ARCHIVES 2008: Archival R/Evolution & Identities
“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:
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 conference day.
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 Program Committee!