fellowship update: NEA/MARAC 2015 spring meeting

The professional development support for this fellowship is truly great! It also helps that NEA/MARAC 2015 Spring Meeting was held in Boston (saving on travel, ftw!). I really enjoyed meeting people from this region and am excited to be part of the Roundtable for Early Professionals and Students (REPS). Also… thank you to AV Preserve folks for the clever buttons.


new cork board decor for my cube.

The only downside was having to choose between sessions — in two days, I only attended six sessions–most of which were lightning talk rounds. But the sessions I did attend were interesting -below are some highlights and tweets from the event.

 Born Digital Access panel – dedicated reading room computers for born-digital access to disk images on the rise; archivists still “MacGyvering” access methods

  • Jason Evans Groth talked about NCSU’s work to create new means of access to disk images. One important step for them was revising donor agreements to include statements about access to digital content via disk image. The folks at NCSU have also developed a tool called DAEV which connects to their disk imaging/born-digital processing workflows and to ArchivesSpace via an API. Archivision, another tool in development by NCSU, is a browser based method for exploring disk images. I believe, based on my messy notes, that they currently provide access to disk images via a reading room station. I am not having much luck finding websites for these projects, but this blog post is useful.
  • Roger Christman highlighted the process of creating access to Virginia Governor, Timothy Kaine, email archive. The email archive is searchable online. The MacGyvering access joke  belongs to Roger! 🙂
  • Danielle Emerling talked about the process of creating access to a former U.S. senator’s papers at the University of Delaware. The special collections team is providing reading room access via a dedicated computer station.

Combating Hurdles in Professionalism lightning talks

This session featured talks from  several students and early professionals  on strategies for handling a range of things that effect new professionals: networking as a student, exploring work options outside of the archival professional and being strategic about transferable skills, selective volunteering, professional development on a budget, advocating for your work and professional value, and overcoming impostor syndrome. I thought there would have been more direct discussion of the ethics of volunteer labor in archives and the feeling that new professional are set up to languish in temporary jobs (one presenter Allyson Glazier delved into this area a bit), but the overall vibe was more perseverance than protest. I wish that more seasoned professionals would have been in attendance (by show of hands only one person in a packed room identified as such) and that there had been more time for discussion.

To follow up this session, I also attended a lunch discussion about establishing and nurturing mentoring relationships. The leaders of the session provided a handy worksheet on assessing one’s network of mentors which just might show in up in a future Archive Hour blog post! Stay tuned.

The Saturday plenary was also interesting. Sands Fish discussed network analysis, the power of metadata, and archives.

Thank you to the NEA/MARAC 2015 planning committee for your hard work.

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