Educational Session V

Friday, May 17th, 1:30-3:00

Social Justice in the Archives: Or, are Archivists Activists?
Canyon A/B
Archivists must be active, perhaps even activists, in their efforts to include the voices from all the communities they are charged with representing in their repository. The lack of an archival presence for many minorities or excluded communities in a repository mirrors what occurs in communities at large, where some groups are excluded and marginalized. These silences or gaps are troubling, creating disquieting effects for future historical discourse and understanding. This panel includes the efforts at five institutions that work to recover and preserve neglected voices through social justice projects. Presentations include: Utah State University Special Collections & Archive’s “Stories of Utah’s Opioid Crisis: An Oral History Project,” Austin History Center’s “Taking it to the Streets: A Visual History of Protest and Demonstration in Austin,” The University of Utah’s zine collection, representing a broad range of excluded communities, Lamar University Library’s project to collect underrepresented voices of the local Latinx community, and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s “Documenting the Forgotten: Theory and Practice for Creating an Undocumented Immigrant Oral History Archive.”

100 Years of Grand: The Grand Canyon National Park Centennial Digitization Project AND Four Centuries in 5,000 Folders: Digitizing the SRT Mexican Manuscript Collection
The Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) celebrated its centennial on February 26, 2019. While millions of American and international visitors appreciate the extraordinary beauty of this remote and powerful place, few are aware of early attempts to privatize the lands for development. The founding of GCNP and efforts to make it safe, enjoyable and profitable tell important stories about appropriate roles of government and businesses in tourism and economic development. Through the project website, two digital repositories, an ESRI Story Map and weekly Facebook posts we facilitated public celebrations, enhanced tourism, educated citizens and enabled creative uses of archives for tourism, marketing, discussion and centennial events. SSA/CIMA members will learn about this collaboration between two university libraries and the Grand Canyon National Park Museum from the project co-directors.

UTSA Special Collections is wrapping up a long-running, large-scale digitization project with legacy metadata and materials that are on permanent loan. This collection of Colonial Mexican documents—formally known as the Sons of the Republic of Texas Kathryn Stoner O’Conner Mexican Manuscript Collection—made its way to UTSA via the SRT nearly 40 years ago, and its journey provides more questions than answers. The digitization specialist will share how we have tackled the complexities of this grant-funded digitization initiative while navigating donor expectations and a new awareness of evolving user groups.

Changing Archival Horses Midstream: Rethinking Policies, Procedures, and Processes in Established Archival Repositories
Policies, procedures, and processes in archival repositories are intended to set standards for workflows and access in order to make daily work activities more efficient for staff members. Usually, though, these rules hardly ever are updated in a systematic way or on a regular basis, which can lead to frustration for all employees, especially those who are newly hired. Guidelines and regulations that are supposed to improve the system then become the things that clog the archival gears. This session will explore two archival repositories and how newly hired employees, with varying years of experience, addressed existing policies, procedures, and processes, as well as how existing archival employees created and adapted to new guidelines.