Category Archives: Advocacy

The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives Challenge #2: Archives and the Human Face of War

We’re in the midst of American Archives Month, and I hope many of you are involved in activities that you’ll share with us so we can keep track of your efforts to raise awareness of the importance of archival records. (check out Challenge #1 and the submission forms at http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/value-of-archives.) While that’s underway, it’s time to plan for Challenge #2, focusing on ways to connect to the commemorations of Veterans Day on November 11th and Pearl Harbor Day on December 7th.

The experience of war has a compelling interest for many people in the United States.  In fact, the Library of Congress Subject Headings categorize American history largely based on war (as opposed to the British, who use the reigns of monarchs!).  Our elected officials often draw attention to their war service, and their detractors point to those who did not serve.   Film, television, videogames, literature and history are only a few ways our society follows the many perspectives on war.  From the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of us have collections that reflect the stories and experiences of soldiers, nurses, and those “at home.”  These letters, diaries, photographs, songs, and oral histories provide very real connections and insights for many people.

These events provide us with another opportunity to raise awareness of our holdings and the value of archives.  So check out our next challenge: http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/human-face-of-war. Please be sure to let us know what steps you have taken and what went well or what challenges were involved. We look forward to hearing from you!

Bits, Bytes, and Buzz: Electronic Records Day, 10-10-14

Let the cheering begin for the Council of State Archivists and its Electronic Records Day campaign on October 10, 2014 (10-10-14), and congratulations to all those who did their part in supporting this wonderful event. CoSA initiated this effort as part of American Archives Month four years ago, on the appropriately dated 10-10-10.  SAA and other professional organizations have joined CoSA in the effort, and this year Electronic Records Day has really shown what archivists can do to raise awareness.

Electronic records are challenging in so many ways—they don’t have the warmth of a document or photograph and they involve many technical complexities, so making an awareness campaign “user friendly” is a real challenge.  Still, virtually every state and territorial archives did something, as did many university archives, library special collections, and many other organizations. Check out a few of the “not archives” groups who got involved in promoting Electronic Records Day: the National Association of Secretaries of State; the National Association of State Chief Information Officers; the UN Archives and Records Management Section, the National Genealogical Society, the Marshall County Public Library, the Princeton Seminary Library, Iron Mountain and Laser Fiche.

That’s an impressive range demonstrating the energy that can be created around archives and archival issues. Huge applause to everyone who was involved—The wonderful distribution of information and the number and ways people and organizations got involved is clear evidence that “Yes we can” generate interest and energy around archival records.  It takes time, it takes tenacity, it takes creativity, but it can be done!

There’s plenty of time left in American Archives Month to join in and raise awareness of the importance and value of archives. Visit the SAA website for ideas, and let us know what you’ve done:   http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/value-of-archives We look forward to hearing from you!

Interested in more about what went on?  On twitter, do a search on #ERecsDay and you’ll see quite a range of links to blogs, Instagram, websites and more. Here are some links to a very random sample of the range of information and activities that took place 10-10-14:
For the core information on eRecords Day check out the CoSA website:

http://www.statearchivists.org/seri/ElectronicRecordsDay.htm

For a sample of blogposts (including some video and humor along the way):

http://ncarchives.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/1010-electronic-records-day/

https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2014/10/the-university-archives-and-its-focus-on-fixity/

https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm/blog/?p=6839

http://isuspecialcollections.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/happy-electronic-records-day/

https://cbaileymsls.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/electronic-records-day/

Take Action for Archives!

For all of you who’ve made the commitment to participate in the “The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives” and for those who are still wondering just what this is all about (see the 9/3/2104 blogpost here), the first challenge opportunity is now live on the SAA website:  http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/value-of-archives

You’ll find suggestions for concrete actions to take in the next days/weeks to further our efforts to raise awareness of the importance and value of archives and archivists. Check out the suggestions, put your own spin on them, try them out and then tell us the results of your efforts.

Challenges will be issued periodically in the future focusing on different issues, times, approaches, or for particular groups within SAA whether Student Chapters, Fellows, or any of our roundtables and sections. Do one, do many—every action is another step forward in raising awareness.

It is an absolute joy and privilege to be part of a profession that can change lives, alter the path of policy, affect the economy, capture the minds of students, promote insight and understanding, and provide the information infrastructure for democracy. It’s time we let others know that this is what archives and archivists do. Join us in taking action for archives!

The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives

It’s really pretty simple. Archives change lives…sometimes in breath-taking ways, sometimes in quiet but essential ways. Nonetheless, every encounter that a user has with archives results in some increase or change in knowledge, some adjustment to a direction, some altered perspective, some affecting of the human experience. Archives have value for so many different people—our managers, our colleagues, our friends, the public, our users, potential users, and even people who may never directly use them.

I hope in the coming year we can work together to take some specific actions to raise awareness of the importance and value of archives in our lives, our organizations, our government, and our society. In my incoming presidential remarks at the recent Annual Business Meeting (http://www2.archivists.org/history/leaders/kathleen-roe/incoming-presidential-remarks-the-year-of-living-dangerously-with-archives), I issued a challenge to us as SAA members, as archivists, to spend a year “living dangerously” by taking some concerted actions to increase awareness of and advocate for archives. It’s not something that most of us have been trained to do, and it is something that for many of us is a bit beyond our comfort zone (hence the element of “danger”). Continue reading

With UELMA, Lots of Legislation Keeps Stuff Safe

This post was written by William “Butch” Lazorchak. Butch is a Digital Archivist for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress. Continue reading

Supporting NEH and IMLS

I came into work this morning expecting a quiet day when I saw an email with the subject line “NEH.” What I read made me cringe. It appears the House Budget committee, headed by former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, has submitted a budget that eliminates both NEH and IMLS. Granted this is the first salvo in the budget battle but it is concerning. AHA has written about NEH and ALA President Barbara Stripling has written about IMLS.

Both NEH and IMLS have supported archives programs through grants. Most recently IMLS provided funding in support of the ARL/SAA Mosaic Program which provides financial support, practical work experience, mentoring, career placement assistance, and leadership development to emerging professionals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. IMLS also supported A*CENSUS, the first study of the archival universe and its needs. Continue reading

Introducing the SAA Foundation

Did you know that SAA had a Foundation? We do and the Board had a lively and productive meeting in January.

Fynette Eaton, Foundation Board President provides information about the Foundation, its activities and goals. We hope you will consider contributing to the Foundation to help us continue the work to support the archival profession. Continue reading