Monday, July 24, 2017

"Tackling the ACA Exam" (written by Tiffany Atwater)

“The best way to finish an unpleasant task is to get started” ~Anonymous

No one likes taking tests! We study, cry, study some more, eat ice cream and then study again,—or maybe this was just my experience in graduate school. Nonetheless, through my matriculation of grad school, there was one nagging thought in my mind. “What if I graduate but can’t pass the Certification Exam?” Scary right, well, not exactly.  Unlike some professions, not passing the exam does not signify a nail in the coffin of my career, — it is nonetheless, a testament to my understanding of the profession and my ability to maintain standards of excellence in historical preservation and access to primary resources. The certification exam, was developed by the Academy of Certified Archivists, founded in 1989 at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists.” (Academy of Certified Archivists, 2017) The ACA exam was established in conjunction with the Society of American Archivists and the Interim Board for Certification (IBC) in order to promote understanding of archival goals, ethics and standards. The examination is conducted annually in conjunction with the Society of American Archivist’s Annual Meeting. Applicants are able to take the test either at SAA’s annual meeting or request a host city where 3 or more applicants wish to take the test.

I applied for the test last year, and I must say as scared as I was about taking the exam, I was more inspired by the sight of all the other test takers in the room with me. Seeing former classmates and current colleagues take the test was exciting. One of the ways I studied for the exam was by reaching out to colleagues who had taken the test. One of the most surprising pieces of advice I received was to “relax.” The exam is challenging; it’s supposed to be. If everyone could pass, what would make the profession so special? Being an archivist is more than putting old stuff in boxes. It’s someone who preserves, manages, and provides access to the past. We are the gatekeepers to history, but more importantly we are a legitimate profession that requires training and higher education. We are not just a title to be used for the person who keeps all the “old stuff.” The certification exam is the Academy’s effort to help validate what we, as working archivists, already know -- our profession takes skill.
I eventually studied hard and passed the exam, and I encourage anyone who has been procrastinating, scared, or even unaware to visit the Academy of Certified Archivists website and learn more about certification. The Academy even provides an exam handbook that serves as a guide for anyone desiring to become certified. It includes an explanation of the Academy’s structure, principles guiding the exam’s creation, sample questions, study guide and bibliography. While it is too late to register for the upcoming 2017 exam, remember that applications for the 2018 exam usually open in February. For those who are taking the exam this year, I will see you July 26th as I am one of the proctors for the Atlanta site.

A wise person once said, “The best way to finish an unpleasant task is to get started.” Who that person is, I don’t know perhaps an archivist will find this quote in an archive somewhere, and when they do, hopefully the archivist will have a CA after their title. 

Written by Tiffany Atwater

Saturday, June 03, 2017

We're Back!

Greetings all!

The  SGA Outreach team is excited to announce that we are officially reviving our blog! Thank you for your patience during our hiatus.

Our first blog post is going to focus on membership. Membership is crucial to the success of SGA because without dedicated members who volunteer their time and resources to serve on the SGA board, attend SGA events and meetings, mentor one another, or even just promote the archival endeavor in Georgia, our Society could not exist. You do not have to be a full-time archivist to be a member of SGA. Anyone can join. We welcome a diverse group of members who are committed to working together for the betterment of archives in our state. In fact, the SGA Diversity Initiative Task Force just completed the first statement on diversity and inclusion for SGA. Check it out here.

The SGA Membership Committee specifically works toward meeting the needs of current SGA members as well as recruiting new members. The Outreach Committee works closely with the Membership Committee to plan events and campaigns to encourage membership participation. Take a look at the latest update from Sarah Tanner, the 2017 SGA Membership Chair:

Dear SGA Members,

The Membership Committee, in 2016, began working closely with the Outreach Committee to combine our efforts to help support current SGA membership and expand our reach in recruiting new members. We have had three joint meetings to plan and promote SGA activities for the 2017 year. The Membership Committee has several ongoing tasks, including welcoming new members, planning tours of Georgia repositories, connecting members through social and networking events, and partnering with the Mentoring Committee to identify ways to connect new members with the Mentoring Program. This year the Membership Committee planned a joint Lego+Local Brew networking event with the Special Libraries Association and other professional organizations at the Museum of Modern Design, sent informational emails to historical societies, faculty, and students in archival programs, and is working on several upcoming events for the summer. The Membership Committee, along with the Outreach Committee is working with the Georgia Archives Institute to plan a repository tour of the Auburn Avenue Research Center in June and an SGA member happy hour at the Brick Store Pub this summer. Stay tuned for more information about these upcoming events.

In addition to these events, committee members have been working on a variety of tasks from SGA’s Strategic Timetable, including drafting and submitting a Diversity Statement for the SGA Board, and reaching out to members in other areas of Georgia to plan casual meet-ups in cities beyond Atlanta. If you or anyone you know is interested in working with the Membership Committee to plan an event in your area, please contact me!

The Membership Committee is designed to work on programs to recruit and retain members, as well as develop membership benefits. If you have any feedback, comments, or concerns, I would love to hear from you.  

Thanks for the update, Sarah! And to all of our SGA members, thank you for making us the incredible Society that we are!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Call for session/poster proposals for SFA/SGA Joint Meeting this October

The 2016 Society of Georgia Archivists/Society of Florida Archivists Programming Committee proudly announces the theme for the 2016 Joint Conference:

Defining Archives: Ingenuity, Innovation, and New Perspectives

The Committee invites you to submit your workshop, session, and poster ideas to help make this year’s conference a great success!  Defining Archives calls for archives professionals to explore the inventive and enterprising use of archival concepts, functions, and methods through time and across disciplines. Conference program proposals are sought that highlight innovative research, applied projects, and collective insights that improve our understanding of the following key topics:
  • The archival environment, including issues, successes, and key operational differences experienced while working in corporate archives, special collections, academic repositories, and public libraries; 
  • The roles of archivists as educators, reference sources, spokespeople, liaisons, and gatekeepers; changing jobs and titles and how these varied responsibilities are handled in daily work;
  • The vision of archives and next steps for the profession, including novel approaches to archival education, recruiting new generations of archivists, and creatively engaging with researchers and the community;
  • The creative practice of archives and the ways in which archivists create innovative responses to challenges such as rapidly changing formats, digital preservation, web archiving, unconventional projects, building exhibits and the management of exponentially larger volumes of data.

The theme announcement and session proposal guidelines can be found online at  The deadline for session/poster proposals is July 15, 2016. 

We are looking forward to our Joint Conference in Savannah, Georgia, October 13-14, 2016!  For more information about the joint meeting, please see

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Call for papers: 2016 issue of Provenance

Provenance: The Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, a peer reviewed academic publication, seeks articles on archival theory and practice for the 2016 issue. Please note that the content of the journal is not limited to the state of Georgia, and articles of regional or national significance are welcome. First-time authors are especially encouraged to submit articles for consideration. As evidenced by the forthcoming audiovisual issue, composed of video, audio, and traditional article formats, Provenance is also interested in innovative and unique methods for presenting scholarly content.

Articles on archival topics outside of theory and practice which meet publication standards will also be considered. Typical papers should be a Word document, 10-20 pages, double spaced, and formatted according to the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Please review information for contributors: Articles are to be submitted utilizing Provenance’s new online system:

For additional information contact Editor Heather Oswald at: Deadline for contributions is July 31, 2016.