Monday, August 23, 2010

SAA's Diversity Committee

At the Women's Collections Roundtable meeting, I reported that I am now the Diversity Committee representative from WCRT as well as the Women Archivists Roundtable. My role is to report out from the Diversity Committee to the women's roundtables and facilitate communication between the groups.

At the Diversity Committee meeting, we discussed many issues, but these are the highlights most relevant to this audience:

  • SAA is planning to implement demographic tracking in their membership database to assess the makeup of SAA for diversity factors, including gender, race/ethnicity, and age. This will help to evaluate the diversity of membership, leadership, participation in committees and other groups, as well as of speakers at annual meetings.
  • Debra Kimok reported on the background of the AMRT/RMRT Joint Working on Diversity. The group conducted a survey and developed a best practices document, “Best Practices for Working with Researchers/Archives Employees with Disabilities,” which were just endorsed by the Council at its meeting on Aug 9, 2010.
  • The Diversity Committee may develop a survey jointly with the Membership Committee to assess what SAA members believe to be the most important issues that the Diversity Committee should address.
  • Participation in SAA for members who can't attend annual meetings: The DC would like to address ways to enable people to contribute to discussions without being physically present at meetings via technology such as live streaming of sessions or setting up phone conferences for committee meetings.
  • SAA Council charged the DC to develop a proposal for Council on what the Mosaic Scholarship could be, and develop a plan for implementing the proposal for recruitment and retention of minority students.
Do you have ideas about diversity issues you'd like to see addressed, particularly concerning gender? No need to wait for a survey or for next year's meeting! Email kelly.wooten at with your thoughts and ideas.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Session Ideas for Archives 360: Chicago 2011

Here are 3 session ideas that have been floated on the listserv. If you have a paper you could present that fits into these topics, a speaker to suggest, or another idea entirely, please let us know in the comments or by email. Call for Program Proposals and submission forms are posted on the SAA website.

Breaking Stereotypes
At the Women’s Collections Roundtable meeting in Washington, DC, Professor Allida Black spoke to us about the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, dedicated to bringing Eleanor Roosevelt's writings (and radio and television appearances) on democracy and human rights before an audience as diverse as the ones she addressed. Despite her great influence on American politics, the United Nations, and the struggle for human rights, many people don’t know much about Eleanor’s life and work beyond her role as First Lady. Archives have the power to let people tell their own stories through the historical record of their own writings and documentation without any filter, and reveal the depth and nuances of their characters beyond the surface. Famous women, ordinary housewives, and even nuns have this in common: the historical record reveals a much richer portrait than the history books can tell. Have you worked with a women’s history collection that unveiled a hidden story that breaks stereotypes? Contact Kathy Hertel-Baker (khertelbaker at

History of Archives and/or International Archives
Rachel Miller at the Center for Jewish History is interested in presenting a comparative analysis of the World Center for Women's Archives project and the International Archives of the Women's Movement in 1935 and 1936. This topic relates to both the historical context of the “SAA at 75” theme and to the international theme they are looking for in this coming year's proposals. Do you have a topic that might relate? Contact Rachel Miller (rcmiller at

MPLP and Privacy Concerns for Women’s History Collections
Danelle Moon just finished a two-year project implementing MPLP across collections, and would glad to work on a proposal. The proposal could be a combo presentation on challenges implementing MPLP, degree of less process on women's collections, and privacy issues. There has been considerable work to uncover women's history, what impact does MPLP have on making women's collection accessible, are they more hidden, or more accessible as result of having basic records. The other aspect on privacy or confidential information, is problematic using the MPLP approach. Contact Danelle Moon (Danelle.Moon at