Report from Archives 2015: SAA in Cleveland

by Jolene M. Beiser, Project Archivist

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Greetings! I recently returned to Los Angeles after a trip to Cleveland for the Society of American Archivists 2015 Annual Meeting. This trip and conference was an opportunity to let other archivists know about the important work we’re doing here at Pacifica to preserve women’s history, and to find out more about similar undertakings at other institutions.

My first two stops were the Recorded Sound Roundtable and Women’s Collections Roundtable meetings. At the Recorded Sound meeting we learned about the state of the initiatives having to do with Audiovisual Archives collections, including the publication of the ARSC Manual and the upcoming AMIA conference in Portland, OR. We also discussed initiatives the Roundtable might want to undertake during the 2015-2016 year, trainings seeming to be the most popular idea. I announced at the Women’s Collections Roundtable that we are almost finished with the American Women project (!!) and received enthusiastic interest and encouragement. Postcards announcing the project were also made available at the conference.

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On Thursday afternoon I presented with Carrie Daniels, Director of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Louisville, Aaron Rosenblum, Associate Curator of Special Collections at The Filson Historical Society, and Josh Ranger of A/V Preserve on the topic “Can I Trash This? Managing Physical Media Collections Post-digitization“. We had an energetic conversation about the special needs of audiovisual materials and why institutions choose to hold on to the analog materials once they’ve already been digitized, especially in light of their short (10-15 year) future lifespan. I talked about how as a result of the American Women project, we now have a plan to store digital preservation masters at the California Digital Library, Internet Archive, and in house, and are shipping the master tapes to the University of Maryland for long-term safekeeping. This will allow more room in our in-house vault for finding, digitally preserving, and making accessible more gems from our collection.

The conference allowed for more connections with Women’s collections archivists who can spread the word about the American Women collection to scholars and researchers at their institutions, and with audiovisual archivists with whom we are sharing ideas and best practices for preserving and sharing our collections.

Thank you to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for their support of this great project.

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