Monday, August 21, 2017

Let's Advocate!

As archivists, we know that advocating for our profession is a crucial part of our work. The Academy of Certified Archivists includes advocacy within one of the seven main domains of the archival profession. ACA explains that archivists must “develop an understanding of, and support for, the archival program among resource allocators, key constituents, potential donors, allied professionals, and other internal and external stakeholders to the archives’ parent organization” (ACA Exam Handbook 21). Advocating for our profession can take many forms – public programming, meetings with local and state politicians, donor relations, fundraising, activism, etc. For the Society of Georgia Archivists, activism kicked into high gear roughly five years ago when the future of the Georgia Archives was in danger. Now that this threat has passed, it is time to start thinking about advocacy in a long-term sense. While issue-based advocacy is important, it is also necessary to engage in a steady rhythm of advocacy so that our community understands the value of what we do.

The SGA Outreach Team has made it a point to focus on advocacy for fall 2017. We are excited to see the inroads we can make in Georgia to help inform our community of the archival profession. Here are some ideas we are considering…

-        Developing an advocacy “workflow” for current and future members of the SGA Outreach Team

-        Setting up meetings with our local and state politicians to discuss our purpose as archivists

-        Inviting stakeholders to SGA events

-        Targeting SGA social media to address issues specifically related to advocacy   


SGA Members with Governor Nathan Deal at the 2016 Georgia Archives Month Proclamation Signing


What other ideas do you have for advocacy? Let us know!!

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!