Nance McGovern 2016-11-16 10:59:02
One great advantage of serving as SAA’s president is that I’m exposed to many issues that colleagues bring forward and then have an opportunity to lead discussion and raise awareness among our professional colleagues. An issue that is at the top of my list at the moment—and one that will be with us for a while—is inter-profession engagement in a time of great change. Archivists are an integral part of a larger community of allied professionals, within which we’re seeing a shift that may seem alarming. Two recent examples come to mind. Although both may have more immediacy in academic settings, they’re also likely to have an impact in the broader archives world. Example 1: Library collections are shifting their scope toward unique and rare content that we know as archives and special collections. For several years Lorcan Dempsey of OCLC Research has presented on a collections framework that refers to archives and special collections as “Inside- Out Collections” (i.e., resources that may be unique to an institution, such as digitized images or research materials, in contrast to “Outside-In Collections,” which are purchased, licensed, and otherwise acquired library collections). (1) As archivists we may not like the Inside-Out concept, but we need to be aware of it and participate in conversations about it. (2, 3) Example 2: There is an increasing focus on research data management with an increasing need to collect supporting data as well as research articles. In addition, there is a need to capture the whole of the research lifecycle (including content that is in the scope of archives and special collections), such as web archiving for research websites, grant documentation, faculty archives that contain research-related content, and research data. Archivists have an essential role in ensuring that the record of science is complete, a role that may be new to many of us and that may be overlooked or misunderstood by other professions. Two recent events—an August 2016 National Information Standards Organization virtual conference on “Data Curation: Cultivating Past Research Data for Future Consumption” (4) and a December 2016 IEEE workshop on “Computational Archival Science: Digital Records in the Age of Big Data” (5)—are examples of discussions that should include us, but may not unless we jump in. Others before me have called on SAA members to step up to the plate to advocate for archives and for ourselves as professionals. SAA’s Strategic Plan calls for SAA to “provide leadership in promoting the value of archives and archivists to institutions, communities, and society.” 2014–2015 President Kathleen Roe led “The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives” and is teaching the new “Advocacy Café” web series, and 2015–2016 President Dennis Meissner has pointed to the critical need to collect, analyze, and disseminate data that support the value of archives. Archivists need to be part of these discussions! I encourage SAA members to speak up, to make the case for the role of archivists, and to share your ideas for SAA activities that might effectively address these concerns. And if you hear a presentation or read an article, blog post, or tweet that dismisses or ignores the role of archivists, take the initiative to respond in a professional and productive way. We should practice ways in which we can explain, illustrate, inform, share, and even cajole. Take a look at SAA’s online advocacy materials at http://www2.archivists.org /advocacy and contact me at email@example.com if you have ideas for enhancing our tools or can share an experience about advocating for archivists. Notes See http://www.slideshare.net/lisld/the-facilitated-collection-collections-and-collecting-in-a-network-environment. See https://norcaltpg.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/nctpg-2016-annual-meeting/. See https://kdnp.uky.edu/project/index.php?id=ifla-2016. See http://www.niso.org/news/events/2016/virtual_conference/aug31_virtualconf/. See http://dcicblog.umd.edu/cas/ieee _big_data_2016_cas-workshop/.
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