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October Readings

Check out this month’s entry from the Reading Archivists group (an informal study group that examines historic speeches from SAA presidents). October’s readings deal with archival education and identity, a great follow-up to the archival education panel and forum at the 2014 SAA Annual Meeting .

Reading Archivists

Welcome to October! Since autumn always conjures up images of back to school, graduate archival education seems a fitting theme for this month. I’ve recently formed a deep interest in the history and development of archival education. The two presidential addresses we’ll read this month were delivered 40 years apart.

Christopher Crittenden, 1948/The Archivist as a Public Servant
— This address shows the marked turn from archivist as historian to archivist as part of an archival profession. Although there isn’t a lot here on graduate education, the shift to thinking of archivists as archivists first, as opposed to a flavor of historians, is really important. This sets the stage for later debates on whether archivists should receive training as historians or librarians (or as archivists!), and whether archives-land had enough unique characteristics to constitute its own profession.

William Joyce, 1988/Archival Education: Two Fables
— This address provides a…

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Introduction to Net Neutrality

I wrote a quick primer on Net Neutrality for Hack Library School.


As future information professionals, it is vitally important for library school students to follow major trends and topics in our respective industries. Today, library students  have more opportunities than ever to participate in discussions and initiatives that will shape the future of our profession. The tools at our disposal include library journals, websites like Hack Library School, microblogs like Twitter and Tumblr, and a wide variety of conferences.

One of the most significant topics affecting libraries today is the issue of network neutrality, or “net” neutrality. Library professionals, and the American Library Association (ALA) in particular, have lobbied on behalf of the Open Internet and net neutrality practices for many years. In supporting net neutrality, the ALA and other Open Internet advocates have expressed concerns about intellectual freedom and the right to information.

Net neutrality, a core component of the Open Internet, reflects the idea that access to information should not be restricted…

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WIPO and EU and Libraries ~ Oh My!

Laurel's Free Culture Blog

Like most people, I’ve spent most of my life not actually thinking about copyright law. I bought into the idea that copyright “protects” creative works and encourages creativity. At least I did until I started actually thinking about copyright law when I sat down to write my submission to the Canadian Government’s Copyright Consultation. That was when I first began to question copyright. Over the years since, I have found less to like and more to dislike about copyright law.

A large part of the problem is that governments take advice and direction from copyright “experts” who represent the specialinterests that would benefit from perpetual copyright. So the industry that will benefit from increased copyright have been invited to the table, but for the most part no one is asking, let along listening to the public. Every expansion of the copyright monopoly comes at…

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Hack Your Worldview: How to Build a Diverse Network of Allies and Mentors

Here is my latest post for Hack Library School. If you would like to recommend other strategies, resources, or great groups who are working towards building a more diverse profession, please take some time to leave a message in the comments.

Unfortunately, very few schools spend any time talking with students about serving diverse populations. Even *fewer* schools  dedicate instruction time to networking or getting involved in professional activities. Almost no schools teach library students to embrace their future roles as advocates and global citizens.

The Hack Library School blog is regularly read by students all over the world. Your comment may be exactly what they need to get plugged in to the conversation. Please go share your wisdom.

Hack Your Worldview: How to Build a Diverse Network of Allies and Mentors.

Selecting an Archival Education Program: Supporting our Prospective Colleagues

We need more student and recent graduate voices in the conversation about archival education. SAA President Danna C. Bell published some of her thoughts about the state of education after MARAC. Check it out.

Off the Record

I was at MARAC last week (my compliments to the Host and Program Committee members for a great conference and to SAA Vice President Kathleen Roe for an outstanding plenary speech) and between sessions spent a lot of time talking to students, new professionals and some longer tenured archivists about issues relating to archival education programs.

Some of the longer tenured archivists expressed concern that some of the students coming out of archival education programs have never processed a collection or worked in an archival repository before completing their academic program. Others noted that some students come out of archival education programs with no experience in collaborating with other colleagues and little to no experience in how to interact with co-workers and patrons in a professional setting. I also heard from a couple of people who again noted that it would be a good idea to stop certifying archivists and…

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Let’s talk about salaries, let’s talk about you and me

Mademoiselle Archivist prepared an informal salary survey for archivists and affiliated professionals. The last formal survey conducted by SAA took place ten years ago. While I still believe strongly that SAA should conduct a new salary study across its membership, this informal survey will provide great data in the interim! Check it out and take the survey for yourself.

Stephanie Bennett

Paraphrased from Salt-N-Pepa with my apologies.

I have been curious about salaries in the archives world for oh-so-long. The data collections from SAA’s ACENSUS is 10 years old this year, so my curiosity lives on. The Association of Research Libraries collects staff salary information yearly, so if your library is an ARL institution: (1) the information will be applicable; and (2) should be readily available through your institution – I found it in our library catalog. Anyway, SAA members and ARL staff members do not comprise the whole of our profession, and will not ever do so. Also relevant is Rebecca Goldman and Shannon M. Lausch’s “Job search experiences and career satisfaction among recent archives program graduates.”

Inspired by a thread about librarian salaries on Reddit, which pointed to a thread about salaries on my bff job-hunting-blog Ask A Manager, I decided: why not do a DIY salary…

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Hack ALA: Accreditation Standards!

Guest authors at Hack Library School put together a really important post on how LIS students can get involved in the revision process for ALA’s accreditation standards. ALA also governs accreditation for archives students, since SAA does not have its own accreditation process for archives education. That makes it really important for new and aspiring archivists to participate in this process as well. I am going to try to make it to the Feb 20th virtual town hall (click through for more information).


Hello! Topher here, happy to introduce guest poster Elizabeth Lieutenant! If you’re like us, you followed all the advice out there and enrolled in an ALA-accredited institution. But what does that really mean? This is your chance to find out! We were fortunate enough to attend a session at ALA Midwinter about the changing world of LIS program accreditation standards. Here’s what we learned:

Meet the COA:

Accreditation has been a part of US librarianship since 1923. In 1956, ALA’s Committee on Accreditation (COA) became a standing committee of ALA. COA is responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA, and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of ALA council. The mission of the ALA Office for Accreditation (OA) is to serve: “the general public, students, employers, and library and information studies Master’s programs through the promotion and advancement…

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Internships and Volunteering – the Section for New Professionals view

Students and new professionals in the U.S. and Canadian archives fields should check out this great post on the internship/job market debate from our counterparts in the UK and Ireland.

The New Archivist

Following the recent debate on the JISC Archive-NRA list-serv  about internships and volunteering (, the Archives and records Association (ARA) published an interim statement ( The ARA will issue a final statement on internship following the results of the research commissioned by the ARA Public Services Quality Group Volunteering Sub-Committee in the hope that it may provide additional information about the extent of unpaid work experience in the sector.

The Section for New Professionals (SfNP) raised concerns on behalf of new professionals with the ARA Board prior to the publication of the interim statement, summarised below. We would love to hear from the wider community, particular new professionals, who would like to share their views on our comments and the interim statement published by the ARA.

We are most concerned about the lack of clarity on volunteer and unpaid work experience on the ARA website. We…

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The Jobs Thing…

Current SAA president Danna C. Bell provided a summary of the recent Council debate over archives employment issues.

Off the Record

Special thanks to Nancy Beaumont and Kathleen Roe for their input on this post.

When I came back from Chicago after the SAA Council and Foundation Board meetings I had planned to write a brief post noting some of the highlights of both meetings. I was excited that we got our strategic plan actions finished and that we have a living document that will help guide us for the next few years.   We also reviewed six issue briefs created by the Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy that we hope to have available in May, did background work to inform SAA’s next budget and reviewed the annual reports of the sections, roundtables, committees and task forces of the Society.  The Foundation Board began discussing fund raising opportunities but also how the funds raised could support ongoing research projects and new educational programming.

But there is one issue that continues to…

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Call for Papers: Archival Activism special issue for Archival Science

Archives Watch

Archival Science



Call for Papers

Special Issue on ‘Archiving Activism and Activist Archiving’



Guest Editors:


Ben Alexander, Queens College, City University of New York


Andrew Flinn, University College London, University of London



Although archiving the records of political activism, particularly grassroots activism, is not a new practice, it has often been a controversial and contested process resulting in informal and autonomous activist archival endeavours as well as collections in more orthodox higher education and other local and national specialist archival repositories. In recent years the collection, preservation and the promotion of the use of activist collections for historical research and for ‘social justice’ or ‘human rights’ struggles has become increasingly prevalent in the formal archival sector as well as amongst the growing numbers of independent and autonomous archival endeavours. This explicit alignment with political activism and social justice objectives is not without…

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