ARCHIVES / Chicago 2007


“Chicago Vacation City” by Proehl, c.1932.

Coming “Home”

What defines home?  Is it where we live?  Where we were born?  Is it where our roots are?  Where we are comfortable?  Is it where important decisions are made?  Where things begin and where they flourish?  Is it a starting point?  Our base of operations?

For many of us the SAA annual meeting provides a home where we can relax with others who share our beliefs and challenges.  It’s a place to share our ideas, build coalitions, and find partners to collaborate with us on projects.  It’s a place where new archivists find support from established archivists, and senior-level archivists pass along their experience to the next generation while gaining new knowledge from those on the cutting edge of the profession.

For ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007, the Program Committee has selected a collection of wonderful sessions that cover the spectrum of archival activities.  Whether you’re a new archivist or a mid-level or senior archivist, whether you’re starting a repository or seeking ways to improve your more established archives, whether you want to brush up on the basics or challenge yourself with advanced information – we’ve got you covered!  ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007 will provide many opportunities to discuss collaboration and many ways to share information and ideas with each other. 

Here’s a taste of what’s to come in August:

If you’re interested in the history of our host city, you’ll be delighted to learn that Studs Terkel, the noted broadcaster and historian, will join us to discuss his many interviews and the repository that houses them – the Chicago History Museum.  You’ll also enjoy sessions on the Chicago film archives and the study of baseball in early 20th century Chicago.

Several of the leading voices on the challenging issues of copyright litigation and legislation will discuss hot topics in copyright, including orphan works, Section 108 of the copyright law, and lawsuits on digitization, fair use, and user fees for public domain works.

Have you read More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing,” the American Archivist article by Dennis Meissner and Mark Greene? If not, be sure to read “Greene-Meissner” (as it has come to be known) before arriving in Chicago.  (You’ll find it in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue of the Journal.)  The article has engendered a healthy debate, and several sessions address the content:  one describes how some repositories have implemented the procedures suggested in the article; another discusses how reference service should play a role in the development of minimal processing standards at a repository; and a third addresses how to deal with sensitive materials when using minimal processing standards.

Many of us watched anxiously as it appeared that the Martin Luther King, Jr., papers would be offered at auction.  In a discussion of the outcome of that drama, our presenters will share how the three repositories that now hold the King papers have collaborated – and the challenges they face in dealing with such a high-profile collection.

For those interested in technology and electronic records, ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007 offers a wealth of sessions.  Learn about using open-source software in your repository; developing digital projects; and merging archival information onto organizational OPACs.  One group will encourage attendees to become more involved in development of digital institutional repositories.  Come hear what they have to say!

Representatives of the Council of State Archivists’ “Closest to Home” project will describe how the project team is exploring ways to provide better access to local government records.  You’ll also find sessions on:  ways in which to authenticate electronic records and the best methods for providing access to born-digital records; the use of databases instead of finding aids to manage archival collections; and an update on the important Archivist Tool Kit project, including the results of the first round of usability testing and next steps.

If you’re intrigued by work with collections that may be out of the mainstream, you’ll want to check out the session on dealing with sexually explicit collections…. Or the one on the roles that archives and archivists should play in social justice work… Or the one on how to deal with human rights collections that contain sensitive or controversial materials.

Outreach is a critical topic for most of us, and we will have several sessions that deal with various aspects of outreach, including the role of newer technologies (such as blogs and wikis) in outreach.  You may also be interested in how to reach out to prospective donors in underserved communities; how to deal with donors who are elderly and infirm and with those who wish to control access to their collections; and how to deal with groups such as boards, elected officials, and donors that may oversee archives – and what to do when these organizations’ missions, ideas, and desires are in conflict with each another. If you’re looking for ways to bring funding into your repository (and who isn’t?), you’ll want to attend the session on user fees.

For those interested in an international perspective, we offer programs on 1) how privacy rules and regulations in other countries can provide a framework for improving privacy rules in the United States and 2) the role of legislative and regulatory frameworks in shaping how archivists do their jobs in other countries.

As many of us explore leadership opportunities in our repositories and in the profession, we look for information about how to become an effective leader and how to continue to grow and develop within the profession.  Several sessions at ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007 will help inform our exploration.  Presentations focus on the best ways in which to obtain leadership skills; broadening our horizons with distance education; and the role of archivists in our ever-changing society – and how that role is affected by society and the needs of our patron base.  There are sessions for those senior archivists who are facing difficult job situations or changing roles.  And there are presentations on how women can work to become leaders within the archival community, including tools to help us succeed.

SAA President Elizabeth Adkins will co-host a session with ARMA President Susan McKinney to discuss how our professions and organizations might enhance collaboration – to the benefit of all of us.

In 2007 we broadened the ways in which presenters can share their work by providing for poster presentations.  This format – which SAA traditionally has reserved for graduate students – gives you the chance to view posters on your own schedule and have an informal, one-on-one conversation with the presenter. Be sure to take this opportunity to see what our colleagues are doing in their repositories around the country.

As in the past, we have reserved a program slot for graduate student paper presentations.  Show your support for the future leaders of our profession by attending this session, where you’re sure to learn about some fascinating work being done in a variety of areas.

Planning your schedule for a meeting like ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007 can be a daunting task.  We hope you’ll take some time to review the session descriptions in this Preliminary Program (pages 18 to 32), complete your registration (pages 49 to 50), and make your travel plans (pages 46 to 48).  And be sure to make time in your schedule for some “extra-curricular” activities that will enhance your conference experience – such as Chicago’s JazzFest, which begins on Thursday, August 30.
The 2007 conference is extra special for many of us.  Not only are we returning to our “archival home,” we’re also returning to SAA’s own Sweet Home Chicago. We hope that you’ll join us!

-- ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007 Program Committee


SAA Is Grateful for the Outstanding Work of the ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007 Program Committee!

Danna C. Bell-Russel (Co-Chair)
Library of Congress

Becky Haglund Tousey (Co-Chair)
Kraft Foods Inc

Amy Cooper Cary
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Adriana Cuervo
Sousa Archives / Center for American Music
University of Illinios, Urbana-Champaign

Alexandra Gressitt
Thomas Balch Library

Shari Jackson
The Coca-Cola Company

Mark E. Martin
Louisiana State University Special Collections

Nancy Melley
National Archives and Records Administration

Tom Rosko
MIT Archives Special Collections

Arlene Schmuland
University of Alaska Anchorage

Elisabeth Wittman
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Steven Wright
The Winthrop Group

Sheryl Vogt
(Ex-officio - 2008 Co-chair)

Joel Wurl
(Ex-officio - 2008 Co-chair)