Q&A: Rebecca Goldman of SAAs SNAP Roundtable

In January 2012, the Society of American Archivists (SAA), the national professional association for archivists and other information professionals responsible for historical records, approved the formation of the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable (SNAP). A much-needed and welcome resource for those considering, actively pursuing, or transitioning into the archives profession, SNAP was founded by its current chair, Rebecca Goldman, who is also Media and Digital Services Librarian at La Salle University in Philadelphia and the author of the popular archives webcomic Derangement and Description.

The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York recently chatted with Goldman about her decision to form SNAP, SNAP’s goals and future direction(s), archival education and professional involvement, opportunities for students and new professionals in the tight job market, and other SNAP-ish themes.

ART: What was the main impetus for your establishing the SNAP Roundtable?

RG: Ever since my first Annual Meeting in 2010, I’ve been thinking about the representation of new archivists within SAA and within the profession. I put up a comic that summarized all the things I was thinking about, and it generated some good discussion, but nothing really came of it. Then, about a year ago, I read that ALA had started a Young Professionals Working Group, and thought, hey, why doesn’t SAA have a group like that? I posted my question to Twitter, Council member Kate Theimer saw it and suggested I try to start a roundtable, and the rest, I suppose, is history. Any SAA member can propose a new roundtable, but until Kate suggested it, it hadn’t really occurred to me as something that I could do.

ART: The SNAP website features an impressive listing of your many goals as an organization. Looking just at SNAP’s first year, is there any goal in particular that has been or will be the main priority? What projects or initiatives reflecting this goal would you like to see happen during SNAP’s first year?

RG: When I first raised the idea of forming a roundtable for new archivists, I had the following goals in mind:

•Advocate for new archivists within SAA and within the archival profession
•Provide a space for discussion of issues affecting new archivists
•Allow new archivists to gain leadership experience through roundtable service

I think we’ve met that second goal already&#8211the SNAP list is both a very active discussion area and a welcoming community for new archivists. We’ve also made some progress in reaching out to other SAA groups (our Liaison Coordinator, Sasha Griffin, has been really instrumental here). And SAA is definitely taking note of us. If you take a look at the agenda items for SAA’s next Council meeting, an awful lot of them mention SNAP. What’s proving more difficult is taking all the great ideas generated on our list and turning these into projects for SNAP to work on. So my goal for our first year would be to come up with a process for starting new projects: appointing leaders, documentation, tracking progress, etc. I also feel that much of the discussion has been focused on students and un(der)employed new archivists, and that our goal of supporting well-employed new archivists, as they move from entry-level to mid-career or managerial positions, has been overlooked. I’d like to keep a broader definition of new archivist in mind as SNAP moves forward.

ART: As SAA’s representative student agency, it would seem that SNAP is uniquely suited to advocate for changes and/or improvements to graduate archival education programs. Has there been any discussion along these lines thus far among the SNAP leadership? If so, in what ways does SNAP envision that archival education programs could better serve their students?

RG: Judging from recent conversations on the SNAP list, one of the biggest areas of concern is archival internships&#8211both publicizing the need for internship or other work experience during grad school, and making sure that internships are conducted in a way that’s ethical and educational. I would love to see SNAP produce guidelines for graduate student internships. As far as changes to the educational programs themselves&#8211we could certainly advocate for changes, but SAA doesn’t accredit archives programs, and their Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies were just revised in 2011. Right now, I don’t see a whole lot of room for SNAP contributions in this area.

ART: Although SNAP primarily serves students and early professionals who are already pursuing careers as archivists, do you intend for SNAP to also play a leading role in SAA’s outreach efforts to recruit new professionals to the archives field? What potential strategies do you think might be effective in better promoting the archives profession as a career option?

RG: I don’t know too many new archivists who would recommend entering the archives field right now. There aren’t even enough jobs for all the recent grads. I’d rather see SAA do one or both of the following things:

•recruit related professionals&#8211people working in jobs with archives-related responsibilities who may not identify as archivists or see the need for SAA membership. These related professionals are one of the target audiences for SNAP, because their work-related needs are similar to those of archives students and new archives professionals.

•promote the importance of archives to organizations and communities that don’t already have them. If you’re an organization and you want to start an archives, or hire an archival consultant, SAA has you covered. But that assumes you know enough about archivists to know why you’d need one. What about outreach to the people with the power to create job opportunities for new archivists?

ART: As SNAP’s Chair, what would your advice be to students and early-career archivists looking to become more involved in the professional archives community, either at the local, regional, or national level? Aside from joining SNAP, of course.

RG: SAA (and, to a lesser extent, the local and regional archives organizations) can absolutely seem intimidating as a newcomer. If you want to get involved with a group or project, just ask! Every SAA section and roundtable lists their leaders, and if you’re an SAA member you can log in to get their contact information. All the SAA leaders I’ve met would love to get more new archivists involved in their groups. I can’t speak for every regional group, but I’ve found MARAC to be pretty friendly, and they had a great session at their spring meeting explaining all the ways new members and new archivists could get involved. Local groups: I’ve tried and failed multiple times to get involved with mine. Some are awesome (like ART :) ), but I’ve found that small local orgs can be clique-y and very difficult to break into. As a general piece of advice, if you’re ever in a situation where you’re networking with other archivists&#8211like a conference, or a lo
cal meeting&#8211assume that people are shy rather than unfriendly.

I’d also recommend starting a Twitter account and following some archivists on Twitter (Kate Theimer has a good list to start off on Twitter). The relative merits of Twitter vs. the Archives and Archivists list has been much debated, but I will say that as a new archivist I find asking questions via Twitter to be quick, easy, and not too intimidating.

Nick Pavlik is a member of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York and serves as archivist for the 92nd Street Y, one of New York City’s preeminent community and cultural institutions.

Partners for Albany Stories Honoring Retiring Assemblymen

Partners for Albany Stories (PAS) will host a reception to honor Assembly Majority Leader Ronald Canestrari, Assemblymember John J. McEneny, and Assemblymember Robert Reilly for their significant contributions to Albany’s historic and cultural resources. The event will take place at the Albany Institute of History & Art on Wednesday, June 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, with presentations at 6 PM.

PAS is a collaboration of historic, cultural, and preservation organizations working to develop an integrated historical narrative and marketing approach for the city of Albany and build the capacity of our member institutions to serve the community’s economic development goals.

Light refreshments will be served. Suggested donation is $15.00 per person, and can be made online at albanyinstitute.org or by phone at (518) 463-4478, ext. 405. Registering online will record your RSVP as a tax deductible donation.

Finger Lakes Boating Museum Gets $2.4 Million

The City of Geneva and the Finger Lakes Boating Museum have announced that grant agreements totaling $2,450,000 in state funds for the development of the Boating Museum and Visitor Center have been received and are being executed.

The funds will be used for the design and construction of a museum showcasing boating and boat building in the Finger Lakes region, as well as an enhanced visitor center. The project will be developed on the north shore of Seneca Lake on the site of the existing visitor center.

The State of New York announced two separate grant awards, the first a $2,000,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, secured through the efforts of State Sen. Michael Nozzolio. The second grant of $450,000 from New York’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program was announced as part of the 2011 Consolidated Funding Application process.

“After many months of planning, we are very pleased to be getting under way soon in providing Geneva and the entire Finger Lakes with a beautiful museum that will bring to life the history of boating and its influence on life in the Finger Lakes” said Vince Scalise, President of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum Board of Trustees. “We look forward to cooperating with the City in bringing this educational facility to the lakefront for all to enjoy and to learn.”

The City has selected Pittsford-based Hanlon Architects for design and engineering, which will begin immediately, and Chrisanntha Construction for construction of the project, which is slated to begin this fall.

Interested persons can see some of the Museum’s collection of boats on display at the 2012 Boating Festival in the Geneva Lakeshore Park Saturday (10-5) and Sunday (10-4), July 14 and 15. The Show will be held the same days as the Musselman Triathlon 2012 races and events.

The boat show will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 15. Admission is free.

Many of the Museum’s wooden rowboats, power boats, and canoes built in the Finger Lakes will be on display. Activities will include workshops and demonstrations on boat building and restoration, interactive nautical displays and a sailing regatta. For more information, check the Boating Museum’s website at www.flbm.org.

The Boating Museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva in the fall of 2009 to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with a Visitor Center.

The Boating Museum has assembled a collection of more than 115 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility, but President Scalise emphasized that there will be a lot more to the museum than viewing boats because education, restoration and preservation are the key elements of the museum’s mission.

Also featured will be boat rides on Seneca Lake, active on-water programs including sailing and small boat handling, interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design and construction of boats and boating history materials and programs.

The boating museum is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation and was chartered by the New York State Department of Education in 1997 to “research, document, preserve and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region.”

Photo: Construction of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum and Visitor Center will begin this fall on the north shore of Seneca Lake in Geneva.

Womens Rights NHP Has New Interpretation, Education Chief

Women’s Rights National Historical Park is pleased to announce that Noemi &#8220Ami&#8221 Ghazala has been selected to lead the park’s Interpretation and Education division. Ghazala, a native of New York City with ten years of experience with the National Park Service (NPS), is expected to relocate to the Finger Lakes region in mid-August.

Superintendent Tammy Duchesne said, “Ami is a perfect fit for Women’s Rights National Historical Park. She is dynamic, creative, forward thinking and knows that for the NPS to be relevant for its next 100 years we must engage our local communities, become educational resources for schools and life-long learners, incorporate new technologies, and commit to reaching new and diverse audiences. Ami has been incredibly successful in doing this in several National Parks and we know she will bring this vision, leadership, and energy to the park and community.”

Ghazala’s NPS work began at the Statue of Liberty National Monument/Ellis Island Immigration Museum. In 2007, she wrote a children’s book called, “From Many Lands, The Ellis Story”. In 2008, she transferred to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, located in the Greater New Orleans area. As Education Coordinator and later District Supervisor, she focused efforts on  partnering with local schools to bring urban children to their local national park, working closely with low-performing schools and communities-of-color.

Ghazala was promoted to Chief of Education and Resource Management at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in 2010. In Dayton, she worked closely with legislated park partners to reopen African American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s home to the public.

A graduate of St. John’s University, Ghazala traveled overseas as a freelance  photojournalist focusing much of her writing on women’s issues. Other private sector experiences include published writings and photo-essays in Egypt, managing a small business in New York City, and teaching overseas  and in the United States.

Peter Feinman: On Regional Agendas

I recently received an invitation to attend a meeting of the Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance on behalf of Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) and The Advocacy Coalition of the Hudson Valley to address the question: Is there a HUDSON VALLEY Regional Agenda? (The meeting will be held on Friday, June 15, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Student Union Building of the State University of New York at New Paltz) [Link]. Read more

Finger Lakes Museum Hires Development Director

The Finger Lakes Museum has announced the appointment of Richard Lane as Development Director. Richard brings over 20 years of senior level experience in the non-profit sector to the Museum, which will open its Discovery Campus, in Branchport in 2013 and plans to open its exhibit-based museum facility and aquarium in 2014-2015 at Keuka State Park.

While serving four nationally-recognized organizations, Richard has worked on capital campaigns, including construction projects, ranging from $12 million to $18 million. He has extensive experience in community outreach and advocacy, working diligently with non-profit boards to accomplish those projects.

Executive Director Don Naetzker stated, “We are very pleased and excited to have Richard on our team. We are impressed with his capabilities and look forward to working with him.”

Upon accepting the offer, Lane said “Having vacationed on the Finger Lakes since 2001 at my in-laws, and having been married at Norton Chapel, Keuka College, I have grown to love this very special region with all it has to offer. I am especially attracted to the Museum’s focus on protecting and sustaining the natural beauty and resources of the Finger Lakes, while promoting a green economy. I am truly excited about working with Board and staff to realize the Finger Lakes Museum, which will greatly benefit the region.”

Contact Richard by email at [email protected] or by phone at 315-418-0536 to set up a time to meet with him to discuss giving opportunities, questions about future donations, or to get to know one another over a cup of coffee.

In April, The Finger Lakes Museum launched its annual campaign titled “Preserving your Passions”. By the end of December, the Museum hopes to raise $450,000. Contributions are being accepted to help the Museum make their first annual giving campaign a success so they can continue supplying the Finger Lakes community and its visitors with educational programming focused on the preservation and stewardship of this beautiful Finger Lakes region. Donations can be made online or by mail to: The Finger Lakes Museum, PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is proposed as the premier natural and cultural resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes Region – and to fresh water conservation. The Museum is chartered by the NYS Education Department and incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization.

For more information or to make contact, visit www.fingerlakesmuseum.org

Social Studies Curriculum: A Modest Proposal II

Regular readers of my posts know that the role of civics was an important point of contention raised at the recent annual conference of the New York State Council for the Social Studies. Such readers also know I have consistently advocated on behalf of local history both for the pedagogy of teaching critical skills beginning with one’s own backyard to the civic benefit of developing a sense of place, a sense of belonging, and a sense of community. Those concerns affect not only an individual’s sense of identity with the immediate area where one lives but also with the country as a whole where one is a citizen. Read more

Digital Storytelling: Optimizing Your Web Presence

Many local organizations invest time, energy and money to build a website, but just how visible is your website in the infinite space of the internet? With the small staff and smaller budgets of non-profits, web developers need to be strategic, and generating a lively and engaging webpage is only part of the battle. In this article, we will explore the various opportunities and tools that are available to optimize your web presence.


Secure Your Domain
When building a website, often the first challenge is deciding on a domain name. Selecting a domain name is very important because it will become a part of your organization’s identity. Something that is simple,easy to remember and representative of your organization’s name works best, but may not always be available. When checking for the availability of your desired domain name, you will also want to consider the various extensions (ie. .com,.org, .net, etc.), and alternative spellings.

Once you have decided on one or more appropriate domain(s), lock it down! It costs about $10 to register your domain for a year, and the cost can be reduced if you pay more than one year at a time. It is well worth the estimated $100 to secure your domain names for the next decade.

Metadata
Metadata is like a card catalog for web browsers that matches search queries to keywords built into the web-language. Therefore, if someone enters a search query of “Museums near Anywhere, NY,” your museum may appear first. Work with your graphic designer and identify a set of keywords that could be associated with your organization, and be wary of Search Engine Optimizer SPAM mail.

Social Media
The average U.S. Internet user spends more time on Facebook than on Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia and Amazon combined. Websites tend to be static, with regular but not daily updates. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, create new opportunities for you to create a dialogue with your audience, and learn what they are thinking to drive traffic to your website.

Collaborations and Cross-Links
Local and region chambers, county tourism promotion agencies and multi-regional organizations create great opportunities for collaborations and cross-linking. Learn about regional and multi-regional partnerships in your area, such as Erie Canalway and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Corridors, Mohawk Towpath, Seaway Trail and Lakes to Locks Passage. Lakes to Locks Passage, for example, offers free user-generated web-listings under 40+ categories on their Lakes to Locks Passage and National Geographic Geotourism website, with unlimited capacity for text and media to make the information rich and compelling. (www.lakestolocks.org)

Google Adwords Grants
Is your organization a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit agency? You may consider applying for a Google Adwords Grant. When Google users search on keywords related to your organization, your ad appears next to relevant Google search results under the Sponsored Links sections. A click on your ad takes users directly to your website. Instead of looking for an audience, you’ have an audience looking for you. (www.google.com/grants/#)

Review and Assess
Setting benchmarks and goals for your website is a great wayto demonstrate impact and keep on task. This means that you have to be aware ofwhere you started, and where you are going. Google Analytics is a free tool formeasuring web traffic, links that refer people to your website and locationdata about the visitor. Utilize this information, and take a strategic approachto developing web-traffic. (www.google.com/analytics/)

Museumwise Recognizes Museum Community

Museumwise (formerly Upstate History Alliance) in Oneonta, NY presented this year’s Awards of Merit to winners at a special reception in Albany on April 22nd to recognize outstanding work in the museum community, reward staff and volunteers, and provide encouragement for development of new and innovative projects. A total of seventeen projects from around the State, ranging from exhibitions to educational programs, received recognition with six receiving Awards of Merit and eleven projects received Certificates of Commendation.

Projects receiving Awards of Merit include the Essex County Historical Society’s Worked/Wild exhibit at the Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown- The Farmers’ Museum, Plowline: Images of Rural New York- Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Got Class? Status and Power in Early America program series- Historic House Trust of New York City, Historic House Festival- Erie Canal Museum, Erie Canal Museum ArtsWeek Outdoor Projects- Tara Fracalossi, Individual Achievement- and The Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College. A full list of this year’s Award winners and project descriptions is available on the Museumwise website.

Museumwise is a non-profit organization which provides resources, training and expertise to New York’s heritage organizations and museums, in hopes of strengthening their capacity to better serve their communities and meet their institutional missions. Each year its Award of Merit program recognizes exceptional and innovative projects in the museum and history community such as exhibitions, collections care projects, heritage tourism, history publications, and websites. For more information on the Museumwise Awards program, contact Museumwise at (800)-895-1648- [email protected]