New Page: Newsletters

When I started this blog, I knew that there are a wide variety of archival writing opportunities. I chose to focus on scholarly publishing due to the lack of guidance and resources for archivists.

Now that the blog has been active for over 2 years, it’s a good time to assess and rethink. I still plan to have the bulk of the content focus on scholarly publishing. However, there are many opportunities that provide good writing practice which can eventually lead to journal, chapter, or book publications.

Therefore, I compiled a long list of newsletters on a separate page. Because there’s so much out there, including a newsletter link is limited to archival or related organizations and groups; individual and/or institutional newsletters will not be included to help maintain a manageable list. But please let me know if there are any to be added.

While I will try to post announcements about calls for contents or new issues, there are so many it is unlikely I’ll keep up. But I’ll do what I can! And I hope you find this valuable.

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New Page: Awards

I’ve previously posted announcements about awards, and slowly I’ve collected information. Explore my new page about Awards, and I encourage authors to apply. Promote your scholarship!

I took liberties with the list; they are not all archival scholarship-specific. However, I did this purposely to create awareness of not just award opportunities, but publishing opportunities. The more we can publish outside our profession (even in library journals), the better.

I compiled the list primarily by looking at SAA’s list of archival and allied organizations, plus a few others I came across. If you know of others, please comment below. I’ll continue to post announcements when I’m aware of them.

Help OCLC With Their Research Agenda

Dear Colleagues,

OCLC Research is currently shaping our next research and learning agenda to address challenges and opportunities for special collections, archives and distinctive collections in research libraries. Led by our Practitioner Researcher in Residence, Chela Weber, we are taking a transparent, iterative approach to building this agenda by seeking substantial input from the OCLC Research Library Partnership (RLP), as well as the broader archives and special collections community. An early-stage draft was workshopped with representatives from RLP institutions and other invited professionals at the RBMS Conference last month in Iowa City, and a similar workshop will focus on the current draft at Archives 2017, the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists this month.

We are inviting you today to play a role in the next steps of shaping the agenda, and asking for your feedback on the current draft of the agenda by August 28thWe are happy to hear thoughts on any element of the draft agenda, but in particular, are interested in hearing comments on the following questions:

  1. Proposed Research Activities: do you have ideas for activities in areas that are left blank in the current draft? Are there other research activities or questions you would like to see addressed within each of the outlined topical areas of investigation?
  1. Relevant Existing Work in the Community: Is there current or early-stage work going on that addresses any of the topical areas of investigation and that we should be aware of?
  1. Priorities for OCLC: OCLC Research will be able to address only a small portion of the issues and activities outlined in the agenda, and wants to put its resources and expertise to best use. Which of the topical areas of investigation and proposed research activities would you most like to see OCLC take on, and where do you think they can make most impact?

Please find the draft agenda either as a Google Doc or as a PDF. You are welcome to add comments in the Google Doc itself, or submit comments via email to RLPStrategy@oclc.orgWe welcome feedback and comments through August 28th.

Jackie Dooley
Program Officer, OCLC Research
office/home 949-492-5060
mobile 949-295-1529
dooleyj@oclc.org

Apply to join the bloggERS Editorial Team!

bloggERS! (https://saaers.wordpress.com/), the blog of the Electronic Records Section (ERS–get it??) of the Society of American Archivists was founded to foster communication and collaboration within the ERS and across the wider archival community. bloggERS! features:

  • Aggregations of news, information, and resources on electronic records issues
  • New content including case studies, interviews, surveys, reviews, and other writings of interest to archivists and electronic records professionals
  • Forums for discussion and collaboration, to help archivists communicate and learn from each other and those outside the field.

It’s a fun way to keep up your professional involvement and work along side like-minded archivists.

Apply by 8/1 to join the bloggERS Editorial Team! We’re seeking an Assistant Team Leader and 4 Team Members. Access the application here: https://goo.gl/forms/BlKt91WXa7kPnZR63

General Update

I miss this blog. My posts lately have been sporadic and not as thorough as I prefer. I am in the final stages (!) of writing my reference and access book, and that occupies a large portion of my free time, as well as a large portion of my brain capacity. It is all coming together nicely, and as long as everything proceeds as planned, the book will be published later this year. (fingers crossed)

My lack of attention to this blog is not from lack of desire, but from necessity. However, it also highlights that I would love help in maintaining it. Right now, help with posting announcement about CFPs, recent journal issues, and especially new and recent scholarship would be welcome. I have some things in place that I’m not currently able to keep up with, though I plan to catch up at some point. However, volunteers need not be short-term and having co-contributors will go far in continuing to make this a viable resource. In the meantime, I will try to post relevant items as time allows.

Soooooo, if anyone out there would like to help, please get in touch!

Guest Post, Part 1: Are Archives Graduate Programs Adequately Preparing Students for Publishing, Researching, and Writing in the Profession?

Thank you to Joshua Zimmerman, lecturer at San Jose State University’s iSchool, for this fantastic post. His in-depth perspective is in 2 posts and I encourage everyone to read it thoroughly. Josh has great strategies to help emerging professionals prepare for and contribute to the intellectual discourse of archival scholarship. (Read Part 2)

________

Are archives graduate program adequately preparing students for the profession? As an adjunct lecturer in the Masters of Archives and Records Administration (MARA) online master’s degree program in San José State University’s iSchool, this is a question that I’m constantly asking myself as I hear from students and other professionals. For readers of this blog, perhaps a more relevant but related question would be: are archives graduate programs adequately preparing students for publishing, researching, and writing in the profession? As the one responsible for teaching MARA 285 Research Methods in Records Management and Archival Science, I’m extremely concerned with this question. I thought that readers might be interested in how our research and publishing culture is being taught in one small corner of the profession.

As you read this, I want you to think back to how you were introduced to the norms of researching and publishing in our profession? Were these skills taught in your graduate program, did you already have them, or did you have to pick them up later? Finally, what do you wish you would have learned about writing, researching, and publishing in the archives profession as a graduate student? Keep the answers to these questions in mind as you read below. I’d love to know how MARA 285 stacks up to your experiences, good or bad.

Assignments and Assignment Format

The overall structure and framework of MARA 285 is one that I inherited from a colleague, Jason Kaltenbacher who is also an adjunct professor in the MARA program. While my lectures significantly differ from his, I’ve kept the assignments and overall structure basically the same. Other research courses in the iSchool (and in other MLIS programs), I have found, employ a similar assignment format. I ask students to complete an annotated bibliography, topic proposal, literature review, and final proposal. These assignments build on each other and help students complete the steps in putting together both a formal proposal and the framework of a major research project. Since the internet survey has become the preferred data gathering tool of the profession, I also ask them to complete a group survey project where they develop a short internet survey, cover letter, and rationale statement for each question. 

Social Science Focus

When I first took this course on and looked at the assignments and overall structure, I felt that I wanted to radically change the end project to a publishable article. This would be immediately usable to students as they could submit it to journals and present it elsewhere at conferences or on professional or personal blogs. Within the last couple years, my alma mater (Western Washington University) changed their MA thesis requirement to a much smaller publishable article which, I think, seeks to address this aim. Yet, after using the old proposal assignment structure that I inherited for two years, I’ve completely changed my tune.

I discovered just how important it was to snap students out of what I call the “term paper mentality,” an assignment format that most students are particularly used to and, as I’ve discovered, often revert to if given the chance. This course structure offers students the chance to approach a topic systematically, more like a project than a paper. Instead of writing a term paper and trying to wrap up all the loose ends up by the end of the semester, the objective is only to build the structure in order to execute it after the course concludes. This means, that they design the research, but they stop short of sending out the survey, conducting the field work, or digging into records in an archives. I feel that this format ties in better with the assigned textbook chapters that break down different aspects or approaches to research. It also forces students to step back and formalize what they are doing and more importantly, how they plan on doing it. They are asked to put together a research schedule and justify why they are qualified to conduct this research as part of the final proposal.

Challenges, Problems, and Issues

One problem that I encountered during the first year concerned appropriate topic choices. Other courses in the MARA program such as Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation or Management of Records and Archival Institutions have clearly defined topic limits. These are built into the course. For instance, you probably can’t write a term paper on medieval recordkeeping for the Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation class.

MARA 285, however, is wide almost wide open as far as potential research topics go. That medieval recordkeeping topic is fair game in MARA 285. While there are endless opportunities for topics, there are nevertheless some limitations. I ask that students choose a topic related to the archives, RIM, or library science fields. I encourage students to bring in their interests and give it a records twist. For instance, last year, one military historian in the class designed a project around military recordkeeping. Though the course is taught from a social science perspective, I want students to specifically engage the professional literature of archives and RIM. This year, in addition to some clarifying language and a preemptory blog post on the MARA program website, I’ve added the typology of archives research topics by Couture and Ducharme (1). This typology spells out all the flavors of research conducted in the archives profession (and by extension, RIM). This seemed to have helped students frame their research within the profession.

Another problem that occurred this year was students’ lack of confidence in their professional experience. Unfortunately, due to scheduling, some students take this class as a first year student and in their first semester. To those working in the profession, this might not be a big issue, but for someone who is brand new to the profession, this course might be a bit daunting because it asks students to choose a topic in the profession and develop it over the course of the semester. As mentioned above, I provide guidance on choosing topics in the lecture, but especially for the literature review which asks students to isolate the major literature on their particular topic, this has been stressful or at least it has been related to me as such. This is sometimes daunting for seasoned archivists, let alone first year students. 

Incorporating Perspectives

In addition to the assignments and readings mentioned above, I’ve added a video series called Research in the Wild. In it, the class gets to hear about the research and writing process from other archivists and records managers. I launched it late in the course in 2015 with a few videos, mostly 5-10 minutes. This year, I have a video for nearly each module and hopefully a lot more for next year. Video submissions have addressed specific project-related research challenges as well as more broadly, research agendas, theses, the editing process, differences in publishing in and out of school, and Fulbright Scholarship research among others. In my own archival program, I enjoyed hearing from guest lecturers and talking with archivists and RMs on field trips and it’s these experiences that I’ve tried to recreate. I felt a bit uncomfortable asking archivists and records managers to do free work for me, so I decided to donate to SAA’s Mosaic Scholarship on behalf of those who submit videos. If you’d like to submit a video for next year or know someone who might, please let me know (zimmerj6@gmail.com). From some early feedback from students this year, I’ve learned that the writing process might be more important than I initially thought. So as a result, I’ll be seeking archivists and RIMs who want to talk about this aspect of the profession.

Call for Nominations: Theodore Calvin Pease Award for Outstanding Student Research Paper

The competition now is open for the 2017 SAA Theodore Calvin Pease Award for outstanding student research paper.  Additional information is below.

The Pease Subcommittee consists of Gregory S. Hunter (Chair) (americanarchivist@archivists.org), Stephanie Bennett (bennetse@wfu.edu), and Lauren Goodley (lgoodley@txstate.edu). We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Theodore Calvin Pease Award
http://www2.archivists.org/governance/handbook/section12-pease

Purpose and Criteria for Selection:
Created in 1987 and modified in 2007 and 2012, this award recognizes superior writing achievements by students of archival studies. Entries are judged on innovation, scholarship, pertinence, and clarity of writing. Papers examining major trends and issues in the archives profession are preferred.

Eligibility:
Eligible entries are written by students enrolled in archival studies classes at either the master’s or doctoral level. A faculty member or instructor associated with the archival studies program must submit the entry to verify that the student paper was written within the context of an archival studies program and completed during the preceding calendar year. A faculty member or instructor in an archival studies program may submit one entry per award cycle. There is no cap on the number of papers than can be submitted by a school or program, provided no individual faculty member submits more than one paper.

Entries should be unpublished manuscripts of 5,000-8,000 words, must include an abstract, and should conform to the stylistic guidelines described in the editorial policy<http://www2.archivists.org/american-archivist/editorialpolicy>; of The American Archivist. Submit only the title with the paper. The name of the author, the program, or the faculty member or instructor must not appear on the manuscript.

Sponsor and Funding:

The Society of American Archivists Foundation, in honor of Theodore Calvin Pease, the first editor of The American Archivist.

Prize:
A certificate and cash prize of $100. The winning manuscript, after going through the editorial process with the editor of The American Archivist, will be published in The American Archivist.

First Awarded: 1988

Selection Committee:
Papers will be judged in a blind review by the Pease Subcommittee of the SAA Awards Committee.  The subcommittee consists of the current editor of The American Archivist, the vice chair of the Committee on Education, and a member of the Society of American Archivists with experience in archival research and literature appointed annually by the president-elect to serve a one-year term. The current editor of The American Archivist serves as the chair of the subcommittee and shall present the award. The current editor ofThe American Archivist also edits the manuscript and leads the student through the editorial process in preparation for publication.

Submission Deadline and Nomination Form:
All nominations shall be submitted to SAA by February 28 of each year. CLICK HERE to download the RTF application form.