Innovation is the Key

This morning began with a new member breakfast, where in addition to fellow Simmons GSLIS students, I chatted with Deputy Director of the JFK Library Jamie Roth and outgoing NAGRA president Tracey Barezanky. After the breakfast I moved over to the mentoring meet and greet and saw some of the current job opportunities that are posted in the “Networking Cafe” and I posted my CV and business card to the bulletin board of job seekers.

For my first SAA session I chose a panel that addressed digitization implementation concerns for those archivists operating on a shoe-string/in a small organization. Andrea Ellis Weddle kicked off the session with an inspiring presentation that highlighted her work as part of the Heirloom Project initiated by Texas A@M Commerce to preserve local history by teaching public library staff how to digitize and make their collections accessible on-line.

The best suggestion from Weddle’s talk was to write your own manual to document the process that you complete when working on a project that will help train future staff members, student assistants and volunteers.

Holly Stevens reinforced the importance of creating an operations manual in her talk that addressed how such a document can eliminate some of the “Digital Time Sucks” like fragile documents, unwieldy metadata and unorganized collections that can really slow down the digitization process.

Alexis Braun represented the possibilities of collaboration with LIS students in her talk presented by Holly Stevens. Braun is a bit of a lone ranger at the Charles H. Wright Museum and has embarked on an extensive digitalization project and now averages that between 6 and 10 collections become available on-line each semester in part due to the work of students from Wayne State’s LIS archives program.

Kim Schroder LIS faculty at Wayne State concluded the session by speaking to the business management side of digital projects: planning, budget, project management and evaluation. Her talk made me glad that I had taken a management course this summer at Simmons, as the business side of archives remains a much neglected area in archives training.

Clearly innovation and collaboration is the key as we continue to make more collections available to our users!

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