Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wheels are Turnin': RAO Seeking Nominations

Spring has sprung again, and so has the opportunity to become involved with RAO! The RAO Nominating Committee is asking for nominations (of others or yourself) for the position of Vice-President/President Elect and the Section's Steering Committee.

The Vice-President/President Elect will serve as the support to the Chair for the immediate following year after election, and then serve as Chair the next year. The Chair presides at the Section and Steering Committee meetings, and represents the Section in its relations with SAA in general and with SAA Council, among many other things. More information about this, and the Steering Committee may be found in the Section's By-Laws:

Currently, there are two positions open for the 2009 - 2011 term on the Section Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is a good way to become better acquainted with the workings not only of the RAO itself, but also SAA as a whole. Committee members serve in an advisory capacity to the chair, and often review reports, etc. from SAA Council or other organizations within SAA. The Chair may assign specific responsibilities to Committee members, as the need arises. Another area of service is to aid the Chair in the planning of the annual meeting.

The election will be held during the section's annual meeting, during SAA in Austin. There will also be an opportunity to vote electronically prior to the meeting.

Please submit names by July 1st to either or both:

Lynn Eaton, RAO Nominating Chair:
Arlene Schmuland, RAO Chair:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ideas for the Next Women's History Month

Are you like me and always so impressed by the outreach efforts of other repositories that inspire and motivate you to try something new at your institution? It may be that the "thing" won't happen at your repository for a while, but you know it provides a bit of excitement for a new project. This is how I felt in March during Women's History Month, so here are a few links to projects that I hope will provide a bit of inspiration for a future project for someone else as well.

The blog Women's Experiences at Dickinson College is documenting the experiences of the institution's female students in recognition of the 125th anniversary of women being permitted to enroll at the college for the first time. The about page summarizes the project's work so far and is a wonderful example of fruit interns and volunteers offer repositories.

The Ada Lovelace Day pledge to publish a blog post on March 24th about a woman in technology was an interesting and apparently successful endeavour to get 1,000 people to blog about women in technology. While not specific to archives or special collections, it is certainly example of the sort of opportunity we should join whenever practical.

The Bigger Picture: Photography and the Smithsonian blog did a series of posts highlighting women in science photographs from the institution's collections to mark Women's History Month and International Women's Day. And why not take a turn through Julia Child's Kitchen courtesy of the Smithsonia National Museum of American History.

The Nurse Romance Cover of the Week from the Special Collections Department at the UW-Milwaukee Library was begun in 2006 and has been presenting images and text from the over 400 novels in their collection that have nurses as central characters. The books were written for young and adult audiences from the 1950s to the 1970s and appeal to my appreciation of pop culture and pulp novels.

The Klondike Gold Rush-Seattle Unit of the National Park Service hosted a series of events from March through May as well as an interpretive exhibit about Catharine Paine Blaine, an early proponent of women's rights in Washington.

The Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections' blog A Movable Archives provided the perspective of a repository which spends nearly every day sharing and talking women's history in Every Day is Ladies' Day for Me. You may also want to check out their IMLS-funded digital collection Women Physicians: 1850s-1970s.

The Jewish Women Archive not surprisingly marked Women's History Month with a number of announcements including releasing the release of Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia and continuing regular this day in history tweets.

The Vietnam Center & Archive at Texas Tech University released Not Just Pretty Faces: The Women of the Vietnam War an online exhibit that includes photographs, video, oral history interview audio and transcriptions, documents, and artifacts about the experiences of American women nurses, Red Cross personnel, and others who served during the Vietnam War.

So what did we do to mark Women's History Month at my repository this year? Well, we did a little coasting and I tried something new. First, the coasting: the 2008-2009 academic year is the 90th anniversary of the College of William and Mary going coed. Last year we began the blog Mary Comes to the College with William to "follow the first year women were admitted to the College of William and Mary 90 years later beginning with the endorsement of the proposed legislation by the College's Board of Visitors on February 12, 1918, through the end of the spring term in 1919." March was actually a slow month in 1919, so we wrote what we called "A Step out of 1918-1919" posts to write about the first group of African American women to attend the university and a lesson plan companion to the blog. A related exhibit "There's Something About the Marys" exploring the first three years of co-education at the College of William and Mary in two exhibit cases in the high-traffic read and relax area of the library. The something new we tried was sharing something related to women's history from our collections at least once each day via Twitter Mondays-Fridays starting March 3rd .

I mean no slight by not mentioning the amazing things you're doing at your repository and hope folks will share information and links to your projects or one you have an archives crush on in the comments (that is why they are there and hope we can use them).