I meant to publish this entry some time ago but it got lost in my draft folder.
I read an article ” Career Satisfaction of Young Archivists: a Survey of Professional Working Archivists, Age 35 and Under” by Amber L. Cushing in The American Archivist Journal.
I’m happy that the SAA published this article, I think after the creation of SNAP, they are beginning to take note of new archivists. While this article focuses on new young archivists I would be interested to see if older new archivists, those over 35, are fairing any in the job market.
The only issue I had with this article is that they identified new archivists as someone with a paid position. It doesn’t address new young archivists who could only find volunteer work . I think that accounts for a significant portion of this demographic that is overlooked by this article.
While I do find it encouraging that most of the respondents were satisfied with their day to day work. It’s unsurprising that those with temporary positions don’t like the lack of job security and I’m happy she points out that young archivists want more chances of promotion. I these two factors affect the overall morale of new archivists more than work satisfaction. If a person isn’t confident or secure in their job that may translate to their professional growth.
I wouldn’t be surprised either if there is a brain drain in the archival profession as a result of un/underemployed archivists seeking better work elsewhere. I myself rejected paid archival work twice last year to take non-archival jobs that offered better employment.
Also there’s a new Archive podcast out there. AV Preserve and METRO started More Podcast, Less Process. It’s it clever what they did there. Don’t you think, lol. It’s available on iTunes check them out.
Do you think of yourself as a pioneer? If not, you might want to wait a year or so before starting on the DAS path. If you do have that pioneering spirit, good luck to you and don’t be afraid to offer feedback to SAA. Don’t be shy. And most of all, be confident in yourself. In my experience, I think there are some wrinkles that SAA need to iron out with these exams. Mind you, I have only taken two of the exams in this course and my thoughts on the matter could change after taking more. I passed one of the exams the second time around. When I scheduled the re-take, I contested two of the questions on the test. SAA Education appreciated my constructive feedback, but I still needed to re-take the exam (i.e., they didn’t give me credit for those points). Which really wasn’t that big of deal.
So what is my recommendation if you are taking the exams, oh pioneer? Print out the tests while you are taking them and print out your answer feedback page. Just like the standardized tests in high school, I recommend you write your answers on paper first before entering them into the online test. This lessens the chance of you not reading the questions fully, of making a foolish mistake, and gives a record of what you marked.
I’m working towards this certification myself and I’ll continue to post about my progress.
As for Friday I skipped the first session, but I wouldn’t miss the Breaking into the Field: Reports from Emerging Professionals session for anything. One of my friends from the MTA job was presenting. She did a great job, if fact they all did a remarkable job. All of the presenters should be very proud of themselves. There were plenty of tips, tricks, and personal anecdotes that I found both helpful and comforting. One of the presenters, Allie, posted her slides online. If you’re interested you can find them here
I would highly recommend checking them out.
All too soon the conference came to an end. However, the closing luncheon was a fitting ending. There was plenty of food and we were even invited to take some more. Which I’m sure was appreciated by those who had to take a long trip home. It included a presentation from Karen Falk, the director of the Jim Henson archives, which included endearing and humorous video clips of some of his characters.
NYAC is a great conference, it has a family atmosphere. It’s a great place to start presenting and even better conference to catch up with colleagues. Since it’s small, attendees have more time to get to know each other on a deeper level. Let me put it this way: it’s very hard to get lost in the crowd at NYAC and that’s what makes it a unique experience.
Thursday is the first full day of the conference and you can see the crowds of eager archivist flocking to Humanities Hall (the conference building). While I heard there was an issue with the coffee, that morning I didn’t notice. I was quite content with the orange and cranberry juice they had.
The first panel I attended was of course the one on DAM: How To Get Started With a DAMS. This panel wasn’t quite what I was expecting, even if I should have; still I was impressed. I thought it would focus on how one would start a DAM, instead there were three case studies of how these panelist implemented a DAM, or digital repository, at their organization. It was much better than I expected. I was very impressed how some of the DAMs began, how these panelists solved some of the problems they included, and how they balanced the costs. The case studies showcased how any organization can start a DAM on a shoe-string budget.
In the afternoon I went to the This Just In! Leveraging Archives
Amidst the Media Blitz panel. Now don’t get me wrong, all the panelists were knowledgeable and approachable. But Greg Hunter stole the panel. When asked what he thought about the image of archivists in the media, his response was (I’m paraphrasing) “I don’t care what the media thinks of us as archivists, I care what they think of our collections.” He also stressed, later in the panel, how important it is for archivists to know our collections so we can give our audience (in this case the media) what interests them.
I also attended the Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable meeting. I personally felt that this would be a good follow-up after my workshop on wednesday. It looked like I wasn’t the only person who thought that way, since there were several others who attended both. This round table meeting didn’t disappoint, the conversation/discussion was both interesting and intriguing. I learned a bit more about privacy that I didn’t know and I was able to contribute to the conversation.
The last stop of the day was the reception. This was a great chance to network and grab some food. I’ll be honest, I was probably paying more attention to the food that was coming out than on networking. Either way, I had an amazing time, met some fantastic people, and was able to get to know some fantastic people even better.
I attended NYAC this year held at LIU C.W. Post, home to the Palmer School my Alma Mater. These conferences are great, I saw some colleagues that I met the last time I attended NYAC at Marist in 2010 and I met some new ones. I also realized that I know many more archivists in the area than I thought I did.
Wednesday was workshop day, so I went to the Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives workshop. This was my first SAA DAS workshop. It was a full-day workshop and it was really good. It didn’t even feel like a long day. The instructor, Heather Briston, was very knowledgeable and was able to get through all of the information. I not once felt that we were rushing through the material and on multiple occasions the class had questions on a slide or topic. Heather Briston took her time and made sure that each question was thoroughly answered and included many examples throughout her lecture. She included two activities to help us understand and implement what we were learning. However, she was only able to get through one of these activities. But since the materials for these activities are included in the workbook, we can do these activities on our own time. I have no complaints about the workshop or the instructor and I would gladly recommend this workshop or attending any presentions by Heather. As for the exam: my thoughts on it will be forthcoming.
First off, great, big, hearty congratulations to Henrik de Gyor at Another Dam Podcast for successfully funding his Kickstarter campaign. I look forward to seeing the transcribed podcasts when they are done.
Second, I finished my online class on digital preservation. I took it through the Palmer School and it was taught by Gregory Hunter. One of the projects was that the class created a wiki of various resources on digital preservation. It’s a shame we couldn’t preserve it.* In addition to the class discussion and weekly readings, each of us had to write three papers. One of these papers had to be about a current issue or topic on digital preservation. We also had to write a paper comparing two digital repositories. And the final paper was on how each of us will implement our own digital preservation strategy for our own digital assets. It was very good and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested. That said, it did take up most of my spare time the last few months; but it was well worth it and I’m happy I took it. It’ll definitely help now that I plan on taking the DAS workshops.
In addition to the online class, I’ve continued taking the Caring for Yesterday’s Treasures – Today course series webinars. They really didn’t take up that much time, just a few hours here or there. The recordings for these webinars are still up on their website. I look forward to their new webinar courses coming in the fall. I plan on registering for those when they open and I recommend that others do the same.
Lastly, I’m attending NYAC (an archive conference on Long Island) next week. I’m attending my first SAA DAS workshop there. I’m very exited to start on the DAS path. I will be taking my second DAS workshop June 10th. So hopefully I’ll have quite a bit to write about in the following weeks.
Edit: I spoke with my professor during NYAC, I misunderstood the “loss” of the wiki. It’s saved and preserved on their servers, but the students of the class no longer have access to it.