Welcome to the SNAP Roundtable!

In case you missed the official announcement from SAA, here’s how to sign up for the SNAP listserv. If you don’t have an SAA profile, you need to create that first (you don’t have to be an SAA member, and it’s free). To check if you already have an SAA profile, and sign up for one if you don’t, go here. Once you have a profile, you can go in and choose the listservs you want to subscribe to, including SNAP.

SNAP’s microsite is here. This blog may be retired as we move into our new SAA-provided webspace. If that happens, there will be an announcement here.


We did it!


WE CAN HAZ ROUNDTABLE? Original image from Center for Jewish History on Flickr Commons

Still waiting on official word from SAA, but according to Kate, our roundtable is approved! Go us!

Until we get web space from SAA, we’ll continue to use this blog to keep you informed about what’s next for the group. Stay tuned, and feel free to start sharing ideas in the comments or by email.

Last-minute editing request

UPDATE: Re-submitted! No more editing needed. Thanks for all your help.

Hi all,

SAA just informed me that our petition needs to be in this format (Word doc). And the deadline is tomorrow. The original petition is here (pdf), and the draft I’m working on right now is here (Google Doc). Please help if you can!


Sign the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable petition!

Total signature count: 88! Thanks so much to everyone who signed! SAA says we don’t need any more signatures.

Hi everyone,

I submitted the SNAP Roundtable Proposal (click to open the pdf) to SAA last night, and now we need your signatures! Here’s how to digitally sign the petition:

  1. Compose an email to saahq@archivists.org. (If you open this email link, it will do steps 2 and 3 for you!)
  2. In the subject, put: Signature in Support of Petition to form the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable.
  3. In the body of the email, write “I support the petition to form the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable.”
  4. Include your contact information in a signature block at the bottom of the email.

sample email

A couple of  rules:

You DO have to be a current SAA member (student members count!) to sign the petition.

You DO NOT have to be a prospective member of the new roundtable to sign the petition. If you support us, please sign!

When you email SAA, please also cc NewArchivistsRT@gmail.com on the message–that way, we can keep track of how many signatures there are. (If you forget or don’t want to, that’s okay, your signature will still count.)

Please spread the word–we need 50 signatures! I’ll update this post over the next few days with our total signature count.


Let’s write this proposal!

Our proposal is now a Google Doc that you can read and comment on! If you want editing privileges, comment here with the email address field filled out (it won’t be visible except to the blog admins) or follow the instructions in the Google Doc. Plenty of room to add more stuff, and please add anything you think is even remotely relevant–the proposal team will edit everything before we send it in.

Our goal is to submit the finished petition to SAA on Tuesday and start collecting signatures on Wednesday. To sign the petition, all you have to do is send an email to SAA (and be an SAA member). We’ll have instructions up next week for how to do that.

Happy editing!

ETA 12/20: The petition will close for editing TONIGHT at 8 PM.

Guest post: What can a new archivists roundtable do?

Here’s another guest post from Rebecca Weintraub, new archivist and Queens College library school student. You can follow her on Twitter @BeckAW and @SAAatQC

Okay. So we’ve decided that we want to do this roundtable. We know why. We know for whom. We know what we want to be. We know what we want to call ourselves. Question is…what do we do now? For anyone who has previously attended the annual meeting, you know that roundtables have designated meeting times. There are also activities during the year that go beyond the meeting. What would ours be? What would we do?

In bullet-ish form and in no particular order (or development, for that matter), here are some thoughts:

  • The RT should organize/host an orientation or get-together for students, be it their first, second, or third time (and beyond!) at the annual meeting. Individual schools tend to have meet-ups – great for current students and alumni of those schools, but it would be great if all students had the chance to get together and mingle outside of the student poster presentations. It’ll be “Annual Meeting 101”! This could be mixed with an event for new members as well, or as a stand-alone – schedule permitting.
  • It would be great to set something up with Mentoring Program. What, exactly, I’m not 100% sure of – but they’re definitely an committee that would be worth collaborating with for obvious reasons.
  • Another worthy collaborator would be the people behind the resume review/job search table at the AGM. Again, the specifics elude me here, but I think this is going in the right direction.
  • Finding a way of working with other roundtables, especially during the AGM, would definitely be worthwhile. While there are some students and new archivists that know exactly what kind of archive they want to work in (or, perhaps, they are already working in it), there are those who have absolutely no clue. Getting representatives from other roundtables or notable professionals speak to our group while at the meetings would be incredibly informative to those not entirely sure of their direction (not to mention, it’s a great networking opportunity!).
  • I’m very much a fan of having a roundtable newsletter. These sorts of entities are great ways for getting both new archivists’ and students’ feet wet in positions within the organization. It would be a forum to discuss issues that impact us (internships, finding that first archives job, etc.) as well as a way for us to keep in touch throughout the year.

These are just five simple ideas. Some, like I’ve said, need a bit more developing – but the idea is there. The only thing we need now? A roundtable!

What do you think? Any other ideas for activities for our roundtable?

Remote participation: can we do it?

We talked earlier about what this new roundtable could accomplish with an official meeting room and time at SAA. But we also know that attending SAA is out of reach for many new archivists, and that wireless access, at least for the next few years, may not be available. And my hope is that this group will be active throughout the year, not just at SAA. So, a few questions we need to answer:

  • How can archivists who can’t attend SAA participate in our RT meeting? Is providing a summary of the meeting after the fact good enough?
  • How will we communicate with each other throughout the year? (Not to bias anyone, but I’ll be sad if the only online activity we have going on is on a listserv.)
  • Any other issues related to remote participation?

What’s a new archivist, anyway?

In order to propose a roundtable for new archivists, we have to define what we mean, exactly, by “new archivists.” The RT will be open to anyone, but we need to define the subset of archivists that our RT aims to serve. I would also like to see leadership roles limited to people who meet our definition of new archivists.

There are a few ways to define new archivists:

  • Number of years as a professional
  • Number of years since graduation from a master’s program
  • Number of jobs held (e.g., someone in his/her first professional job is a new archivist)

(And maybe others? Add your ideas in the comments!)

Below I have some fictional examples of people who might consider themselves new archivists, based on the criteria above. As you can see, it gets complicated fast! Which of these people would you consider “new archivists”? Are there any useful examples I left out? If so, please add them in the comments! (I will add your suggestions to the list below.)

  1. John is currently a student in a master’s program with a concentration in archives. He’s not working in the field yet.
  2. Maygene is still in college, but she wants to eventually get her master’s and become an archivist.
  3. Peter has been a professional archivist for 20 years, and is now working on his master’s with a concentration in archives.
  4. Brenda has been a professional archivist for X years. (How big does X have to be before Brenda isn’t a new archivist anymore?)
  5. Nicholas graduated with his master’s X years ago. (How big does X have to be before Nicholas isn’t a new archivist anymore?)
  6. William has only been a professional archivist for 2 years, but in that time he has worked 5 different project positions.
  7. Frank graduated with his master’s 5 years ago and has been working as an archives assistant (paraprofessional) for the last 10 years. He is looking for a professional position
  8. Mark graduated with his master’s 5 years ago and is still looking for a job in the field.
  9. Richard graduated with a master’s in archives 5 years ago and has been a reference librarian in a public library ever since. He is now looking for his first archives job.
  10. Elizabeth has been a part-time archivist for 5 years (in number of hours, about 2 years of full-time experience).
  11. Rebecca (that’s me!) worked as an archives assistant for 3 years and has been a librarian (who does some archives things and some non-archives things) for six weeks.

Guest post: Getting students and new archivists involved in SAA

Today we have a guest post from Rebecca Weintraub, Queens College library school student, SAA Queens College student chapter secretary, and excellent-first-name-haver. Follow her on Twitter @BeckAW and @SAAatQC. Want to write your own guest post? Comment here or contact us.

There I was – bright-eyed, bushy-tailed – totally ready for my first professional conference. I was going to hob-nob with archives all-stars, network successfully with hundreds of people, and run completely out of business cards because I was oh-so-popular.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that this was the case. As an M.L.I.S. candidate and total newbie to the profession, I didn’t anticipate how tough it would be to enmesh myself in the sea of never-ending archivists. I did, however, have high hopes that the “New Member / First-Timer Orientation” would at least point me in the right direction. Billed as a “casual conversation about how to make the most of your time at the conference,” I was expecting just that. Instead, the President made a quick speech and introduced representatives from the Membership Committee. After about 15 minutes or so, it was over. I distinctly remember the other girls at my table looking around and asking, “Was that it?”The reason I bring this up is because I think it illustrates how badly students (future archivists!) and new archivists alike need their own support system. It’s not enough to throw us in a room together, feed us (though that does have its appeal), and give us a short speech. Where’s the orientation? Where’s the “I know what you’re going through, here are the things you need to know about being here”? In short, I felt that their attempt to reach out to us wasn’t successful because there really wasn’t much effort to reach out to us at all.

This is where the New Archivists Roundtable would come in. It’s my hope that this body could assist events such as these and really make a student or new archivist feel not too horribly overwhelmed – inside and outside of the conference setting. We’re all in the same boat and we all can learn from each other as we embark on this new career path. Being a student, my most vested interest is in the student body of SAA. It would be great if this proposed roundtable could reach out to SAA Student Chapters (such as mine at Queens College – hi guys!) and start getting students involved from the get-go. Initiate student contacts at individual chapters. Make them a co-chair. Get them involved in leadership and committees early on. Create a newsletter and have students write for it. Make them feel like they actually have a place and purpose in this organization, besides a 1 ½ hour block presenting posters at the Graduate Student Poster Session. Make them feel included!These are all a start, but it can’t happen without a group like this – a group where students and new archivists don’t have to feel like small fish in a very big pond. This roundtable, in my opinion, can go a long way in keeping both future and new archivists interested and involved in the profession for years to come.

What’s in a name?

So, this roundtable needs a name. My suggestion, New Archivists Zealous for Improvement, has already been shot down. Post suggestions here! Some things to consider:

  • It should acronym well. New Archivists’ Roundtable –> NART = no good.
  • This group aims to serve the needs of archivists new to the profession, students in archives programs, archivists early in their archives careers, archivists who haven’t found jobs yet, and archives-minded people in related careers (like librarians and records managers). It would be awesome if our group name could reflect all of these constituencies without being ridiculously long.
  • This group is for new archivists, but not necessarily young archivists. Any name with young in it is right out.
  • Also, no miscellaneous in the title. This one should be obvious.
Note: you do NOT have to be a new archivist, or even a prospective member, to suggest a name!