Blogging #SAA14

Some tweets from #SAA14:  hsifnihplod-timeline-08102014-08152014-68a4aa5e

Some tweets in Storify from #ThatCampSAA2014:

August 10-11, 2014 (Sunday and Monday)

I started off #SAA14 with the two day pre-conference course, Archives: Principles and Practices. It was a good overview of the basics: acquisition; appraisal; accessioning; arrangement and description all in the first day. On the second day we covered preservation, access and use, and outreach. The grounding in the basics helped me make sense of stuff I heard in sessions throughout the week, so I think I will try to include a two day course in future years. The course included group exercises, a review of principles, and exposure to excellent references and sources, all good stuff! I made a new friend, Meredith, and we will be comparing notes in the months to come (Meredith is a real archivist!).

August 12, 2014 (Tuesday)

Tuesday was taken up by the Research Forum: “Foundations and Innovations.” It was a steady stream of folks presenting their research and several projects caught my attention: the talk on linked archival data; archivists in popular culture; activist archivists; using literary archival material to establish relationships between writers (can’t wait to try this with Baraka and O’Hara and the beat poets); curating culturally sensitive archival holdings; personal digital archives; visualizing interactions between agencies and local governments using archival material; and trends in archival education. Then, in the afternoon we had a presentation on managing scientific research records at the Smithsonian, using linked data in resource description framework (rdf), and interoperability across metadata standards and schema.

August 13, 2014 (Wednesday)

Wednesday the Marriott Archives visit got cancelled, so I didn’t arrive until lunchtime. I spent some time browsing in the bookstore and checking out the job prospects on the bulletin board in the Network Cafe/Career Center. I am so far from being able to compete for an archivist position, but there may be opportunities here and there to get some good experience as a volunteer. My appointment with Meg for a resume review and chat was at 2pm. Happy to learn that although she works as an archivist at a foundation on the west coast, her roots are in NC! She advised me not to rely on HR staffs to make the connection between the experience of my former career and potential job requirements (of course, to me it seems obvious!). Good advice.

I had intended to go to the Business Archives Colloquium, but never made it there. Hopefully I will catch bits and pieces of it on the video replay. At 3:30 I attended the Archivists and Archives of Color business meeting. Several interesting topics of discussion there: the Alex Poole article, The Strange Career of Jim Crow Archives; work being done on the Mary McLeod Bethune archives; information about the National Digital Stewardship residency program at the LOC; an announcement about the State of Black Research Collections at Schomburg in late October which I will have to try to attend; and an excellent presentation by Lae’l Hughes Watkins on using outreach to connect with under-documented communities (and a side reference to Dr.Ibram Kendi).

The SNAP roundtable featured independent consultants Rachel Binnington, Elizabeth Keathley and Danielle Cuniff Plumer. They shared their experiences as consultants and how they came to the decision to become entrepreneurs.  Always music to my ears.  There were some tweets!  .   

Going to get coffee, I met Elizabeth, another archivist, and we struck up a conversation that lasted until the newcomers and first timers reception. We both had been assigned navigators, more experienced archivists, who met up with us at the reception. All good. There were external events for the evening, History and Halfsmokes at Ben’s, and the AV group at the Black Cat, but I was pretty exhausted and caught the Metro directly home.

August 14, 2014 (Thursday)

Busy day. Ran into an old friend and had breakfast at Foggy Bottom Whole Foods before heading out to Woodley Park for the conference. Arrived in time for Plenary Session 1 – The State of Access. The 10am session on oral history collections in the digital age was amazingly choked full of really cool examples of oral histories, but the presentations that stood out were: the oral histories about the displacement of people on Rag Mountain just a few miles away in Virginia (JMU, didn’t write down the guy’s name); a presentation on metadata for political collections; Slack Water Oral Histories at St. Mary’s College (MD, Kent Randell); using contentDM for a Southern Maryland folklife project; FBI agent oral histories; WW2 oral histories at UTenn.

Attended a lunch forum, Diversifying the Archival Record, where I learned about the upcoming Friday session featuring the Alabama archivists. More on that later. After lunch, I attended Ed Summer’s panel, A Trickle Becomes a Flood: Agency, Ethics and Information. He was joined by Hillel Arnold (HIghways, Wires and Tubes, an interesting talk about regulation, structure and standards of communications networks) and Elena Danielson (she talked about the Information Security Oversight Office and mentioned the US spends $11 billion per year to keep secrets. She also mentioned 10 points in secret-keeping history, starting with Bismark and ending with Snowden (1. Bismarck, 2. Keith Murdock, 3. Zimmerman telegram, 4. Winona Project, 5. Zerox machine, Daniel Ellsberg, 6. Pentagon papers, 7. Pollard case, 8. Assange and manning, 9. Schwartz, and 10. Snowden. For each she asked, was there money involved, did they do it for a higher principle, and did they screen the info for potential hazards). Ed’s talk can be found here:

August 15, 2014 (Friday)

Friday’s big events were the presentations by the Alabama archivists and the presentation on Palestinian archives. The Alabama archivists program, Integrating History: A Search and Recovery Effort in Alabama Archives was just stupendous! Leading off was Rebekah Davis, Archivist at Limestone Archives in Northern Alabama, then Susana Leberman from Huntsville Public Library, Veronica Henderson from Alabama A&M, and Dana Chandler from Tuskegee. All were amazing! Here is what I posted to Facebook:

Too many stories to tell today. But I do need to highlight the session I attended at #SAA14 on Integrating History and the outstanding work being done by Alabama archivists Rebekah Davis, Susanna Leberman, Veronica Henderson, and Dana Chandler. What a presentation on documentation of hidden, ignored and discouraged African-American history!

Here are some links:

The second session was entitled Access Under Occupation: Archival Collections in Palestine. See tweets below: 

Some tweets from #SAA14:  hsifnihplod-timeline-08102014-08152014-68a4aa5e

Some tweets from #ThatCampSAA14:

Some final thoughts on #SAA14. (to be posted Sunday, August 17, 2014)

1 thought on “Blogging #SAA14

  1. Pingback: 2015: New job, new courses, new set of interests. | Shifting Gears – Living in Multiple Worlds

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