21 March 2010

Archives, records, libraries: Finding resources

My current travels have contributed to a dearth of resource investigations. However, our Geneablogger colleague Amy Coffin is producing a series of prompts called 52 Weeks To Better Genealogy.

I couldn't resist Challenge 12: Check out the web sites for the Society of American Archivists, ARMA International, and the American Library Association.

Genealogists can benefit from the educational opportunities and publications of other information-based organizations. You may not be an archivist, records manager or librarian, but you share the same interests. Look at the events these associations hold. Find the books they publish and see if you can request them through your library via Inter-Library Loan.

You may also want to check out your state’s (or country’s) library association. If you’re a genealogy blogger, write about your impressions of one or more of these organizations.

After a long trip from Melbourne to Hong Kong on Sunday, I grabbed some dinner and then had a good sleep. This morning, I'm rested and up for Amy's challenge.

Each of the organizations she named holds information for individual genealogists and family history researchers as well as genealogical and historical societies.

The Society of American Archivists holds an annual conference at which diverse topics are presented. At the 2009 event, held in August in Chicago, some of these topics (online with slides, abstracts, presenter bios and more) may well interest individual researchers as well as Jewish genealogical and historical societies.

For example, Audra Eagle (Forsyth County Public Library, Winston-Salem, North Carolina) presented "Sharing for the Greater Good: Outreach and collaboration from the perspective of community-based archives."

The presentation (slides, abstract and bio are online) focused on collaborative efforts by larger archives from the perspective of a community-based archives and local history collection. Methods for and approaches to outreach were discussed, and centered on contacting and collaborating with organizations to create better access to community-based primary sources.

A slide showing the collaboration across collaboration, education and funding was of great interest in demonstrating how the community-based archives can be introduced to a larger audience.

Collaboration: Shared programming at public events, shared materials (traveling archives, inter-archival loan), Archival deposits (storage off-site), alliances (regional networks, roundtables, etc.).

Education: Training manuals, local workshops, continuing education, resources (websites, regional centedrs), and standards.

Funding: Government grants, memberships.
Perhaps the most important aspects under funding were supportive activities, such as digitization projects, educational programs, shared publications and collaborative efforts.

Stressed were the C's: Contact, Cooperation, Coordination, Collaboration and Convergence, as well as understanding how each impacts investment, risk and benefit.

Interesting quote:

"[A] people cannot truly be masters of their own history and understand their identity unless they have access to their records." (Jeannette Bastian, "Owning Memory: How a Caribbean Community Lost Its Archives and Found Its History," 84)
Also relevant was the discussion of how acquisition of local collections by larger archives and special collections departments can lead to cultural displacement, leaving some material inaccessible through what can be termed "territorial" issues. Transferring of materials also leads to backlogs during which materials cannot be accessed by those who need them.

Eagle provided information on how The North Carolina Room at Forsyth County Public Library benefits from collaborative efforts of larger repositories to educate staff and share resources allowing local archival resources to remain in community hands.

Tracing the Tribe enjoyed reading how two large digitization grants (to Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Digital Forsyth and North Carolina Maps) provided resources for collaboration with smaller repositories.

Importantly, through sharing technical resources, equipment, and expertise without attempting to acquire archival materials for their own collections, the large repositories are helping to preserve the community's cultural assets and to respect the value of materials remaining in geographic and cultural context.

Two other notable presentations:

-- The University of Michigan's Paul Conway presented "How do Experts use Digitized Photographs?" Included was information on types of users (scholar, avocation, occupation), as well as the classes of users, such as serious challenging users, and their motivations (affiliations, process and outcome) and photo-based projects. There is an accompanying list of references and a bibliography for those interested in more on this field.

-- Sam Meister's "Recordkeeping in a Small Non-Profit Organization," which focused on how a recordkeeping system can be implemented in a limited resource environment. It addressed such actions as investigate, analyze, identify, assess, strategize, design, implement, and review.

ARMA International was established in 1955, and has some 11,000 members representing records managers, archivists, corporate librarians, imaging specialists, legal professionals, IT managers, consultants and educators who work in many industries, such as government, legal, healthcare, financial services, and petroleum in the US, Canada, and 30-plus other countries.

It also publishes bi-monthly the only professional journal - Information Management Magazine - for these individuals, and organizes annual conferences.

It offers webinars, podcasts and more that could prove valuable to keepers of records.

The American Library Association's mission is to promote library service and librarianship, and to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure access to information.

Its website resources include the program guide to the last midwinter ALA meeting in January 2010, in Boston. The daily schedule begins on page 68 and runs through page 87.

You thought the annual IAJGS conferences were busy? Check out this one held in simulltaneous multiple venues which covered an enormous range of resources and information!

No comments:

Post a Comment