Season 3, Episode 1: Elevator Going Up!

COPA Elevator Speech

“What’s an archivist? Who uses archives? Isn’t everything online?”

As archivists, we sometimes find ourselves answering questions about what exactly we do and why we do it. During ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2019 in Austin, Texas, hosts Chris Burns, Colleen McFarland Rademaker, Nicole Milano, and Anna Trammell “took to the streets” to ask attendees to respond—on the spot with no preparation—to questions archivists commonly receive. Listen to their responses and find some ideas for your own elevator speech. Elevator going up!

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Elevator Speech

Learn more about crafting an elevator speech with this step-by-step template and be ready to advocate for your institution and the archives—no matter where you are!

Season 2, Episode 7: Margot Note


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an archival consultant? Margot Note, founder and principal of Margot Note Consulting, shares with us her journey into consulting work and her experiences working in nontraditional archival settings. In her new book with SAA, Creating Family Archives: A Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Your Memories for Future Generations, Margot shares tips for effectively explaining an archivist’s work and archival principles to the public.


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Family history is important. But who’s in charge of saving all of the photos, videos, aged documents and cherished papers? They need a better home than a cardboard box. Creating Family Archives is written by an archivist for your family, taking them step-by-step through the process of preserving the stuff of their own history.

Gift this book to family and friends! Pre-order your copy today from the Society of American Archivists.

Season 2, Episode 6: Kathleen D. Roe


As president of the Society of American Archivists from 2014 to 2015, Kathleen D. Roe called upon archivists to expand their advocacy efforts by demonstrating how “archives change lives.” In this episode, Kathleen, who recently retired from the New York State Archives as director of Archives and Records Management, reflects on writing her new book for SAA’s Archival Fundamentals Series III, Advocacy and Awareness for Archivists, and the importance of advocacy for archives and archivists. She also shares her most successful advocacy effort and advice for archivists who wish to engage in advocacy work in their own contexts.


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Advocacy and awareness are essential activities that underpin the work of the archives profession, helping archivists communicate the value and relevance of our work to administrators and the general public. In Advocacy and Awareness for Archivists, volume three in SAA’s Archival Fundamentals Series III, Kathleen D. Roe draws on her extensive experience to walk new and experienced archivists through basic principles and practices of  advocating for and creating awareness of archives. Available at the Society of American Archivists.

Check out advocacy courses taught by Kathleen in the SAA Education program.

Season 2, Episode 5: Teresa Brinati


The Society of American Archivists has a remarkably robust publications program. Providing continuity behind-the-scenes is the director of publishing Teresa Brinati, who gives a guided tour of the wide-ranging program and invites archivists of all experience levels to imagine themselves as authors and to find their place within SAA’s suite of digital and print publications. She also divulges what she, as a non-archivist, appreciates most about the archival profession and the archivists she has encountered during her lengthy career with SAA.


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Forum Cover Aug 2018 Teresa has shared successful strategies and experiences from SAA with the association industry in a number of articles, including “Remote Possibilities: Telecommuting Is Gaining Momentum” (Oct 2019), “The Business of Memory Keeping” (Aug 2018), “Getting the Most Out of #GivingTuesday” (Mar 2018), “By the Numbers: Disrupting Membership Programs” (Aug 2017), and “Annual Meeting-Palooza: Rock Your Publications and Make Your Authors Feel Like Rock Stars” (June 2017) in FORUM Magazine. She has also presented “A Hybrid Approach to Open Access Publishing” at the Art Libraries Society of North America’s 45th Annual Conference (Feb 2017) and highlights archivists in SAA’s Archival Outlook, as in the May/June 2016 article “The Music Man: Peter Balestrieri’s Journey from Punk Rock Band to Special Collections.”

Season 2, Episode 4: Davia Nelson


In this bonus episode, we meet Davia Nelson (left), one half of The Kitchen Sisters along with Nikki Silva. Their podcast, The Keepers, spotlights activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors, historians and other keepers of culture. Because of their work, The Kitchen Sisters received SAA’s 2019 J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award. Learn how The Keepers came to be and why The Kitchen Sisters revere archivists and the materials stewarded by archival repositories.


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Check out The Keepers podcast and learn more about The Kitchen Sisters’ work at

You can read excerpts from this conversation (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) on ArchivesAWARE!, the blog of SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness.

Season 2, Episode 3: Christine Weideman and Mary Caldera

Weideman and Caldera

What values do you hold dear as an archivist and why? In this episode, Christine Weideman, director of manuscripts and archives at Yale University Library, and Mary Caldera, head of arrangement and description at Yale University Library, talk about their new book, Archival Values: Essays in Honor of Mark A. Greene. Both Mary and Chris reflect upon the values that animate their work and ways in which archivists can engage with foundational principles of the profession.




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In Archival Values: Essays in Honor of Mark A Greene, twenty-three archivists honor the late SAA Felllow and past president Mark A. Greene by offering a variety of perspectives on the Core Values of the Society of American Archivists and their relevance today. These essays clearly demonstrate how core values empower archivists’ interactions with resource providers, legislators, donors, patrons, and the public. For anyone who wishes to engage in thinking about what archivists do and why, Archival Values is essential reading. The book is available from the Society of American Archivists.

Season 2, Episode 2: Laura Millar


We live in an age where evidence and facts matter more than ever. Laura Millar, an independent consultant in records, archives, and information management and in publishing and distance education, discusses the “evidence crisis” and the urgency of all citizens to share a vested interest in preservation and access to archival evidence in her new book, A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age. Laura talks about why it is vital for the public to understand the nature and importance of records and archives, and actionable steps everyone can take to protect authentic evidence.


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In this urgent manifesto, Laura Millar makes the case that authentic and accurate evidence is crucial in supporting and fostering a society that is respectful, democratic, and self-aware.

A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age is the inaugural book in the Archival Futures Series, copublished by the American Library Association and Society of American Archivists. Read more about it.

Season 2, Episode 1: Peter Wosh


SAA Fellow Peter Wosh, editor of the Archival Fundamental Series III and former director of the Archives/Public History Program at New York University, kicks off the second season of Archives in Context. Peter discusses his path to archival work and the ways that teaching changed his understanding of archival practice. He also reveals the process behind reimagining the Archives Fundamental Series and what archivists can expect from the seven new volumes.


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The seven-volume Archival Fundamental Series III published by the Society of American Archivists, provides a gateway to contemporary archival best practices. Whether a student, new professional, seasoned archival veteran, or in the information science and public history fields, you’ll find the books in this series accessible, stimulating, and indispensable to your daily work. In addition to editing the series, Peter is the author of Volume 7: Introducing Archives and Manuscripts, forthcoming 2021.  In the meantime, check out his other SAA books, Waldo Gifford Leland and the Origins of the American Archival Profession andPrivacy & Confidentiality Perspectives: Archivists & Archival Records or his award-winning American Archivist essay, “Going Postal.”

Episode 7: Dominique Luster


Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris archivist at the Carnegie Museum of Art, discusses her TED Talk and her role in building community to better steward a large photographic collection documenting African American life in mid-twentieth century Pittsburgh. Her experiences in cleaning up “dirty data” and her thoughts on archivists’ understanding of professionalism round out the conversation.

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Watch Dominique’s TEDx Talk in Pittsburgh, given in June 2018, titled “Archives Have the Power to Boost Marginalized Voices,” and read her article on the same topic in the November/December 2018 issue of Archival Outlook.

Episode 6: Anthony Cocciolo

Cocciolo head shot

Anthony Cocciolo, dean of the Pratt Institute School of Information, speaks about his award-winning book, Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists. He discusses his inspiration for the book and explains how his recommendations can be realized even in small archival programs. He also shares his thoughts on archival outreach for audiovisual and other archival collections.

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Most archivists encounter and most archives contain some form of moving image and sound material. This book offers practical guidance on how to preserve and make accessible the moving image and sound record, from the most relevant legacy formats to born-digital formats. Cocciolo won the SAA Waldo Gifford Leland Award for best publication in 2017 and the Arline Custer Memorial Award from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in 2018. The book is available from the Society of American Archivists.