What I didn’t learn in grad school

The speaker at SNCA’s annual meeting plenary luncheon was Sarah E. Koonts, the Director of the North Carolina Division of Archives and Records. One of the main issues touched on was archival advocacy, a skill that, as Koots mentioned, most of us didn’t learn in graduate school. As a recent grad (May 2013), I certainly didn’t learn exactly how to “do” advocacy. So, a few resources for how to figure that out:

  • Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, Evidence, and Actions – an edX MOOC from the University of Toronto. The course is just about to end, and although I signed up for it at the start, I haven’t had much of a chance to check out the materials yet (so many tasks!). However, the little bit I’ve been able to glean has been interesting, and I love the idea of a MOOC focused on a topic that definitely didn’t receive it’s full due in my own graduate education.
  • The Society of American Archivists’ Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy (CAPP). I just heard about CAPP from a comment from Erin Lawrimore during the plenary luncheon. I haven’t had much of a chance to check this out yet, but definitely a good way to get involved and learn more about how to advocate (and to get out there and actually DO some advocating).
  • Professional organization involvement – as touched on with SAA & CAPP, getting involved with a group of others in the profession is a great way to get new ideas, and to enact ones you have. I just got an email from Zach Coble about signing up for Editor-at-Large shifts for dh+lib. I served as an Editor-at-Large for the Fall 2013 term, and I thought it was an amazing way to keep up with news and projects from across DH and library/ archival fields.
  • Blogging! This is my first Day of DH, and also my first experience with live-blogging (boy have I live-tweeted, though). Like many archivists, librarians, and other DH-ers, blogging is something I do somewhat regularly on a professional basis, for Davidson’s Archives & Special Collections blog. Koonts mentioned the This Day in North Carolina blog during her talk, and it seems like a really great outreach effort. Other resources I’m going to look at for ideas and inspirations: NARA’s Citizen Archivist Dashboard (also mentioned by Koonts), and the blogroll of NC archival blogs on SNCA’s website.

Right now I’m sitting in the afternoon student lightning round session, listening to Samantha Crisp describe implementing LibGuides for manuscripts collections at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. As Davidson thinks about ways to make our finding aids (and collections in general) more findable, LibGuides might be an interesting option to experiment with… and speaking of advocacy and outreach, Patrick Dollar’s lightning talk was on “Public Relations and the Archives at UNC-Chapel Hill.” Here is one of his closing slides, with some great conclusions:

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