Reflections on the 2021 Georgia Archives Institute

by Terri Hatfield, 2021 Carroll Hart Scholarship Recipient

As the 2020 recipient of the Carroll Hart Scholarship, I first want to thank the scholarship committee and the Society of Georgia Archivists for the award and the opportunity to attend the Georgia Archives Institute. What an incredible honor!

I can still remember receiving notice that the 2020 GAI would be cancelled mere weeks after being notified of receiving the scholarship. Though we all had become accustomed to the certain disappointment that came as the COVID-related cancellations and postponements started to pile up last year, this one was particularly hard for me to take. A year later, I was pleased to hear the scholarship had been extended to allow me to attend a virtual version of the Institute in 2021.

I have to admit: I was incredibly intimidated to be there! I have recently completed my MLIS and want to eventually work exclusively in archives, special collections, and public history, and so I desperately wanted to learn more about archives. Furthermore, alongside my primary duties as Program Coordinator for the Institute for Women’s Studies, an academic unit at the University of Georgia, I have also been informally tasked with managing the departmental archives, which include photos, newspaper clippings, memos, letters, flyers, posters, and other ephemera pertaining to the unit since its inception in 1977. So, I also desperately needed to learn more about archives. But I don’t currently officially work in an archive or library. On the first day, as the other attendees shared their backgrounds, anecdotes, and job titles, I worried my experience was too little and too informal to be there.

What made me feel more at ease was hearing many of the guest speakers talk about how the very nature of the ever-changing field of archives means you’re always learning something new, whether it’s a new practice in the field or a new item in your collection you’ve never processed before. So, you might always feel a bit like an ameatur. The key is being open to learning and changing with the field. And that’s why I was there: to learn!

And learn I did. I was impressed with exactly how much GAI was able to fit into a week and a day of courses. It was mentioned that each section of the Institute was approximately a full semester of coursework. I believe it. So much was covered, from selecting, acquiring, and appraising, to accessioning and deaccessioning, to arrangement and description, to copyright, security concerns, reference, instruction and outreach, diversity and inclusion, and more. So much more! Our primary instructor, Pam Hackbart-Dean, was awesome in keeping us focused and on these many tasks, and in managing the Zoom chat, questions, and other distractions. She was knowledgeable and personable and tried to make sure we all felt seen and heard.

From the practical lessons on preservation offered by Tina Mason Seetoo, such as how to remove a staple and how to dry out a dampened book; to the descriptions and explanations of activities and strategies of digital preservation (multiple copies, multiple media types, multiple locations!) provided by Katherine Fisher; to the crucial and invaluable reading and guest lecture on Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppressive Archival Description, the other faculty and guest speakers covered broad and extensive material for students to discover and consider further.

One of my favorite guest lectures was on Community Archives presented by Tamika Strong. What an interesting and important project preserving funeral programs as a way to document people’s lives and narratives! Tamika’s personal interest in and passion for the subject matter, combined with her knowledge of archives and the field, along with the practical breakdown of how the project came together in its various phases, made for a great presentation. I learned so much! Tamika mentioned that the biographies found in funeral programs are sometimes the only biographical information available to tell a person’s life story. This is a perfect example to me of the potential of intentional archival practice. I felt inspired and empowered by this presentation and it reminded me why I want to further pursue this field. Even better is that Tamika has an MLIS and is an alum of GAI – like me! How cool is that!? I hope to find my archival superpower like Tamika has, and be as effective and valuable to the field!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome gift box attendees received during the week. What a pleasant treat! Thank you to the GAI board for the adorable mini Hollinger box that will sit atop my desk at work and of course for all the delicious goodies! While everyone else gushed about the praline (and rightfully so), the peach candies and vidalia onion petals are tied for my favorite! This gesture added a special touch to the experience and created a shared connection to what could have easily been a disconnected virtual cohort.

While I still feel like I have so much to learn, I’m excited to continue reading, doing, and building upon this knowledge base I gained at GAI. Of course I’m disappointed we were unable to do an internship as part of the virtual Institute, but after hearing from so many board members and representatives of archives organizations on the last day wrap-up, the potential for future collaborations or shadowing seems possible. I have already been able to apply some of the things I learned at GAI to my informal archival work in Women’s Studies at UGA and I’m excited to grow in the field.

I would highly recommend applying to attend the Georgia Archives Institute if you can. It’s an incredible and invaluable learning experience and I feel privileged to have been able to participate.

Registration is open for workshop, Digital Preservation Tools: A Sampler

Instructor: Seth Shaw
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Columbus Marriott
Empire Mills Room
800 Front Avenue
Columbus, GA
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Digital preservation is a complex topic with many challenges. Identifying and selecting the right tools to help solve those problems can be confusing. This one-day workshop will introduce a selection of tools supporting digital preservation and how those tools might be incorporated into a workflow. Participants will see demonstrations of several tools and will practice with a few using their own laptop computer.

Digital preservation tasks addressed will include data acquisition (for example, TeraCopy, FTKImager, and HTTrack), fixity checking and monitoring (LOC’s Bagger and AVPreserve’s Fixity), scanning for content or threats (e.g. bulk_extractor and Identify Finder), format identification (e.g. Jhove and Droid), format migration, environment emulation or virtualization, and projects designed to package many of these tools together (BitCurator and Archivematica).

To get the most from this workshop, participants should be familiar with basic digital preservation concepts such as fixity, checksums, migration, and emulation. They should have good computer skills — word processing, browsing the Web, email, copying and renaming files, and creating folders. They do not need more advanced knowledge, such as programming or database design, although familiarity with command-line interfaces and XML is useful. (Individuals with experience in digital archives or advanced skills are welcome to come and contribute to the conversation!)

Attendees must bring their own laptops.

Registration is $80 per person; this workshop is limited to 15 attendees. The registration deadline is October 7, 2015.

Refreshments will be served during the morning and afternoon breaks. Lunch will be the responsibility of the attendees.

For more information on the course or to register, click here.

Registration open for workshop, A Guerrilla Approach to Digital Archives

Saturday, September 12, 2015
Georgia Archives
5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia
10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Lunch will be provided

This one day workshop will introduce archivists to the basics of digital archives, explaining the concepts of curating and preserving electronic records in terms of traditional archival practice.  Participants will learn practical things they can do to acquire, preserve, and provide access to electronic records with limited resources and technical expertise. 

Creating and sustaining a robust, trustworthy digital archives is hard work. The problems are complex, and even more perplexing as technology evolves and presents new problems. At the same time, archivists don’t have to build an ideal system. Instead, a “guerilla approach” looks for short-term tactics – inexpensive, simple steps that can help archivists move in the direction of the strategic ideal. Breaking digital archives into smaller pieces makes the problem manageable. 

Participants will discuss the core functions of digital archives and how they parallel traditional archives. Which records should be selected and acquired? How should those records be arranged and described? How should they be housed and preserved? And what about access? Participants will learn how their existing knowledge can be adapted to digital archives.

The facilitator, Richard Pearce-Moses, will lead participants through a series of questions, call for possible solutions, and suggest some of his own.

 

Who should attend?

 

To get the most from the workshop, participants should understand the fundamentals of archival practice – appraisal and selection, arrangement and description, housing and preservation, reference and access. They should have good computers skills – word processing, browsing the web, email, copying and renaming files, and creating folders. They do not need more advanced knowledge, such as programming, database design, programming, or web design. (Individuals with experience in digital archives or advanced skills are welcome to come and contribute to the conversation!)

Registration is $80 per person; this workshop is limited to 15 attendees. 

The registration deadline is August 29, 2015.

For more information and to register, click here.

About the instructor

Richard Pearce-Moses was a practicing archivist for thirty years before coming to Clayton State University to head the Master of Archival Studies Program in 2010.  He is a Certified Archivist and a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists. In 2007, he received the Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology, and in 2009 the Library of Congress named him a Digital Preservation Pioneer.

 

About a “Guerrilla Approach”

The workshop name was inspired an article by Christopher A. Lee, “Guerrilla Electronic Management” in Records & Information Management Report 18:5 (May 2002). He notes, “We need to act now in ways that we can, rather than waiting for better solutions to come along.” Lee’s article quotes Jakob Nielsen, who coined the phrase, “insisting on using only the best methods may result in having no methods at all.” Participants are encouraged to read Lee’s article, online at http://www.ils.unc.edu/callee/guerrilla_erm_2002.pdf.

Upcoming DAS Workshop: Developing Specifications & RFPs for Recordkeeping Systems

Date:
June 1, 2015
Location:
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Emory University
Atlanta, GA

The development of a fully functional digital archives requires an integrated recordkeeping system that identifies, describes, schedules, and destroys or retains your organization’s born-digital records. Successful recordkeeping systems reflect business processes and applicable federal and state statutes while identifying records with permanent value to be archived. The ideal recordkeeping system interfaces with a digital repository used to curate electronic records and support a wide range of archival processes, including preservation and access. Before purchasing or building a recordkeeping system, you need a clear list of systems requirements specific to your organization. From these specifications, you can build a good Request for Proposal (RFP), select a system or vendor, and successfully implement your recordkeeping system.

This course if one of the Tactical and Strategic Courses in the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Curriculum and Certificate Program.

Upon completing this course you’ll be able to:

  • Identify and define systems requirements for an electronic recordkeeping system and/or digital repository;
  • Develop and distribute a Request for Information (RFI), RFP, or RFQ (Request for Quotation);
  • Evaluate and select a recordkeeping system; and 
  • Implement the system.

Who should attend?
Archivists, records managers, IT professionals and administrators who need to define systems requirements for an electronic recordkeeping system and/or digital repository and then develop a RFI, RFP, or RFQ.

The Early-Bird registration deadline is May 1, 2015.

Workshop Fees

  • SAA Members
    • Early-Bird: $199
    • Regular: $269
  • Employees of Member Institutions
    • Early-Bird: $229
    • Regular: $299
  • Nonmembers
    • Early-Bird: $259
    • Regular: $319

Register for the workshop here.
Attendance is limited to 35.

    Upcoming DAS Workshop: Appraisal of Electronic Records

    Date:
    Tuesday, June 25, 2013
    Location:
    Kennesaw State University Center
    3333 Busbee Dr. NW
    Kennesaw, GA 30144

    Increasingly, archival records are created in electronic formats. As a result, archives of all types need to be responsible for the preservation of electronic records. After a review of the fundamental principles of archival appraisal and appraisal policies, you’ll be introduced to the unique issues that need to be addressed when appraising electronic records. Case studies will highlight the practical aspects of appraisal when dealing with electronic records.

    Upon completing this course you’ll be able to:

    • Develop an appraisal policy for your archives.
    • Include electronic records on records retention and disposal schedules.
    • Address technical issues (such as metadata, software dependence, etc.) that arise when appraising electronic records.
    • Appraise electronic records for your archives.
    Who should attend? Archivist Practitioners, Records Managers. Anyone responsible for the archival appraisal of electronic records.

    What should you know already? Archival appraisal of records, as well as some basic knowledge about digital preservation and electronic records.

    Workshop Fees

    Registration Type Fees: Early-Bird / Regular
    Full Registration #1337
    SAA Member: $185 / $235
    Employees of Member Institutions: $210 / $260
    Nonmember: $235 / $285

    Register for the workshop here.
    Attendance limited to 35.

    Advocacy workshop at annual meeting

    Sign up now to take part in the advocacy workshop sponsored by Friends of the Georgia Archives (FOGAH) at the SGA Annual Meeting. Training will be conducted by Joe Tanner of Tanner and Associates and will cover how to contact your representative so that your voice will be heard!

    The training is free and is open to both members of SGA and anyone in the SE Georgia area who wants to participate. It will be on Thursday, November 8 from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at the conference venue, Sea Palms Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

    Registration is required because of the limited space. Please visit http://soga.org/events?eventId=574216&EventViewMode=2&CalendarViewType=0&SelectedDate=10/30/2012 to register. 

    Questions about the training? Contact Dianne Cannestra at
    diannebc@bellsouth.net
    Questions about registration? Contact Renna Tuten at rtuten@uga.edu

    SGA Workshop: Creating DACS Compliant Finding Aids in AT

    Creating DACS-compliant finding aids using the Archivist’s Toolkit
    Date: Friday, September 21, 2012 from 9AM-4PM
    Location: Georgia State Archives, 5800 Jonesboro Road Morrow, GA 30260. Room 210

    Abstract:
    Take advantage of simple tools and current standards to describe your collections in a stream-lined workflow! This one-day workshop will consist of 2 parts: a review of the elements of DACS- Describing Archives, A Content Standard- and an instructional, hands-on workshop using the Archivist’s Toolkit to create DACS-compliant finding aids.  Participants should be familiar with archival arrangement and description and have past experience creating finding aids using MS Word or other word processing programs; they should also be aware of EAD- Encoded Archival Description- though mastery is not required. Each participant should bring a laptop with the Archivist’s Toolkit Sandbox (Version 2.0) downloaded onto it (http://archiviststoolkit.org/support/sandbox2.0) and a short, medium, and long finding aid (both with series and subseries and without) to enter as practice.

    The workshop will be led by Dana Miller, Manuscripts Archivist at the University of Georgia.

    Archival Recertification Credits-ARCs: 5

    Register here.

    Please address any questions or concerns to Dana Miller, dmmiller@uga.edu.

    Savannah Heritage Emergency Response Workshop

    Insurance and Appraisal for Disaster Recovery for Cultural Heritage Organizations. Savannah, GA . January 18, 2011.
    Day long workshop on insurance and appraisal of cultural heritage collections, targeted to museums, galleries, historic house museums, and libraries. Sessions to be held January 18th 2011, at the Metropolitan Planning Commission, 112 E. State St.  Registration 8:30- 9:30, Programs 9:30-3:30. $25.00
    Registration:  Please mail registration form with your name, address, phone, e-mail, institutional affiliation (if any) and a check made out to CEMA (Chatham Emergency Management Agency) and mail to Beth Reiter, Chairman of SHER, 202 Atkinson Avenue, Savannah, Georgia 31404. 912-234-9398; reitlatt@comcast.net
    Morning Speakers: Jeff Minett and Lynn March, Senior Vice Presidents with Aon/Huntington T Block Insurance Agency.  Topics will include coverage, exclusions, evaluation, incoming and outgoing loans, terminology, certificates of insurance, notice of loss, arbitration, and how to reduce the financial impact of a risk.
    Afternoon Speakers:  Debra Freer, Senior Appraiser with Aaron Appraisal Services in Atlanta, Ga. Topics will include appraisal of fine art, decorative art, antiques and she will share insights from her appraisal of the Fox Theatre’s collection in Atlanta.  One description is present and the other future – do we want to be consistent?
    Off street parking can be found in the City’s State and Bryan Street parking garages.

    Georgia Archives Month Event at Georgia Archives

    The Georgia Archives is pleased to announce that Documentary Director Ben Loeterman will join them for a Special Edition of Lunch & Learn at the Georgia Archives on Thursday, October 7, from noon to 1 p.m. Please join them to learn about how Mr. Loeterman transforms archival records into “living” documents through film.
    His most recent work, The People v. Leo Frank is a 90-minute feature documentary about one of the most complex and compelling criminal cases in American history: the 1913 murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in an Atlanta pencil factory, and the trial and lynching of her accused killer, Leo Frank.  Scholar interviews and major dramatic recreations for The People v. Leo Frank were shot on location in Atlanta. 
    Lunch & Learn is a free lecture series sponsored by the Friends of Georgia Archives and History.  Bring your lunch to enjoy during the lecture.  For more information, please call 678-364-3730.
    Georgia Archives
    5800 Jonesboro Road
    Morrow, GA 30260

    Georgia Archives Month event at Clayton State

    In celebration of Georgia Archives Month, the Masters of Archival Science program at Clayton State University will be hosting speaker Jason R. Baron, Esq., on Monday, October 18, 2010 at 6:30.

    Mr. Baron will speak on the topic “What Do I Do With a Billion Emails?: The Future of Information Retrieval in E-Discovery.”

    For more information on the event, contact Richard Pearce-Moses at rpearcemoses@clayton.edu

    For more information on Mr. Baron, visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonrbaron

    To learn more about Georgia Archives Month, visit http://soga.org/archivesmonth