Good stuff

  • The term “Archives 2.0” is popping up all over the place these days–from the Society of Tennessee Archivists [UPDATE: STA Newsletter now available online.] to NEH-funded projects. The Samaritan Archive 2.0 project just got a nice write-up and interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Wired Campus” blog, including a link to a white paper describing the project. Some highlights from the interview:

    When an archive becomes a digital resource, it not only means that users can access it from all over the world. It also means that an archive transforms to become a place where interaction among stakeholder groups can take place. In many respects, this is quite different from a traditional archive, which is often characterized by tight control over the ways users can interact with artifacts and, perhaps less deliberately, with one another. Hushed conversations and gloved hands are no longer required in digital spaces.

    And, yes, how can I resist quoting: “The blog ArchivesNext has been a great source for us in tracking discussion of where archives may be headed within the field of archival studies and library science.” Glad to hear it!

  • From the L’Archivista blog, an excellent summary of a presentation given at the Best Practices Exchange by Fynnette Eaton on managing change. I think this is a very important issue for all of us in the archival profession (see this recent post), so I highly recommend that you read this one carefully.
  • For more on change management and new ways of connecting with each other–see these videos posted on David Weinberger’s “Joho the Blog.”
  • If you’ve been following the posts here and elsewhere about how SAA and its annual meetings could be improved, you may see some familiar themes in Larrry Cebula’s post “More Cowbell: My Plan to Revive the OAH” (great title) over at the Northwest History blog. I don’t think all these suggestions would work for our beloved SAA, but there’s food for thought there for us as well.
  • Lucky people with access to the journal Archival Science might want to read “Smithsonian Team Flickr: a library, archives, and museums collaboration in web 2.0 space.” The rumor on Twitter is that the authors are trying to make a copy freely available online somewhere. I’ll let you know if that materializes.
  • And, last but not least, from Robin over at Bookish Disposition (don’t be fooled by the title–she’s a records manager-type), “The Disposition Blues” (soundtrack not included).
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    2 thoughts on “Good stuff”

    1. RE Larrry Cebula’s post, “The OAH is suffering the fate of many professional organizations–an aging and declining membership, fewer subscribers for its journal, less interest in its annual conference.”

      How nice that Society of American Archivists has a lot of young archivists, growing membership, and lots of interest in a great annual meeting. (Not to complain about an embarrassment of riches, but the annual meeting is almost too good! So many sessions, so little time!)

    2. Great post, Kate, “good stuff” indeed!

      I especially liked L’Archivista’s post about Fynnette Eaton’s presentation on change mangement. (Full disclosure — Fynnette is one of my best friends, I’ve known her since we first worked together at NARA in 1977.) This built on what Fynette explained to us at SAA in Washington in her presentation in 2006. I especially like the element of change management that L’Archivista described this way: “It also identified champions — people who, regardless of their official position within NARA’s hierarchy, had the respect of their colleagues and who could persuade others to support ERA.” Many organiztions fail to take so egalitarian an approach to using their intellectual assets and lose out, as a result.

      Management experts say that leadership depends on listening. As a retired senior officer, Gen. Anthony Zinni, said a few years ago: “The organization must consider how ‘the led’ view leadership.” Zinni added that “It is imperative that feedback is built into this system and that the leaders are receptive to this information. This feedback helps the leadership to understand whether the organization works the way they think it does.” Zinni explained that “A good leader leads from the front, being a part of what the group or team does. The leader should only use his/her power (‘Because I said so’) as a last resort, and take time to ensure buy-in and understanding. This can be accomplished through listening to concerns. . . .”

      Thanks, also, for linking to Larry Cebula’s excellent post. From my discussions with some scholars, I have the impression that many academic historians are stuck in a somewhat rigid, hierarchical culture, one which they can’t always even discuss very candidly in blogs. The extent to which tenure looms as an issue for academics plays a role in that self-censorship. I think many of them would welcome some of the changes Cebula suggests. Others are wedded to the old way of doing things in which they have vested so much time and effort. Still, I’ve seen a number of scholars complain about the 3 papers + commenter format. I welcome Cebula’s call for a more inclusive approach (younger historians such as Jeremy Young of Progressive Historians have pointed out the benefits of a more inclusive approach to history, as well.)

      Thanks again!

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