Many archivists are reevaluating workflows and practices in order to create more equitable, anti-oppressive, and anti-racist metadata in their repositories. This important work is foregrounded by the Anti-Racist Description Resources, authored by the Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia’s (A4BLiP) Anti-Racist Description Working Group. Archives in Context spoke with A4BLiP’s Anti-Racist Description Working Group members Alexis A. Antracoli, Annalise Berdini, Faith Charlton, Valencia Johnson, and Katy Rawdon on the creation of the Anti-Racist Description Resources and ways that archivists can begin addressing racist and oppressive description in their repositories.
As American society reckons with racial injustice, many archivists wonder how they can combat systemic racism in the workplace and the profession. Archives in Context reached out for guidance from Petrina Jackson, director of the Special Collections Research Center, Bird Library, Syracuse University; and Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Katheryne B. Willock head of special collections, University of Arizona Libraries. As chair and incoming chair of the Rare Books and Manuscript Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, Jackson and Reyes-Escudero called upon their colleagues “to take action to recognize and destroy structural/systemic racism and inequality in our workplaces and in our profession.” Learn more about how you can help create a more diverse and inclusive profession in this episode.
As we leave 2020 behind us, Archives In Context begins 2021 on a hopeful note. In this special episode focused on archivists and archival work during COVID-19, we hear from you! Archivists called and wrote to us with their advice on navigating this challenging time and shared the ways they are finding joy, what they are thankful for, and how they are practicing self care. From embracing escapism to hiking or taking a nap, take a listen to colleagues’ strategies for finding silver linings and Zen moments.
Take some Zen time for yourself and color! For a few years, the Society of American Archivists Publications program made its annual book catalog a coloring book and collection of mazes. PDFs of the catalogs can be downloaded and printed below (colored pencils not included!):
What is self-care, and why should archivists care? Listen to our conversation with Dorothy Berry, digital collections program manager at Harvard University’s Houghton Library, as she explores a more sophisticated understanding of self-care—one that goes beyond eating brownies and taking bubble baths. With wisdom and humor, Dorothy talks about how and why we should be kinder and gentler to ourselves and our colleagues.
Watch Dorothy’s virtual workshop “Self Care is a Radical Act!,” given at the Women Archivists Section meeting during ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2020, the Joint Virtual Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists and Council of State Archivists.
In this episode of a special Archives in Context season on how the events of 2020 have affected archivists, we meet two of the driving forces behind the Archival Workers Emergency Fund (AWEF): Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, reference librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Lydia Tang, special collections archivist-librarian at Michigan State University. Anna and Lydia tell us about the origin of AWEF, its impact during the COVID-19 crisis, and how archivists can donate to or receive help from the fund.
In this special episode focused on archivists and archival work during COVID-19, we encourage you to share your advice and reflections with archivists during this difficult time. Do you have advice for finding joy or practicing self-care? What are you thankful for? You can respond to any of the following prompts:
- What have you done to practice self-care this year?
- How have you found joy in 2020?
- In this difficult time, what advice do you have for your fellow archivists?
- What are you thankful for this year?
How to contribute:
Option 1: Leave us a voicemail.
Dial 206-395-4635. Your call will go straight to the Archives in Context voicemail. After the beep, respond to any of the prompts listed above. Your voicemail can last up to 3 minutes only.
Option 2: Email us.
Email email@example.com with your response to any or all of the prompts. You may choose to respond in written form or you can record your voice and send it to us as an attachment. Please keep your responses brief so that we can include as many as possible in the episode. Submissions will be open through November 30, 2020.
Responses received may be edited for length and clarity. Not all responses received will be included in the episode. By submitting an email or voicemail, you are consenting for your words and/or voice to be included in a future episode of Archives in Context. Individual names of contributors will not be included in the episode.
What do sex, awards, and the occult have in common? They are all themes that the Los Angeles Archivists Collective explored in its online publication Acid Free. In this episode, Courtney Dean, head of the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) in UCLA Library Special Collections, and Grace Danico, an independent archivist and freelance designer, talk about labor issues, relationships between archives and design, and much more.
Finding ways to connect diverse audiences with archives is an art. It is also an important aspect of leadership. Jennifer Johnson, director of Corporate Archives at Cargill, Incorporated, discusses her essay “Cultivating Success: The Business of Archives” in volume one of SAA’s Archival Fundamentals Series III, Leading and Managing Archives and Manuscripts Programs. Jennifer describes working in a corporate setting and the importance of outreach, building relationships, and storytelling.
Jennifer is a contributor to Leading and Managing Archives and Manuscripts, edited by Peter Gottlieb and David W. Carmicheal (Society of American Archivists, 2019), which provides examples of successful leadership practices from the archives field and offers insight regarding key functions of leaders and managers: communication, strategies, resources and budgets, leadership in transformative change and crisis, building relationships within and beyond the archives, and leadership development.
“The stories in between” are what drive Liza Posas, head of Research Services and Archives at the Autry Museum of the American West, and her work on the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. The Protocols were created by the First Archivist Circle in 2006 and endorsed by SAA in 2018. Liza discusses the workbook she is developing for the Protocols and the ways that archivists can put the Protocols into practice to care for culturally sensitive materials and better understand repatriation. (Please note that the date of the 2020 Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums conference, which Liza references, has changed.)
Read the Protocols of Native American Archival Materials and listen to Liza’s interview on “Sound and Meaning: Preserving Native American Voice and Song” via Material Memory, a podcast from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).
Dr. Trevor Owens, head of digital content management at the Library of Congress, thinks about the intersection of history and digital media—a lot. He discusses his award-winning book, The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation, providing encouragement to under-resourced archivists who need to add digital preservation to their very full professional plates. Trevor also muses on the digital equivalent of lamination and why he considers digital preservation more craft than science.
The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation (John Hopkins University Press) won the 2019 Waldo Gifford Leland Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and the Outstanding Publication Award of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. Trevor also authored the chapter “Archives as a Service: From Archivist as Producer and Provider to Archivist as Facilitator and Enabler,” in Archival Values: Essays in Honor of Mark A. Greene, edited by Christine Weideman and Mary Caldera (SAA, 2019).