Jami Awalt, Rachel D. Muse, and Arlene Schmuland 2014-02-12 14:29:44
These days Washington, DC, isn’t exactly known as a congenial gathering place for the constructive sharing of ideas. But the 2014 Joint Meeting of the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), and Society of American Archivists (SAA) will change that! Members of our national associations will join forces in our nation’s capital in August to learn from each other, share stories from our varied workplaces, celebrate successes, and find common ground. Join old friends and meet new ones August 10–16 at the Marriott Wardman Park in the heart of Woodley Park, Washington, DC. More, More, More Members of CoSA, NAGARA, and SAA have been coming together for years to develop a program that has something for everyone— and 2014 is no exception. Are you a federal records manager or a university archivist? Are you planning a digitization project for a small nonprofit organization or a massive state government? Are you a social activist, a student, or a science fiction fan? All of the above will find something to get excited about on the program this summer in Washington, DC. This year’s theme, ARCHIVES*RECORDS: Ensuring Access, was intended to be open to broad interpretation by session proposers. “Ensuring access” means many things to different people, from taking the steps necessary to be confident that digital records created today will be available for use by future researchers, to raising awareness about collections so that information gets into the hands of people who need it, to finding ways to raise the funds needed to sustain long-term archives programs. Early on in our discussions about the Joint Meeting we agreed: We don’t want attendees to have a chance to be bored! The Call for Session Proposals reflected this attitude, noting that we wanted attendees to have more diversity in sessions, more session formats, and more opportunities to participate. We encouraged proposers to suggest their own ideas for alternative session formats, and we shortened sessions (to a maximum of 75 minutes) to make room for more variety, to keep people moving, and to allow for more interaction and informal networking throughout the day. Record Numbers We’re gratified to have received a record number of proposals: 163! Despite government shutdowns and the usual distractions of daily working life, it was clear that our colleagues felt strongly that they had something to share. We were thrilled to watch our inbox fill to the brim with fascinating topics. The range of viewpoints and the variety within session proposals truly reflects the diversity of our community of archivists and records administrators. The proposals were compiled and distributed to our “lucky 13” Program Committee members, who prioritized time in their busy schedules to carefully read and rate every proposal we received. Ratings were based on concept, execution, relationship to theme, how compelling we found the topic, qualifications of speakers, and how the proposal fit into the priorities of the host associations. We met in person in Chicago in November to review and select the sessions that we’ll be bringing you this summer. With so many proposals on our plates, our task was mighty. We began our conversation in appropriate Chicago style: over plates heaped with deep-dish pizza. While we’d each had the opportunity to read and rate proposals on our own, the lively conversation we shared with our colleagues brought new aspects of each potential session to our attention. The days were long, the work was enthralling, and we wrapped up the weekend feeling satisfied that we’d put together a strong program with much to offer. Watch for the program schedule and registration to open in mid-April. Please join us at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel August 10–16. Take advantage of the cultural treasures that Washington has to offer and the intellectual riches embedded in this year’s program. We hope to see you there!
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