in Context podcast team and the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) are joining together to record your elevator speeches at this year’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

COPA will have a table in the registration area with a Crafting Your Elevator Speech puzzle. Stop by to work on the puzzle and to record your elevator speech with the Archives in Context team for inclusion in a forthcoming episode. The podcast team will be at the COPA table on Sunday, August 4 from 8:00-10:30 AM and 3:00-5:00 PM.

We want these recordings to sound like real conversations, so we’re also looking for your help creating some conversation scenarios.

Three ways to participate:

  1. Contact the Archives in Context team at Chris.Burns@uvm.edu ahead of time to set up an interview or to pitch a scenario (doesn’t have to occur in an elevator).
  2. Stop by the COPA table in the registration area on August 4 between 8:00-10:30 AM or 3:00-5:00 PM.
  3. Can’t make it Austin but want to participate, record your own elevator speech and send it to the email address above.

A Finding Aid To My Soul

This year’s show will be hosted by two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner (and former Moth director of education) Micaela Blei. Featured storytellers: Arielle Petrovich, Katie Moss, Travis Williams, Katie Dishman, Joyce LeeAnn Joseph, Cliff Hight, Kira Lyle, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Leah Harrison, and Joanna Black.

Blowing Off the Dust: How to Move Your Archives from the Basement to the Public Square

This interactive session is about how to partner with your public radio and includes best practices for pitching to public radio, how cultural institutions and public radio complement each other, and information about a current collaboration between an archive and public radio.

Archival Value: Tales of Professional Advocacy

This session features professionals from a variety of archival settings who share how they advocated for themselves, their staff and students, and their colleagues to get administrative support for the resources they  needed.

Know of other outreach- and advocacy-related sessions, events, and general happenings taking place next week that didn’t make our schedule? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know which of these and other annual meeting events you are most looking forward to!

 

Carpe Media Redux

In this post, authors Vince Lee and Rachel Seale, members of SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) follow up with some attendees from last year’s COPA-sponsored “Carpe Media! Communications and Media Training for Archivists” workshop at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018 in Washington, D.C. 

Sometimes, to truly evaluate the impact a workshop has had on it attendees, it’s often helpful to revisit it after some time has passed and we are quite as close to the event. This separation  offers an opportunity to gauge the perspectives from others. Basically, we wanted to see how our attendees may have applied what they have learned back to their workplaces, and what next steps that they took. We also wanted to see if there were challenges as well, what didn’t work from the workshop, and if there were things that the workshop fell short with in regards to meeting expectations. 

Then

Below is the feedback we collected shortly after the workshop commenced. For a fuller recap of the Carpe Media workshop visit: http://bit.ly/recapcarpemedia2018.

  • Be concise and consistent.
  • Be repetitive, don’t assume people are going to see your one Tweet amidst the 500 million other Tweets that day.
  • Your brand is a promise to deliver something to your customers and also how you are perceived.
  • Resist the temptation to be clever.
  • Stick to the message, don’t be cute or snarky or that’s what the journalist may cut out of context and use in their piece.
  • Choose the platform/s that is most used by your customers and users. Don’t know which platform? Survey!
  • Always be connected (ABC)-think about who you are connecting to and with and what message your audience wants/expects to receive.

A summary of what attendees shared they wanted from the workshop:

  • Tools to raise awareness of what they do and the collections they have to the general public
  • Make communications more interesting and impactful to targeted audience
  • Communicate more strategically
  • Awareness and advocacy targeted to grass roots audience on why archivists and their organizations need additional resources/facilities to house and process their collections
  • Donor communications and bridging perceptions on archivists and our roles
  • Awareness and community outreach to potential donors
  • Get “buy-in” from organizational leadership for additional resources
  • Communicating history and heritage to internal stakeholders

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Group photo of attendees. Photo courtesy of Teresa Brinati.

Now, A Year Later

Below are responses to a survey we sent out to attendees as a follow-up to see what impact, changes, or challenges that the workshop provided to their work.

Cathrine Giles, Manager, State Records Branch, Archives and Records Management Division, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

Mr. Steinhauer’s workshop was very helpful. It was a great space that allowed attendees to be open and engaging about our communication concerns and questions. He delivered some hard truths about social media and encouraged us to refocus on how we think about and use different communication platforms.

I had great takeaways and notes from the workshop. I’ve worked on applying some to my agency’s social media strategy, such as more distinction between Twitter and Facebook posts. If SAA was to have this workshop again or something similar, I would certainly recommend it.

Andrea Jackson Gavin, Grant Writer, AUC Woodruff Library

I was fascinated by the Carpe Media workshop and the History Communications concept. I was unfamiliar with History Comm, but I follow Jason on social media, and read a bit more about how this developing field can help historians and archivists do their work effectively – especially public historians and archivists.  I have transitioned to a grant writing role, but I think the workshop helped me to consider how my writing to grant funding agencies can be improved with less jargon and more appealing language that will speak to a broader public about the importance of history. Additionally, in the past year I’ve had the opportunity to speak with potential donors and used some of the techniques we practiced during the workshop to help make a case for why archival collections and accompanying monetary donations can be helpful to advance society, research and scholarship.

Vince Lee, Archivist, University of Houston Libraries-Special Collections 

The Carpe Media workshop has made me realize that the work of Archivists and Archives is “invisible labor” and “investment” by the public and donors alike. People know we are there and what we offer but take for granted what we do and don’t realize what it takes to process a collection and make it accessible. I think as Archivists we need to better articulate the value/cost of our work better. How I have tried to apply this to my work after attending the workshop is by trying to let donors know that we not only need their material support, but also their monetary support in trying to either acquire or process collections. In working with our Head of Special Collections and Director of Advancement, we have created an informational brochure providing the value of archival supplies-acid free folders, photo sleeves, archival boxes, etc and the hourly rate we pay a Graduate Assistant to process an incoming collection. By providing these metrics to interested donors, we are also giving them the tools to share and advocate on our behalf of the investment and costs that are involved when we process a collection.

Julie Schweitzer, Archivist, United States Memorial Holocaust Museum

The Carpe Media workshop has not impacted my work as much as I had hoped, mostly because our social media team remains a strong but separate department. However, as I have been following our social media presence after this workshop, I have been pleased to see that our social media team largely follows the recommendations made during the workshop.

Ashley Selima, State Archivist and Public Administrator, Rhode Island Department of State

One of the biggest shifts for me after the Carpe Media workshop was definitely taking a more proactive approach with our Communications Department and sharing content, ideas, or trends that I thought would assist in highlighting the Archives. I’m fortunate that we have a Communications Department but Jason’s workshop provided tools for working with them and being a better partner to spread the word about our holdings, our work, and our goals

Other respondents who wished to remain anonymous

COPA’s planning/facilitation of the workshop is very much appreciated, and I am thankful to have been awarded a spot and the opportunity to attend. I cannot say that the workshop has explicitly benefited me over the past year—perhaps I have not actively sought enough advocacy/communications opportunities. A key reminder that was helpful: refrain from using jargon and/or prepare to explain it to a general audience.

I did participate in the survey directly after SAA (in early September) and I think at that time I noted the workshop was somewhat different than I expected. It was more general and basic than I anticipated and did not seem tailored to the audience: e.g. the archival community is very active on Twitter for scholarly communication and public communication (often led by national institutions). The intro to specific media formats did not seem to take this into account. The role-playing was more helpful and I appreciated hearing my colleagues make pitches and work to tailor them.


The workshop was definitely helpful in terms of giving me a set of steps to think about in formulating the best approach to different types of external – and even internal – interactions with different stakeholders. I felt the workshop was much more beneficial in terms of planning internal conversations than necessarily external/media communication – and I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I remember it not being something that I had expected. Though at this point, it could just be that was the part of the workshop that most stuck with me.


In general, I liked the workshop, though I had been expecting more of a focus on speaking to the media and on camera than advocating for staffing to administrators.  Speaking to the media has been an aspect of my position that I’ve struggled with and, though the workshop was interesting and helpful, I would have liked to have more guidance on that.


I have used what I learned to communicate more efficiently with colleagues and to get support from my administration. I evaluate what evidence I have that would influence administrators to give us the resources we need.

I am more strategic, overall, in the emails I send and the information I put out on the social media platforms we use at work. I do practice ABC (Always Be Connected) when I craft messages for internal or external users and customers. 

Another thing I have taken away from the workshop is to practice communicating high stakes or high pressure conversations. I remember being nervous at the end when we were role playing and Jason played the part of administrator. Practicing stressed me out then and stresses me out now, honestly, and the stress doesn’t really go away. until I can have that stressful conversation or send that email. However, when I rehearse for that difficult conversation, I am more prepared and perform better. 


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Workshop facilitator Jason Steinhauer role-playing with an attendee. Photo courtesy of Vince Lee.

Final thoughts

Based on feedback a year later, it seems that the workshop has improved attendees’ communication strategies. At least two respondents used what they learned to educate donors on resources required to make collections accessible and available to the researchers. Also, the sentiment we’ve received is that  a workshop on communicating with traditional media would still be helpful, though it should be specific and not as general or broad. Finally, it seems that most respondents have come away from the workshop with a newfound awareness of the critical components involved in a successful communications strategy whether it is working internally with their own communications department, or taking a more proactive role when working with different audiences.

Keeping ArchivesAWARE: News and Highlights

This is the latest entry in our series Keeping ArchivesAWARE: News and Highlights, a recurring roundup of some of the latest archives-related news stories, features, commentaries, announcements, and projects that have caught our eye, with links to the original sources. This post written by COPA member Nick Pavlik.

Jody Rosen writes in a recent New York Times Magazine feature about the disastrous 2008 fire at a Universal Studios Hollywood warehouse that served as the vault for the most historically significant master recordings of the Universal Music Group, in which approximately 175,000 master recordings were destroyed.

A Europol press release details how three men were arrested in France last month for stealing rare maps from archival collections from different libraries throughout Europe.

NPR reports that while digitizing a collection at Mexico’s National Sound Library, archivists came across a recording containing a voice they believe may be that of celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

New Hampshire State Archivist Brian Burford was recently featured in an article in the Concord Monitor, in which he warned of the risk posed to the state’s digital records in the absence of a statewide digital preservation program.

The New York Times recently featured an article on the donation of Nachman Blumental’s personal papers to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.  Blumental, a philologist and one of the earliest historians of the Holocaust, documented how the Nazis’ “used the German language to obscure the mechanics of mass murder and make genocide more palatable to themselves.”

In The Conversation, Axel Bruns writes about the National Library of Australia’s newly launched Australian Web Archive, and the immense web archiving challenges the Library will continue to face going forward.

The University of Pittsburgh Library System recently acquired the archive of legendary horror filmmaker George A. Romero, which will serve as the foundation for a larger horror studies archive that the university intends to establish within its Archives & Special Collections.

The Monuments Men Foundation recently donated the diary of S. Lane Faison to the National Archives.  Faison, a member of the “Monuments Men” unit during World War II, supervised the return of millions of historical artifacts stolen by the Nazis to their countries of origin.

Controversy recently arose at Doane University in Nebraska after the director of the university’s Perkins Library was placed on administrative leave after including a photograph showing students wearing blackface in a “Parties from the Past” exhibit outside the library.

The CBC recently reported on the launch of a new website from the City of Edmonton Archives that provides access to thousands of digitized historical photographs from the Archives’ collection.

At the end of May, the New York Times reported that the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture had acquired the personal collection of Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite, the original host of “Yo! MTV Raps,” which first aired in 1988.

Have some interesting archival news items or highlights you’d like us to share?  Email us at archivesaware@archivists.org and we may include it in our next Keeping ArchivesAWARE roundup!

Keeping ArchivesAWARE: News and Highlights

This is the latest entry in our series Keeping ArchivesAWARE: News and Highlights, a recurring roundup of some of the latest archives-related news stories, features, commentaries, announcements, and projects that have caught our eye, with links to the original sources.

On Al Jazeera, Patrick Gathara argues that the path to colonial reckoning in Africa lies in the return of colonial archives – the “thousands of official records and documents that trace the history of subjugation, oppression and looting of the continent by the European powers” – to the continent.

In late March, St. Louis firefighters’ rescued the majority of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum’s collection while subduing a major fire that damaged the museum building.

Cornell University’s Department of History and the Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research recently launched Freedom on the Move, a crowdsourcing project compiling a database of “runaway ads” documenting fugitives from North American slavery.

The Council of State Archivists has issued its Statement on Texas Legislative Records to express concern on House Bill 1962,  which would change “existing statutes governing archival records of the Texas legislature” and place those records at risk.

The Verge reports on the Internet Archive’s efforts to preserve Google+ posts before the service is permanently shuttered this month, a move Google announced in October 2018 after a major security breach exposed user data.

Ernie Smith writes in Associations Now about how the Arms Control Association tapped into its institutional archives to mark the fortieth anniversary of an influential 1979 article co-written by its then-executive director, William Kincade, describing the effects of a potential nuclear attack on St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on Housing Our Story: Towards Archival Justice for Black Baltimore, a project launched by scholars and students at Johns Hopkins University to correct “systemic archival neglect.”

William J. Maher, representing the Society of American Archivists, recently presented a statement to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, stating that WIPO “must step forward to establish broad standards for exceptions that recognize the non-commercial work of archives to preserve and make available the world’s cultural heritage.”

In March, it was reported that the social media site Myspace permanently lost all data that had been uploaded to the site prior to 2016, the result of an apparent faulty server migration.

The Library of Congress recently acquired a collection of artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s letters.  The collection had been discovered by a couple while cleaning out their new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which had previously belonged to the widow of O’Keeffe’s friend and documentary filmmaker Henwar Rodakiewicz.

The Catholic News Agency reports that the Vatican will be be opening the secret archives of Pope Pius XII in March 2020, making the records of the leader of the Catholic Church during World War II – totaling approximately 16 million documents – available for research.


Have some interesting archival news items or highlights you’d like us to share?  Email us at archivesaware@archivists.org and we may include it in our next Keeping ArchivesAWARE roundup!

Keeping ArchivesAWARE: News and Highlights

The news cycle moves at such a rapid pace these days that it can be easy to miss the media’s increasing coverage of archives and archivists.  That’s why we’re launching our new series Keeping ArchivesAWARE: News and Highlights, a recurring roundup summarizing the latest archives-related news stories, features, commentaries, announcements, and projects that have caught our eye, with links to the original sources.  Such media coverage can be an invaluable tool with which to communicate the power of archives and archivists’ vital role in society to a wider public audience.  We hope you enjoy this first entry in the series, and that you’ll share your favorite stories widely!

A team at the University of Oregon recently launched The March, a digital exhibition about the making of filmmaker James Blue’s documentary of the same name chronicling the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  The exhibition is a collaboration among Professor of Rhetoric David A. Frank, the University of Oregon Libraries, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Conflict studies professor Stephen Badsey writes in the Washington Post about director Peter Jackson’s new documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, which features digitally restored film footage and audio recordings from the Imperial War Museum documenting the British army on the Western Front during World War I.  Badsey notes that “the Jackson project’s implications for the future of historical documentaries are immense.”

Nora Caplan-Bricker writes in Harper’s Magazine about the Documenting the Now project, the Internet Archive, and the immense complexities and challenges of preserving social media movements and other documentation of our contemporary moment when such content lives solely on the internet.

Bethany Anderson, University Archivist at the University of Virginia, writes in The Conversation about the recent crop of articles on the “discovery” of a “lost” Sylvia Plath story at Indiana University’s Lilly Library.  Anderson notes how the media frequently overlook the fact that such gems can only be “discovered” by researchers because archivists have painstakingly worked to preserve and make them available in the first place – as was the case with Plath’s “new” story, which had in fact been publicly accessible for years thanks to archivists at the Lilly.

Biographer Robert Caro writes in The New Yorker on “The Secrets of Lyndon Johnson’s Archives,” about his early experiences conducting archival research at the LBJ Presidential Library for his now-seminal multivolume biography of the 36th U.S. President, with plenty of references to how archivists were an integral part of his research process.

SAA has launched Archives In Context, a new podcast that highlights “archival literature and technologies, and most importantly, the people behind them.”  The first season, which includes seven episodes, can be listened to on the Archives In Context website, Google Play, Spotify, and iTunes.  We’re excited to dive in!

The International Council on Archives’ Section of Professional Associations will be hosting the second annual Film Festival on Archives and Records Management at the ICA 2019 Annual Conference (October 21-25, Adelaide, South Australia), focusing on the theme of advocacy.  Have you or your institution produced a film that communicates the value of records and archives?  Be sure to submit it for entry to the festival!

Archivist and historian Alyssa Ballard was profiled in the Ukiah Daily Journal on her work at the Mendocino County Historical Society in California.

File this one under “things we find utterly delightful”: The City of Greater Sudbury Archives has created an interactive educational game called Grandma’s Attic to help “teach students of all ages the difference between libraries, museums, and archives.”

Have some interesting archival news items or highlights you’d like us to share?  Email us at archivesaware@archivists.org and we may include it in our next Keeping ArchivesAWARE roundup!

Recap of American Archives Month 2018

American Archives Month, held each October since 2006, gives archivists an opportunity to find creative ways to educate the public about the importance of archives. Many institutions kicked off the month by participating in #AskanArchivist Day on October 3. (Check out the ArchivesAWARE! recap of #AskanArchivist Day 2018 here). Throughout the remainder of the month, events, tours, exhibits, and other programs were held across the country with the goal of highlighting archival collections and their connections to local communities. In this post, we are featuring some of the American Archives Month activities to inspire and inform your plans for next October!

Archives Crawls and Bazaars

Archives Crawls are multi-repository tours that allow participants to visit several institutions throughout a day or month and become acquainted with the range of resources held by local cultural heritage institutions. Similarly, Archives Bazaars or Fairs bring together several institutions into a single space, allowing attendees to learn more about local archival resources.

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Now in it’s third year, the Austin Archives Bazaar was held on October 28 and featured 26 area repositories. The event included a full slate of speakers (podcast hosts, PBS series creators, a PhD candidate, and a community organizer) who discussed how they had used archives in their work. An oral history booth, archival film screening, and a preservation station (where attendees could talk to professionals about the best way to preserve their photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials) were also included in the Bazaar.

The Border Regional Archives Group hosted their second annual Bazaar featuring 22 repositories from southern New Mexico, west Texas, and northern Mexico. Archivists, librarians, and curators were on hand to answer questions, short talks about regional history and genealogy were presented in English and Spanish, and scan stations were provided for digitization of family photographs and documents.

The 13th annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar was held at the University of Southern California and included a full day of workshops and presentations including “Researching L.A. 101” which provided advice on getting started with archival research and a panel discussion with archivists and researchers on how archives can reveal hidden dimensions of California’s past. Archivists were on hand throughout the event to answer questions and talk to attendees about their collections.

Elsewhere in the Golden State, the 8th Annual Sacramento Archives Crawl invited participants to collect stamps on their passport by visiting four host locations (California State Archives, California State Library, Center for Sacramento History, and the Sacramento Public Library). Participants who visited at least three of the stops received a set of limited edition commemorative coasters featuring archival images. Other city or countywide Archives Crawls were held in Portland, San Francisco, and Orange County. In Monmouth County, New Jersey, 63 history-related organizations (including archives, libraries, historical societies, and government agencies) came together for the 23rd annual Archives and History Day.

Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 6.39.54 PMChicago Area Archivists presented Chicago Open Archives, a month-long opportunity for the public to visit repositories in the Chicago area. This year, the event was held in conjunction with the Illinois Bicentennial and highlighted items and collections focused on Illinois history. The Newberry Library, Chicago Public Library, the National Association of Realtors Archives, Chicago Film Archives, International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago History Museum, and several area colleges and universities were among the participating institutions.

Lectures and Presentations

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SAA President Meredith Evans with Petrina Jackson, Head of Special Collections and University Archives at Iowa State University

During American Archives Month, SAA President Meredith Evans spoke at the Ames Rotary and Iowa State University Library for the opening of Congressman Edward Mezvinsky’s Papers. Evans discussed each individual’s social responsibility and participation in the preservation of materials that reflect one’s life and heritage and the complexities and challenges of working with born-digital content.

The Western New York Library Resources Council focused on food throughout the month for their “Harvest of History” themed American Archives Month celebration. Presentations were held at different repositories and discussed how to preserve family recipes and how ingredients and cooking utensils have changed over time. The Council also gathered recipes for their Online Regional Cookbook.

Other Engagement Activities

American Samoa Street Wave

Archivists participate in the 3rd Annual American Samoa Archives Street Wave

On October 19, 50 staff members from the Office of Archives and Records in American Samoa’s Department of Administration Services participated in the 3rd annual Street Wave. Wearing bright Archives Month t-shirts and carrying signs saying “We are Made by History,” “Masina O Fa’amaumauga,” “Celebrate Our Archives Month,” and “Puipui Teuga Pepa,” participants were joined by local politicians in greeting morning commuters in Tafuna. Archivists in American Samoa also sponsored a poster contest for 6th-12th graders on the theme “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” and held a “Night in the Archives” event on October 31.

The South Dakota State Archives hosted a Facebook photo scavenger hunt encouraging people to join in the conversation about local history. The Archives also held a History Trivia Night and an Escape the Archives event.

The Virginia Caucus of MARAC (Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference) sponsored the REMIX Archival Oddities contest asking participants to use archival images from Virginia institutions in new an interesting ways.

How did your institution participate in American Archives Month? Tell us about it in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag #ArchivesAWARE!