Saturday, August 28, 2010

Annual Meeting - DC2010

Wow, where does the time go? It’s been two weeks since we wrapped things up at the DC2010 meeting, so it’s about time to share with everyone what happened at the annual section meeting.
First, a big thank you to all the members who attended the section meeting on Friday afternoon. The true value of the section comes from everyone adding their voice and participating. Because of that spirit of involvement, we had some great discussions, and we look forward to a productive year.

Following a warm welcome from our outgoing chair Amy Schindler, we were visited by Christie Peterson, a member of the program committee for the 2011 annual meeting in Chicago. Christie shared with the group the plans for the coming year and how to craft and submit your proposals for sessions. Please see the SAA website for the most up-to-date details. The deadline for submissions to the 2011 program committee is October 1; all those interested in submitting proposals to the RAO Steering Committee for possible endorsement should forward a copy of their proposals along to RAO chair Jim Gerencser by October 1 as well.

Next, Doris Malkmus shared information about the ongoing efforts of the National History Day Committee. This topic generated a healthy discussion about valuable resources, possible collaborators and other stakeholders, and personal experiences. The report of the committee is available at the SAA RAO website, and those interested in sharing their knowledge and ideas with the group are encouraged to contact Doris or co-chair Shawn Hayes.

Shannon Bowen-Maier then took the stage to update everyone on the work of the Reference and Processing Collaboration working group, which was created in response to the results of work done by the 2007 MPLP Task Force. The report of the working group is available at the SAA RAO website, and again, all those interested in sharing their ideas with the group are encouraged to contact Shannon or co-chair Dan Santamaria.

Information about the RAO Internship Program was next conveyed by Amy Schindler. Two RAO interns - Benjamin Bromley and Jessica Miller - were selected among the pool of candidates who applied last year. Receiving positive feedback from both Ben and Jessica on their experiences, as well as from the RAO Steering Committee about the value of the interns’ contributions, RAO will again be advertising for interns to participate in activities of the section this year. Expect an announcement on September 1.

Kate Theimer offered a report about the pilot 23 Things for Archivists project, which took place during the winter and early spring. A copy of the report can be found at the SAA RAO website. Comments from participants in the project were generally quite positive, and plans are underway for how best to offer this or a similar program in the future.

Jill Severn provided a quick update on the Skills Survey and encouraged everyone to take the time to fill out this survey in the coming weeks. She and Jessica Miller will be assessing the information they’ve gathered through the survey beginning in the fall.

Following brief remarks by Jim Gerencser, the section then split up into five discussion groups on the following topics: a) How do the R, the A, and the O relate to one another, as well as to other functions like description and acquisition?; b) What should the RAO Section be doing in the short and long term?; c) RAO: Headed for divorce, or stronger than ever?; d) How do we define “citizen archivist,” what is the role of the “citizen archivist,” and how do we work with them?; and, e) How can we develop skills for teaching undergraduates and other audiences about primary sources? After about 30 minutes of lively discussion, brief reports were shared regarding each group’s ideas. These reports will be shared on the RAO Blog in the coming days and weeks.

SAA Council Liaison Brenda Lawson shared information about the current activities of Council, particularly with regard to the proposed dues increase and other items that are up for vote at the annual business meeting.

Todd Kosmerick made an announcement about the availability of ARL SPEC Kit 317 on Special Collections Engagement.

Jennifer Schaffner shared some interesting initial findings from a survey conducted by RLG/OCLC Research. More detailed information about this survey will be forthcoming.

Nancy Melley made a pitch for everyone to have a look at the grants being offered by NHPRC and encouraged anyone interested to contact her or her NHPRC colleagues with questions about these programs.

The meeting ended with Amy Schindler passing the mantle of leadership – in this case, an 8-track tape of REO Speedwagon – to incoming chair Jim Gerencser, and Jim thanked Amy for her very active and successful year as chair of RAO.

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