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.

Georgia Archives Institute 2021

By Jill Sweetapple, SGA Blog Contributor

2021 Georgia Archives Institute Graduates

We, the GAI board, were disappointed last year, when the 2020 Georgia Archives Institute had to be cancelled due to COVID 19, and wanted badly to hold the Institute this year. After much discussion, the board decided on an all-online format. Sadly, this meant there would be no internships, but cancelling for a second year seemed so much worse. GAI 2021 concluded on June 14.

We were again lucky to have Pam Hackbart-Dean as our primary instructor, as well as Tina Mason Seetoo on Preservation and Katherine Fisher on Digital Preservation. To give everyone a breather now and again, we enlisted the help of guest speakers. Our topics included Anti-Racist Archival Description, Content Management Systems, Born Digital Records and Working with Community Archives. Our guest speakers volunteered their time and we valued the addition of other voices in archives for the students.

Meeting online via Zoom meant there would be no reception. The 2021 class had twenty-one students, and thanks to our sponsors, we sent everyone a goodie box with Georgia-themed treats and a mini Hollinger box. We hosted students from all over Georgia, but also from Connecticut, Alabama, Texas, Florida and South Carolina.

We also hosted several scholarship-supported attendees. We thank the Society of Georgia Archivists, the Friends of Georgia Archives and History, Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council for providing these opportunities for attendees that may not have been able to take part otherwise.

On the last day of the 2021 six-day course, students, instructors and board members met for an informal online wrap-up. We heard about the Society of Georgia Archivists, the Clayton State Archival program, and the Regional Archival Associations Consortium, and heard from students about their experiences at this year’s Institute.

Our GAI sponsors include BMS Cat Fire, Water & Reconstruction Services, the Georgia Archives, HF Group, Hollinger Metal Edge, the Digital Library of Georgia, Master Enterprises, Inc., Patterson Pope, Preservation Technologies, PreserveSouth and the Society of Georgia Archivists.

We certainly hope that the 2022 Institute, scheduled for June 6 through June 17 2022, will once more include internships, a reception and our ability to meet everyone in person. You can keep an eye on our renovated website and our Facebook page for updates. In the meantime, we congratulate the 2021 graduates!

https://www.georgiaarchivesinstitute.org/
https://www.facebook.com/georgiaarchivesinstitute

Georgia Archives support continues with 2 rallies in October

Despite promises from Governor Deal to keep the Georgia Archives open, there is no plan in place for such action. The 7 staff laid off last week received confirmation this week, and planned hours are still restricted to “by appointment only.”

The Friends of Georgia Archives and History continue to take the lead on educating the public on this issue and gathering support. Two rallies are planned for October, one at the Georgia Capitol and one at the Georgia Archives building.

Capitol Rally
Save the Date: Wed., Oct. 3, noon-1 p.m.
Location: Capitol South Wing (inside)
Archives Rally
Date: TBD
Location: Georgia Archives, Morrow, GA

2011 Georgia Archives Institute

It’s time to apply for the 2011 Georgia Archives Institute!

44th Annual Georgia Archives Institute
June 6 – 17, 2011
Designed for beginning archivists, manuscript curators, and librarians, the 44th Georgia Archives Institute will offer general instruction in basic concepts and practices of archival administration and management of traditional and modern documentary materials.  The Institute will be held at the Georgia Archives in Morrow, Georgia, 15 miles south of Atlanta.

Dr. Timothy L. Ericson, former Director of Archival Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies, will be the instructor during the first week. Topics will include acquisition, appraisal, arrangement, description, reference, as well as legal and administrative issues.  The second week of instruction will begin with training on preservation by Christine Wiseman, Preservation Manager at the Georgia Archives.  To link archival theory with real world application, students will also participate in individualized, three-day internships at local archival repositories.

Tuition is $500.  Enrollment is limited and the deadline for receipt of application, resume, and $75 application fee (refunded if not admitted to Institute) is March 1, 2011. Tuition does not cover transportation, housing, or meals.

Tuition scholarships are available from the Society of Georgia Archivists, www.soga.org and The Friends of Georgia Archives and History, www.FOGAH.org.  Scholarships have earlier deadlines. 

For an application to the Institute or information, please visit the Georgia Archives Institute web site at www.georgiaarchivesinstitute.org or contact:
Georgia Archives Institute
P.O. Box 279
Morrow, GA 30260-0279
Email: GeorgiaArchivesInstitute@yahoo.com 

44th Annual Georgia Archives Institute


Designed for beginning archivists, manuscript curators, and librarians, the 44th Georgia Archives Institute will offer general instruction in basic concepts and practices of archival administration and management of traditional and modern documentary materials.  The Institute will be held at the Georgia Archives in Morrow, Georgia, 15 miles south of Atlanta.


Dr. Timothy L. Ericson, former Director of Archival Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies, will be the instructor during the first week. Topics will include acquisition, appraisal, arrangement, description, reference, as well as legal and administrative issues.  The second week of instruction will begin with training on preservation by Christine Wiseman, Preservation Manager at the Georgia Archives.  To link archival theory with real world application, students will also participate in individualized, three-day internships at local archival repositories.


Tuition is $500.  Enrollment is limited and the deadline for receipt of application, resume, and $75 application fee (refunded if not admitted to Institute) is March 1, 2011. Tuition does not cover transportation, housing, or meals.


Tuition scholarships are available from the Society of Georgia Archivists, www.soga.org and The Friends of Georgia Archives and History, www.FOGAH.org.  Scholarships have earlier deadlines.  


For an application to the Institute or information, please visit the Georgia Archives Institute web site at www.georgiaarchivesinstitute.org or contact:

Georgia Archives Institute

P.O. Box 279
Morrow, GA 30260-0279
Email: GeorgiaArchivesInstitute@yahoo.com
*Drawing of Georgia Archives, Morrow, GA, from http://www.georgiaarchivesinstitute.org