ARCHIVES 2008: Archival R/Evolution & Identities
72nd Annual Meeting
Pre-conference Programs: August 24–27, 2008
Conference Dates: August 26–30, 2008
2008 Exposition Dates: August 28–29, 2008
Hilton San Francisco
333 O'Farrell Street
“Archival R/Evolution & Identities”-hmm…
Since the 2008 Call for Proposals was issued, you may have wondered –
as have many of our colleagues – just what a conference carrying this
theme would look like. Frankly, we’re delighted by the creativity and spirit
of those inspired to explore “who we are, where we are, and where we’re going.”
Revolution, evolution, or soul searching, ARCHIVES 2008 promises to be an
exciting and stimulating week!
The archives profession is at a crossroads in so many respects, and our
conference theme is meant to capture a sense of the uncertainty that characterizes
where we find ourselves today. What lies at the heart of our professional
identity? When we’re fully honest with ourselves, we must ask if we really know
what makes this a “profession” and what constitutes the price of admission to
this guild. Some would say the time for handwringing about this is over; others
would say it’s just started. Most would say they’re uncertain….
Professional identity(ies) is a primary topic of many of the sessions selected
for ARCHIVES 2008. SAA President Mark Greene promises to give this theme
focused attention in his Presidential Address. Other sessions explore it from
the perspectives of our professional ethics, our education programs, our
relationships with allied practitioners and users, and much more.
Questions of identity(ies) are embedded in each of the three strategic priorities
that SAA has adopted (technology, diversity, and public awareness), and our
conference purposely includes sessions exploring current and future matters
in these areas:
- "R/Evolution" most readily brings to mind the role of archives in the digital
age. There can be no denying that technology continually and rapidly transforms
our work and the contents of many of our repositories. At ARCHIVES
2008 you'll find help in your efforts to harness the computer's capabilities
and to understand (or debate) where the latest advances may be leading.
Are you open to the possibilities? Presentations include enhancing discovery
of archival material at the Web's surface, incorporating Web 2.0 technologies
in archival description, exploring the pros and cons of digitizing entire
collections, and employing the Internet in self-mediated reference. If you're
addressing electronic documentation preservation and accessibility, you'll
find an abundance of information on such topics as acquiring digital manuscript
collections, capturing born-digital photographs and other audiovisual
sources, preserving Web content, examining new tools and approaches for
handling electronic records, and more. Several sessions showcase the need
for adapting education programs and skill sets for data curation and the
demands for digital content development, maintenance, and standards.
- The archives community has miles to go in building a work force that more
nearly reflects the cultural composition of society as a whole and in ensuring
more inclusive documentation from its various sectors. These issues
are prominent in a number of sessions addressing strategies for documenting
ethnic communities, "second wave" feminism, Asian American
experiences, and advancing diversity in institutional archives. One session
is devoted to discussion of the recently developed "Protocols for Native
American Archival Materials."
- How do we stack up with respect to public awareness? As this is being
written, controversies swirl about the release of past records for presidential
candidates and vanished email at all levels of government. Archives
and archivists - for better or worse - increasingly find themselves in the
news. But how do we build on this momentum to the profession's advantage?
Several sessions explore outreach and forging new connections with
users and other stakeholders beyond our boundaries.
Do we have a global role as archivists? Are our international colleagues similarly
challenged? We gave special encouragement for proposals introducing international
aspects of the questions of definition and direction, particularly from our
Pacific Rim colleagues and others. The response is rewarding - an exceptional
number of presenters from different countries will bring comparative points of
view to topics such as outreach, education, and digital preservation and access.
In a featured Global Issues Forum, Verne Harris (of the Nelson Mandela Foundation
in South Africa) and David Wallace (University of Michigan) will deliberate
on our responsibility in relation to archives and social justice, as SAA Committee
on Ethics and Professional Conduct Chair Rand Jimerson moderates.
International contributions will enrich our discussions, and we hope you join us
to promote a greater sense among US archivists of being part of a worldwide
community of practice.
The Program Committee heard your feedback from the 2007 program
and has responded to your request for sessions that speak to the wider
audience, include the small repository, cover those with fewer resources,
and offer practical yet creative ideas and solutions. Look for the "Practical
Perspectives" sessions tracked across the schedule, and choose among
topics such as collection development, outreach in exhibits and in work with
undergraduates, digital dilemmas, AV preservation, and archives management.
Be sure to plan time to support our student participants - in a featured paper
session and in poster presentations - who are attending the SAA annual conference
in greater numbers than ever before. And don't forget the "Professional
Poster" showcase, an untapped opportunity for many of us.
Have we covered it all? No way! The agenda is so packed that we had to add a
day to the schedule. The increasingly popular pre-conference workshops will be
joined early in the week by the dynamic Research Forum, a forum on "Protocols
for Native American Archival Materials," and several independent programs
planned by Roundtables. Special events and plenaries are tucked in each
We hope that you'll join us for our own R/Evolutionary moment at ARCHIVES
2008. Meet up with old friends, and make new ones. Explore our differences
and commonalities. Expect some surprises!
We'll see you in San Francisco - for a memorable learning experience and
a wild ride!
~ The ARCHIVES 2008 Program Committee
SAA Is Grateful for the Outstanding
Work of the ARCHIVES 2008
Sheryl B. Vogt (Co-Chair)
University of Georgia
Joel F. Wurl (Co-Chair)
National Endowment for the Humanities
Big Pine Paiute Tribal Archives
University of Hawaii
Su Kim Chung
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of Texas at Austin
The Associated Press
University of British Columbia
Kentucky Department for Library and Archives
(Ex-officio - 2009 Co-chair)
(Ex-officio - 2009 Co-chair)