March 2020 meeting with Museum Connect

The March AK Archivists meeting will be March 3 at 11 am. We’re co-meeting with our Alaskan museum colleagues for their monthly Museum Connect. Meeting joining details are on their website. Thanks to Anjuli Grantham and Della Hall for suggesting this opportunity.

In the meantime, we are hoping for part of the conversation to be a mastermind session, where an individual poses a question or quandary and gets input and advice from the group (aka spend time in the “hot seat”). This is a chance for archivists to tap the expertise of museum professionals and vice versa. Do you have to do exhibits and need hints and tips to make it as simple as possible? Are you trying to figure out how to best store those mukluks that came in with a collection? What description protocols should you use with artwork?  We are seeking a few volunteers to start off in the hot seat, so please use the contact link in the site menu to let me know if you are willing!

January 2020 meeting

I’m not quite sure what happened to December, but it just went Poof! I’ll call it a holiday vacation but now it’s time to get back to monthly meetings. The poll closed with the selected time of Wednesday, January 29, 2-3 pm.

In our October meeting we brainstormed a ton of topics that we could use for future meeting topics. (List below).

For the January meeting, let’s talk about grants. What grants are out there that can help support archives programs? What grants have you gotten and what did you learn from the process?

Meeting joining information:

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Meeting ID: 882 033 926

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Future topics:

  • Problem media
  • Reference statistics
  • Forms
  • Transfer documents/deeds of gift
  • Disaster recovery
  • Copyright issues, Music Modernization Act and what it means
  • development/retention of archivists in Alaska
  • Have folks from different archival collections talk about what their collection strengths are.
  •  Collaboration between archives might be another topic.
  • Dealing with artifacts
  • Conservation of materials.
  • Building relationships with donors?
  • Anthropological collections
  • Medical records/HIPAA concerns
  • Cultural rights
  • Corporate archives
  • Records retention
  • Handing of archival film and video.
  • Grants and grant cooperation
  • Tools like Preservica or Islandora or Archives Space.
  • The language of talking to co-professionals, Terms like accession, provenance, Accession is also sometimes different between archives and archives
  • What our challenges are for our collections would also be a good topic.
  • Professional archivists & local volunteer collections
  • What are the major problems we are trying to solve or what are some of the persistent issues that we haven’t been able to solve
  • What are the persistent issues that we finally HAVE been able to solver.
  • A good topic for Outreach–what are the best ways to reach the people that we want to reach?  What media are they actually using? What do they pay attention to?
  • SLED and what we can do with it
  • Maybe other resources we use?

Sept/Oct 2019 meeting

First an apology from me (Arlene): September got away from me. So September’s meeting is going to be in early October and hopefully I can reset my AKArchivists clock to get going a little earlier in the month.

Edit: And the meeting is now scheduled! 2-3 pm on Friday, October 4. To join, here’s all the messy details:

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Meeting ID: 411 033 048

Topic for this meeting: Discussion topic brainstorm to get us set up for the next year! Over the past year we’ve discussed what to do when you’ve just been presented with a collection, dealing with digital materials, digitization projects, outreach, sensitive materials, researcher forms, the Alaska professional association landscape, and researcher stats.  We could revisit some of those, or we could head off in entirely new directions, or both. Suggestions that have been floated already are: disaster recovery and what can we do to support the development and retention of archivists in Alaska. Do you have problem media? Ethical questions? Need help with volunteer management? Trying to develop a collection acquisition policy? Got great solutions to any of the above and want to share them?

July 2019: reference stats

How do you track use of your collections? Do you track use of your collections? What use do you track? How long do you keep that documentation if you create it? If you keep use stats, what do you do with them?

Gwen Higgins has volunteered to lead the discussion this month. It will be at 1-2 pm, Tuesday, July 23. To join the meeting online, click here.

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Personal note from Arlene: it’s a very scary time for a lot of us working in public archives, libraries, and museums in Alaska right now. Part of why it’s so scary is that we’re not sure what the future holds for us, our users/clientele, our missions. Maybe that’s a good topic for August? If the future is a little more clear at that point?

March meeting Weds 3/27 1-2 pm

The votes are in and 1 pm on Weds is our monthly AKArchivists meeting. We’ll hopefully be sharing our virtual space this time with representives of some of our allied groups and supporters. This is our chance to discuss together how we can best reach out to each other. If you have any questions you’d like to have covered, just comment below or use the contact us link in the menu in the top right to get those in. Or bring them up at the meeting: that works too!

Here’s the log-in information for the meeting. You can join via the web interface on your computer,  Zoom has a pretty easy to use app for mobile devices if you prefer that, or call in.

Topic: AK Archivists March meeting, 1-2 pm, Weds 3/27
Time: Mar 27, 2019 1:00 PM Alaska

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March 2019 meeting planning

Where did March go? It’s almost over! I need at least two extra weeks this month, I think. How about you?

Our March meeting is a follow-up on the February meeting on outreach: this time we’re inviting some archives supporters to attend. What questions do you have for them? Maybe how they hear about what we’re up to? How do we get information about support opportunities to them? What questions might they have for us?

Once again, there’s a Doodle poll for a time slot. Please fill it out by end of day Thursday, 3/21 and I’ll get the email out with the chosen time/date on Friday morning. Thanks!

February 2019 meeting recap

Our February meeting focused on outreach! Thanks to the about 15 people who participated. Lots of great suggestions out there about what our colleagues are doing in terms of outreach efforts.

First up, the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum. They’ve been making use of Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and deliberately following specific accounts from the region. They’ve also joined their local Community of Commerce. In more traditional methods, they have a three page newsletter that comes out about 6 times a year, subscription is via an online form. About 9000 subscribers? Wow.

Rose from the Aviation Museum talked about a social media effort they’re doing in March for Women’s History Month where they’re doing daily social media posts about women pilots in Alaska, and this even will be wrapped up with a party at the end of the month.

We talked a little bit about the Alaska Historical Society’s resolution in support of archives in Alaska. Here’s a copy of the text (Thanks to Pennelope of the Alaska Jewish Museum and AHS member):

Alaska Historical Society

Resolution of concern regarding Alaska’s archives

(November 8, 2018)

WHEREAS, manuscripts, diaries, public records, maps, photographs, films, and recordings are the primary source materials of Alaska’s history and are irreplaceable treasures; and

WHEREAS these archival materials need adequate facilities and trained professionals for their preservation and for safekeeping while making them available to attorneys, land and resource managers, public officials, scientists, historians, genealogists, Alaska Natives, and individuals for many diverse purposes; and

WHEREAS, the members of the Alaska Historical Society, a statewide organization dedicated to the preservation, development, and understanding of Alaska’s history, have become aware of reductions of professional staff and deterioration of several facilities where Alaska’s archival records are housed; and

WHEREAS, the closing of the Alaska office of the National Archives and Records Administration in 2014, moved collections and made access to them by Alaskans more difficult and more expensive; and

WHEREAS, two recent floods and the unwanted growth of mold at the world-renowned Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives of the University of Alaska Fairbanks have led to curtailed access to the archives by staff and the public in addition to threatening the records themselves; and

WHEREAS, a flood earlier this year in the Alaska Room at the Z.J. Loussac Municipal Library in Anchorage, damaged over 1,000 items, some irreparably. Subsequent decisions have been to close the Alaska Room, to not dedicate professional staff to the significant Alaskana collection, and to divide the collection; and

WHEREAS, the private archive of the Anchorage Times, a newspaper published for 76 years, is in storage in Arkansas, and hence not available to researchers; and

WHEREAS, cumulatively, in the last five years the people of Alaska have lost access to records critically needed by them; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Alaska Historical Society regards the public and private archives in Alaska to be endangered and calls on Alaska’s Congressional delegates, Governor, Legislators, University of Alaska, and municipal officials to provide funding for professional staff for the protection, care, and collection of these irreplaceable materials, and for public access to the materials.

February meeting Mon 1/25 11 am-12 noon

The votes were in and Monday 2/25, 11-12 it is. As usual, please use the contact button in the top menu to let me know you’d like to attend and I’ll get the zoom joining info to you. Make sure that happens at least an hour in advance of the meeting start, please.

Our topic? Outreach.

Seems timely, given fiscal conditions in the state right now that seem to be affecting so many of us. How do you reach your stakeholders or potential stakeholders or resource allocators? Who are they? What do you wish they knew about you? What methods of outreach have been successful for you in past and how much time and effort did they consume? How do you evaluate or assess your outreach choices?

Do you have any wonderful success stories? Or cautionary tales from failures or things that just weren’t as successful as you’d hoped?

Let’s share, let’s commiserate, let’s do what we can.

February 2019 meeting planning

Outreach: how do you reach your stakeholders or potential stakeholders? Who are they? What do you wish they knew about you? What methods of outreach have been successful for you in past and how much time and effort did they consume? How do you evaluate or assess your outreach choices? Do you have any wonderful success stories? Or cautionary tales from failures or things that just weren’t as successful as you’d hoped?

Please vote for a time/date that works best for you for this meeting. Please vote by end of day Wednesday, February 13. The time slot with the most votes will be it.

January meeting: Weds 1/23 2-3 PM

The votes are in and we had three time slots with 15 votes each. Since they all were the next three Wednesday afternoons, I split the difference and went with the middle one.

We’re talking about digitization projects, from selecting, to scanning, to putting online. Since we will have several attendees with a lot of experience in these things, perhaps it would be useful to treat this one more like a panel discussion with some a chance to interact? So if you have any questions you’d like to see covered in this month’s meeting, please, put them below in comments, email them me via the contact us link in the menu bar at the top of the page, and we’ll make sure the archivists with the know-how are prepared to talk about their experiences with your questions.

If you’re an archivist who has spent some time developing or working on digitization projects and would be willing to be one of the meeting’s go-to experts, will you please contact me using the contact us link in the menu toolbar?

As usual, we’ll be sending out the meeting contact information on a request basis. If you want to join in, please be sure to contact us! Instructions above ^^.