The Society of American Archivist Student Chapter is pleased to announce we are putting three unopposed nominees forward for the positions of Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary for the 2018-19 academic year and move to cancel the election. The membership has one week to oppose this motion. To oppose, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 22, 2018 at midnight Pacific time.
And the nominees are...
Sarah Thornton – Chair
I will begin my third semester in the MLIS program in August. Now that I've completed the initial required courses for the MLIS, I am very excited to begin my journey on the archival studies pathway. I love history, and have a special passion for local history. I have a previous M.A. in American Studies, with an emphasis in historic preservation and public history. The historical research required during that program revealed to me, not just how vital archives are, but more importantly how vital archivists are, not only for maintaining and preserving records and objects, but for providing informational organization and access. I am very excited to eventually join these illustrious ranks.
I am a military spouse and the mother of three daughters, which means that my goals would not be possible without the flexibility of SJSU's iSchool program. Although I am incredibly grateful that this opportunity is available to me, I am finding that the online format can be a real challenge to building relationships with other students and faculty. Considering this, I see SAASC as a vital resource for students on the archival studies pathway, providing opportunities to network with one another and to also gain valuable insights into the archival profession just as we are gearing up to enter it. I would consider it an honor to provide leadership as Chair for SJSU's student chapter of SAA.
Courtney Hopkins – Vice Chair
I graduated from Connecticut College with a major in Sociology and a minor in Film Studies. After several jobs in the entertainment industry, I found my way to a career in visual research. First at Corbis, and now at Getty Images, I help clients find the right photos and/or videos to tell their stories. The projects I work on range from documentaries to scripted shows to advertising to corporate. My searches include our online content as well as in-house and external archival material. I understand the importance of accurate metadata and captions so content can be discovered. I also reach out to contributors and image partners to look for material or get approval for commercial uses. My job is a combination of design, business and technology, navigating through conceptual visual requests, online searching, digital curation, licensing rights, and clearance and copyright issues for different collections, content partner relationships, and back-end databases.
I have taken advantage of continuing education opportunities wherever possible, and finally decided to take courses which will result in an advanced degree. I will begin my SJSU MLIS journey this summer with two open classes - Film and Media and Fundamentals of Programming.
Anna Belle Peterson – Secretary
I am interested in nominating myself for secretary. I began the MARA program a year ago and since then have found a passion for the archival field and I am interested in becoming more active in the SAA student chapter. As I am completing the program one course at a time while working full-time, I have several semesters before I will be graduating. I would love the chance to learn more about the archival field and to engage with other students in the SAA chapter.
Thank you to our nominees and members for helping us keep the chapter alive. We look forward to formalizing positions and looking ahead to the upcoming school year!
SJSU SAASC Election 2018
Keep the Society of American Archivists Student Chapter an active and integral part of the SJSU iSchool student life by taking on a leadership role! By becoming a member of the executive committee, you will be plugged into the pulse of the iSchool, develop important leadership skills that translate well into your career, AND create essential evidence for your e-portfolio! No prior experience is necessary!
April 2-20 (nomination period); April 23-May 1 (voting period)
Act as the executive authority on all matters concerning the functioning of the SAASC and its relationship with the SAA, iSchool, and SJSU; plan, announce, and moderate meetings; oversee the content of the SAASC web site and social media presence, including communications through the current SJSU online learning interface (Canvas); supervise the production and distribution of publications; annually update and renew SAASC’s recognition status with SJSU; collect all relevant documents to be housed in the SAASC archives; and facilitate the compilation and submittal of the annual report to SAA.
Assume the office of the Chair should it be vacated during the stated term of office; assume the duties of the Chair when he/she is absent; assist with any functions designated by the Chair; plan and coordinate the organization of events in cooperation with the executive committee and the general membership; identify and announce events held outside, but relevant to SAASC; form ad hoc committees as needed; and assist with the compilation of the annual report to SAA.
Maintain a complete and current roster of all members; record the minutes of each meeting; maintain the SAASC web site, online learning and communication portal (Canvas), social media accounts, and its links to the following web sites: SAA, iSchool, and SJSU; establish links with the web sites of other related organizations, as appropriate; ensure the Events page of the web site is updated; and assist with the compilation of the annual report to SAA.
Self-nominations are welcome! Must be an SAASC member, and have proof of SAA membership by start of 2017-18 academic year. Must also attend an online transition meeting – TBD.
To submit a nomination: email email@example.com with the following
- Name, Phone Number, Email Address
- Position Desired
- Personal Statement
Welcome back, students! If you’re continuing your studies or just getting started at the iSchool, we wish you great success this semester and to invite you to our first event of 2018. We’d love to see you there!
Please join the SLA and SAA Student Chapters
on February 6th at 5:45 pm
“Q&A with Special Librarians
Disney’s Animation Research Library”
5:45-6:00 pm Social Chat
6:00-7:00 pm Program
This is a co-sponsored event with our colleagues at the SJSU Special Libraries Association. We’ll start the evening with a brief social time geared towards meeting fellow students, networking, and sharing stories, followed by the program at 6:00pm PST.
Description: Are you a fan of Disney movies? Are you interested in knowing what it is like to work at Disney’s Animation Research Library (ARL)? We are thrilled to host three special librarians currently working at ARL, as they share insights into their roles and day-to-day experiences. They are especially interested in hearing YOUR questions, so we encourage all students to submit relevant question(s) to the librarians, using the Google form (here). Please note: this event will not be recorded, making it imperative to attend if you are interested.
For more details and biographies on the guest speakers, visit the SLASC page at:
Individuals requiring real-time captioning or other accommodations should contact Dr. Sue Alman as soon as possible.
By JoAnn Urban
We reached out to 3 Society of American Archivists Archival listservs with some of our career and archives-related questions. Over 25 archivists across the country responded. Here's what they had to say:
As a recent iSchool graduate looking to stay connected with my peers while also seeking employment opportunities, I decided to reach out to the Archival community for some advice. I was interested in learning how students and recent graduates can gain experience and skills employers look for, in addition to discovering ways to get involved with the profession. I was interested in more general topics, too, and open to advice about anything archives.
In hopes of starting a conversation with the archival community, I put together a questionnaire with topics, specific questions, and open areas for respondents to share their thoughts. The questions ranged from internship tips to class recommendations. I then created a questionnaire using Google Forms, and emailed the link with an attached Word document to three Society of American Archivists Discussion Sections: Women Archivists, Issues & Advocacy, and Metadata and Digital Object. Then, I waited to see what would happen.
To my excitement, I received an overwhelming response from the archival community. I greatly appreciate those Archivists that took time to answer the Google form, email responses, or talk with me by phone. This article is a summary of their responses, as well as a few takeaways from the exercise.
The first major topic I noticed across responses was the importance of experience. During my time at San Jose State University, I developed theoretical knowledge about the archival profession. Many of my assignments even included networking and working directly with Archivists in my state to develop projects and proposals. These experiences greatly deepened my theoretical knowledge and appreciation for archives, and were echoed in respondents emphasizing the importance of practical, hands-on experience at a physical location. Volunteering and internships were the two most frequently listed ways to gain experience as a student or recent graduate. One thing that surprised me was the places respondents listed to volunteer or intern. Museums and historical societies are two places besides archives that can help students and recent graduates gain experience in the field. Other ways to develop skills include attending workshops, facilitating independent studies, and gaining non-archive employment experience. In addition to practical experience, respondents emphasized the importance of building technical skills, such as coding and digitization skills. Many respondents stated not to limit yourself to one area of the profession, nor limit the focus of your skills and development.
Beyond building skills and gaining experience, networking is key to success. Joining a local, regional, and/or national organization, and attending conferences were all listed as excellent ways to get involved with the profession. Presenting posters or research at conferences is also a great networking tool. One respondent also suggested seeking out information professionals’ social groups in your city, starting a virtual reading group, and blogging about either your work as an archivist or your interests in the profession. All are important, innovative, and practical ways to make connections and develop key writing and communication skills. Social media is also a great way to connect with professionals, as well. Finally, conducting informational interviews with Archivists in your area can connect you with your local archival community.
Networking and connecting with the archival community are also key to keeping up with current trends in the field. Networking often leads to the internship or contract positions that are important to your professional development. One respondent stated that she took short-term and contract assignments to fill her skills gaps and to keep large gaps from her employment history. She started at the bottom of the employment rung, but stayed focused on her career goals and worked to get the position she really wanted. Another respondent recommended thinking outside the box when looking for ways to develop skills. For example, digitizing photos for friends and relatives is one way to gain experience digitizing analog photos. In short, professional development of all kinds can be used to advance your career.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get involved. Run for a committee position. Join a student chapter, local, regional, or national professional association. Present or volunteer at a conference. Look for opportunities outside of archives to develop the skills and experience that will help you later in your career. Perhaps the most important takeaway from completing this project is that Archivists are a friendly bunch, and love sharing their knowledge with students and professionals alike.
Thank you again to everyone that participated and helped make this post happen.
Questions or comments? Feel free to comment here or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October is American Archives Month. Stay tuned for more blog posts and event announcements soon!
Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a great start to Fall semester. My name is Rita and I’m super excited to be on the 2017-2018 web team for the SAA SJSU student chapter.
For my first post, I thought I would talk about international archives, primarily focusing on Canadian archives. Hopefully, this will provide some insight to those of you considering working in archives or special collections outside of the United States.
This past summer, I had the privilege of attending a two-week long study abroad program in Canada (specifically Ottawa and Montreal) hosted by the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. In this course, we focused on Canadian archival organization and description, while analyzing the differences between Canadian and American archival practice. In addition to attending lectures, we visited a number of archival institutions, ranging from governmental to academic to community-based archives. Among them, my personal favorites were the Library and Archives Canada, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, the Jewish Public Library Archives, and the McGill University Archives.
One of the things that I found particularly endearing about Canadian archives is that they have a heavy focus on transparency and collaboration on all levels. This carries into the way archives interact with different departments, institutions, and even the public. Canadian archives also heavily enforce accountability and documentation of all decisions made regarding appraisal, and often go through several levels of approval to de-accession or destroy government materials. While it may seem excessive to have so many voices weighing in, doing so has allowed Canadian archival institutions to run more proficiently and leaves less room for error in deaccessioning materials. This management system came to light due to an incident in the 1980s, in which it was discovered that documents containing the names of Nazi war criminals living in Canada had been destroyed. This shocking discovery led to public outcry and demand for reform that helped shape Canadian archival management into what it is today.
In addition to management, Canadian archives also differ in the appraisal, arrangement, and description of their materials. With appraisal, they use a method known as macro-appraisal, in which the value of archival material is determined by the context of why and how the materials were created. This is in contrast to the approach taken in the United States, which emphasizes the content (and not context) of materials when determining value. In terms of arrangement, Canadian archives make a distinction between collections and fonds. Collections and fonds are on the same intellectual level, but whereas fonds indicate archival material that have been organically assembled, collections indicate materials that have been artificially assembled. Fonds are predominantly used in Canada, and archivists tend to opt for a more provenance-oriented arrangement method.
Something I was surprised to discover in talking with various Canadian archivists was that having a library science degree is not a strict requirement for becoming an archivist in Canada. Unlike in America, where having an archival educational background is highly valued in the field, many of the archivists I met had a variety of backgrounds, from history to political science. However, despite lacking a formal education in archival practice, all the archivists I met have been incredibly proactive and involved in the field. Their constant discussion with peers and the public has helped strengthen archival processes as well as representation and accessibility within institutions across Canada.
Of course, Canada and America have their similarities, particularly with regard to the issues that archives face presently and looking toward the future. One important issue surrounding all archives is subjectivity and inconsistencies with the organization of entire collections and subsequent description of materials. This is evidenced by differences found not just between institutions, but also between processing archivists. While archivists are tasked with providing unbiased representations of archival material, bias is inherent in the way archivists process materials. The lens through which an individual views archival material is unique, which can result in inadequate representation of a fond or collection’s subject matter. Accurate representation and loss of culture are big hurdles for archival institutions to overcome, particularly with materials related to marginalized communities. Additional universal issues in the field include community awareness, public outreach, lack of funding, and providing optimal reference knowledge to patrons.
I learned so much about Canadian archives in the short time that I was there. If you are interested in learning about the way international archives process and describe their materials, I would highly encourage you to take a study abroad course or get in touch with an archive that sparks your interest.
Rita Wang is currently in her second year of the MLIS program and is on SJSU SAASC’s web team for the 2017-2018 school year. Throughout her time in the program, Rita has had three internships in archives, with the first working as a student archivist at the SJSU Special Collections and Archives. There, she was introduced to archives and archival practice, which persuaded her to switch from a librarian concentration to an archival pathway. Rita has also worked as a surveying archivist intern for the Computer History Museum in San Jose. Currently she works as a processing archivist intern at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, specializing in East Asian collections.
Your faithful 2016-2017 SAASC officers Rebecca Leung, Tiana Trutna, and Amanda Mellinger attended the SAA Annual Meeting in the midst of a heat wave in Portland. The best way to escape the heat was to jump into the intellectual fire of #SAA17! The theme of this year’s meeting was Alike/Different. Many of the sessions were centered around the theme of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. This theme is important to us at SJSU SAASC as well, especially considering that our members represent a diverse community from all over the globe.
Some sessions attended by SAASC officers included:
It was a particular pleasure to attend Social Media vs. Open Government: Similarities, Differences, and Impact on Records Management Practices, where the iSchool’s own Dr. Pat Franks and Dr. Michelle Chen were presenters. SAASC officers spread out to cover many different Section Meetings, including the Manuscript Repositories Section, the Archival History Section, the Oral History Section, the Women Archivists Section, the Students and New Professionals Section (SNAP), and the Archivists and Archives of Color Section.
In addition to the sessions and section meetings, Amanda took the test onsite to become a certified archivist by the Academy of Certified Archivists. We are very proud to announce that both Amanda and 2015-2017 Web Team member, Melissa Rupp, passed the test and are now provisionally certified archivists! (Melissa took the test at the Salt Lake City test site. The exam can be taken in any city that has been selected by enough applicants, and is always held in the city of the SAA meeting.) Amanda reports that taking the test is “like taking a short version of the SATs again: cold room, number 2 pencils, and nothing allowed on your desk”. For those of you curious about possibly taking the test yourselves someday, it consists of 100 multiple choice questions from seven different domains. After the test, Amanda was provided with a breakdown of how she scored in each domain, which could be used for continuing study and professional development. Thank you, Amanda, for giving us the inside scoop, and congratulations to everyone who passed!
The SAA Annual Meeting is a great place to not only learn from others about the latest in the archival profession, but join the conversation by contributing your own work. For example, Rebecca presented a graduate student poster entitled Learning about Media Preservation: From Legacy to Next Generation about her Spring 2017 internship at the Bay Area Video Coalition. She also wrote a recap of the Graduate Student Poster Session for the SNAP blog. Amanda is also active with the SNAP section, where she serves as Junior Social Media Coordinator, and wrote two session recaps for the SNAP blog.
Rebecca, Tiana, and Amanda would like to sincerely thank Dr. Hirsh and the iSchool for making it possible for them to attend the meeting with a generous travel award! It’s great to know that our school supports development through professional associations! If you weren’t able to make it to SAA this year, you can always check out the recordings or search the hashtag #SAAleftbehind or #SAA17 on Twitter! We hope to see you at next year’s Annual Meeting, which will take place in Washington, D.C.
Rebecca Leung is a recent iSchool graduate and former Chair of the SAA Student Chapter. In addition to receiving her MLIS with a concentration in Archives and Preservation this last Spring 2017 semester, Rebecca has had two internships during her time at the iSchool. The first involved migrating legacy finding aids to ArchivesSpace at UC Berkeley's Environmental Design Archives, and for the second, she learned about transferring video tape to digital format at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC). Rebecca is currently starting her third internship, helping SAA's Archival History Section launch their newsletter, while also working at the Bancroft Library and the Archives in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
We hope you had a great summer!
We're kicking off the start of the new semester with our Annual Meeting next week, Wednesday 8/30 @ 6:30 PDT. Scroll through the flyer below for more information. Hope to see you there!
Did you miss any of our great events this past academic year?
Do you have free time this summer and want to catch up?
Our YouTube channel and ScholarWorks Event Archive have been updated so you can catch up on all the presentations you missed!
Just a recap, presentations included:
The Benefits of SAA and ACA membership
iSchool Publications Roundtable
An Introduction to Oral History in the Archives
Tale of an E-Portfolio
End of Term Web Archive: Collecting and Preserving the .gov Information Sphere
Have a great summer!