Unpaid Internships: A Message from the Editor

Ashley Levine
Archivist/Digital Resource Manager
Artifex Press
Editor, SOLO
alevine@artifexpress.com

There is a looming paradigm shift in archival education and practice–the end of the  unpaid internship. Professionals in various archival settings are increasingly pushing back against this commonplace practice, which overwhelmingly devalues archives work. Archives, libraries, and cultural heritage institutions, however, often operate with limited resources, and cannot afford to pay interns. This issue of SOLO attempts to address the nuances of unpaid labor in archives, highlighting both positives and negatives. These posts should be viewed as an ongoing discussion needing more input from the Lone Arranger community. We welcome more feedback on the issue of unpaid internships,  whether it comes in the form of comments on these individual posts, or entirely new pieces submitted to me (alevine@artifexpress.com).

 

Thanks for reading this issue of SOLO!

 

 

 

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Unpaid Internships: A Multifaceted Problem

Michelle Ganz, MILS CA
Archives Director
McDONOUGH INNOVATION
700 East Jefferson Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434.979.1111 office
434.284.0616 mobile
http://www.mcdonough.com

Internships are an important part of archival education, and often the only way students get real-world experience. My graduate school program only offered 2 elective courses on archives that were offered in alternating years (making it very difficult to take both depending on when you started the program). Obviously two courses cannot cover the breadth of archival education so at that time internships/practicums were the only way to get into an archives as a student. These were courses we signed up for, received credit for, and were graded on (usually on a pass/fail scale). The work done in these internships was appropriate for resumes and counted towards the experience requirement to sit for the ACA certification exam.

Once I moved from student to Lone Arranger I wanted to make sure that interns walked away with practical knowledge and theoretical foundations of archival practice. My internships were structured to maximize what the students got out of the experience. But packing more instruction into an internship still isn’t a replacement for financial compensation. The best I could do for my interns was offer letters of reference, job search help, a couple of lunches throughout the semester, and baked goods. These are poor substitutes for actual money, but the alternative was to offer no internship opportunities for students; this is hardly an appropriate alternative. I never really thought much about their compensation. In hindsight I should have been more aware of how taking an internship could have impacted my interns; I always took interest in how their lives were doing outside of school. It never occured to me to ask if the internship was negatively impacting them. It was my responsibility to ask, and in that sense I failed my interns.

As the landscape of archival education evolves to archives-track MLIS programs the idea of internships has also changed. Internships are no longer a basic part of the educational process. Employers have turned to unpaid internships in lieu of hiring professional archivists or archival assistants; skirting the ethical line of using volunteers or unpaid labor instead of properly compensated professionals. Internships seem to have moved out of the educational sphere and into the working world where entry level jobs have been reclassified as unpaid internships. In addition to being grossly unethical this blurred line has catastrophic and long-reaching implications. Internships, by definition, work on the trade-school model of giving students a chance to apply the theory learned in the classrooms and see if archives is the track for them. Asking MLIS/MIS/MLS holding professionals to accept a job without pay is insulting and cheapens the profession as a whole. To be perfectly honest, it never occured to me that interns should be paid until I started paying attention to what new professionals were saying. As the people administering internships it is our obligation to push for change.

Interns deserve to be paid for the work that they do, and the government is starting to agree. For-profit institutions have moved to a pay model to keep ahead of changing regulations.  Academic institutions need to follow suit. Course credit isn’t acceptable when people are having to choose between taking the unpaid internship or going to a job unrelated to archives, but pays the bills. Many academic institutions provide students with a variety of scholarships and alternative funding options to cover costs while completing an internship. But this places the onus of responsibility on the students, not the archives, where the responsibility actually lies. Supporting and advocating for new professionals is a fundamental part of sustaining our profession. And funding needs to be part of your advocacy agenda and part of your strategic goals.

And in a perfect world this would not be an issue. But the reality of archival budgets is that there is no extra money, or time to apply for money, leaving archivists trying to provide internships without paying for the interns. Cutting funds from other areas like supplies to free up funds for internships is often not possible; either because there isn’t enough money for the things we have to buy or because it’s not possible to move funds from one budget line to another. The SAA has taken the correct position that all interns need to get paid. Use the SAA’s Best Practices for Internships and the current literature as a way to support your proposal to pay interns. It is clear that we are moving to a paid internships standard and we need to start budgeting for interns like any other archival budgetary line item. We need to seek out grant funding, endowments, and alumni-supported funds. We need to include intern funding as part of our advocacy plans.

Clearly there is no simple answer and we certainly can’t find a solution in a blog. Like all of the archival problems we grapple with the real answer is a multifaceted approach. I have spent years mulling this issue and have yet to come up with a blanket solution. Every institution and repository needs to approach this issue with real forethought and a willingness to address this on an institutional and budgetary level. The important thing is to keep the conversation moving forward and continuing to push for funding for interns and internships.

An Unpaid Archives Internship in Late Career

Phyllis Ann K. Bratton
Director, Raugust Library
University of Jamestown
6070 College Lane
Jamestown, ND 58405
(701)252-3467, ext. 5433

I received my library degree in 1978. In 2010, I decided to return to work towards a degree in archives and records management, as my last great project before retirement is to organize our university archives from the ground up and I want to do it properly. My problems and experiences will be different from younger archivists, but reading others’ accounts, it becomes clear that most of the difficulties in each case revolve around trying to keep one’s life in balance.

In the summer of 2013, I proposed completing an unpaid internship at a university archives that is 100 miles from where I live and work. The archivists there graciously accepted me into their space, gave me my own project to work on, were extremely helpful with direction and advice, and accommodated my schedule.

Additional positives included that I lived with one of my daughters, who was a student at the university; since I was paying for her apartment anyhow, I felt no qualms about this! Also, as an assistant professor at my own institution, I was able to apply for and receive a summer sabbatical, so I continued to be paid while absent.

On the negative side were family concerns. Chief among these was trying to monitor and care for my chronically ill husband from a distance. Another was trying to organize my other daughter’s wedding, at an even greater distance and with an otherwise-occupied brain.

The biggest problem, however, is that I did not receive a full sabbatical. As the library director and only degreed librarian at our institution (yes, we are VERY SMALL), I was required to return to the library every Friday to do administrative work, as no one else could do it. This disrupted my project, but as noted above, the archivists were very kind about working with my schedule.

I finished my project, taking 19 huge and disorganized banana boxes full of records and reducing them to 21 organized boxes and a 26 page finding aid. I do not regret the time (which ran past the requirements of the class) or the work; it was well worth the effort. The archivists continue to answer my questions as I work through our collections here, and I feel that meeting them was one of the great benefits of the internship.

Jeanne Lowrey on Unpaid Internships

Jeanne Lowrey
Archivist
Office of the President
Yale University
203-432-2553

I am a bit unusual because the bulk of my pre-professional experience was paid. The few unpaid internships I held were part of school programs and class credit was offered. As a result, the financial burden was essentially equal to that of talking classes without internships.

I was fortunate to have attended an undergraduate institution with a thriving archives and strong program designed to help undergraduates gain practical work experience. I worked full time for two summers (as well as part time during the academic year), learning the foundations of archival practice before I had even decided that this was my career path or learned about abstract theory. Had this not been a paying job, this life-changing opportunity would have been inaccessible to me, and I’d likely have had to settle for a much less in-depth experience.

Additionally, my college job set me up with the skills I needed to find a rare, paid internship after I graduated. True, it was one day a week, and I juggled one to two other jobs simultaneously during that time. But that internship eventually became my first professional job, giving me a solid two years of professional experience prior to my post-grad school job search. These paid experiences enabled me to leave grad school with over five years of invaluable hands-on skills obtained in a variety of organizations.

As someone who has been a Lone Arranger for all of my professional career, I know how essential volunteer support is to accomplish institutional objectives. There are only so many hours in a week (especially if you are part time) and having extra hands can be so helpful. But to me, there is a big difference between a volunteer who is just looking to give back or help out, and someone who is serious about developing a professional portfolio. With volunteers, you try to teach them the basics, give them specific parameters so hopefully they will produce an end-product that is useful for your organization. They give what they can give, and you take what you can take. But someone interested in interning wants to go beyond the surface level, to broaden their knowledge of the field and archival work. A good intern will run with what they have learned and be able to do tasks that are essential but usually beyond the capability of a regular volunteer. With any luck, these skills the intern learns will serve them well as they advance in their career. If we do not fairly compensate interns for their work, we are signaling that their work does not have worth. It also is a sign that only people who can afford to work without pay are welcome in our profession.

Sometimes there is a bit of a grey area. Maybe someone interested in the field wants to volunteer just to get a sense of what archives are all about. Perhaps a professional or pre-professional volunteers for an archival organization because they are passionate about it and are willing to donate their time because they care about the cause and can bring a special skill set to the project. But these are either very short term or entirely self-selected projects. In these cases, the worker controls their interactions with archival institutions. If we accept that initiation into the archival profession requires unpaid labor that many people cannot afford, potential archivists no longer have that luxury. When it’s a decision between unpaid field experience and a paying job doing unrelated work to survive, there is really no choice.

Without paying archival work experience, I would not be where I am today. I would have had to postpone grad school for many years due to cost, delaying my ability to earn the degree I’d need to get a better paying job. I would not have been able to pay down my student loans. I would not have had the practical experience that made me stand out to my current employer. Being paid for my work from the start facilitated my entry into the archival world. It also assured me that yes, this is something I could make into a career, something worth investing in. I am beyond grateful that I was able to find employment in places that valued my work and compensated me for it to the best of their ability. But I strongly feel that my experience should not be the exception to the rule.

Unpaid Internships: A Message From The Chair

Deb Schiff
Archivist
Chair, SAA Lone Arrangers
debra.schiff@gmail.com

When SOLO editor Ashley Levine asked me to write about my experience with unpaid internships, I thought about a number of things, including the privilege associated with programs requiring students to have unpaid internships. I also recognize my own great privilege in being someone who, thanks to a variety of circumstances, could afford to take unpaid internships during my MLIS. But first, let’s go back to a time when I was paid for an internship.

In 1989-1990, I was a Communications major at William Paterson University (College, then), studying radio, TV, and film. My internship at the brand new CNBC studios in Fort Lee, NJ paid $75 per day. Interesting historical fact: To equip CNBC, NBC reused the audio and video equipment employed to broadcast the previous Olympics. I could still see some of the mic labels on the audio engineering boards.

I operated a camera during the early morning show (Neil Cavuto was a young unknown and Kathleen Campion was the star) and supported the audio department (think mic-ing folks like Morton Downey and Dick Cavett, and their guests). It was as hands-on an experience as one could have as an intern, and after the internship ended, I was hired part-time until I completed my degree. I was very fortunate to have gotten the internship, importantly to see another woman working as a professional audio engineer. In the NYC area at that time, we were rare.

Fast-forward to 2009-2010, after careers in technical publishing and corporate communications, I sought an MLIS at nearby Rutgers University. I took internships and independent studies primarily because I couldn’t get as much hands-on experience as I wanted in the program. My first unpaid internship was at the Zimmerli Museum, on campus. It’s a great museum with the world’s largest collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art.

Working in the Registrar’s office, I chased down “missing” artworks in administrative offices and learned how to deaccession a collection of works on paper. The collection contained original artworks designed to accompany Bell Telephone bills. They were paired with short blurbs, often about historical information. These works no longer fit the collecting policy of the museum (my first experience with a collecting policy, too!), and were destined for the NJ Historical Society. However, the Society was closed due to budgetary concerns. The materials would stay with the Zimmerli until the Society reopened. In that experience, I also learned a great deal about art handling and preservation techniques, and condition reporting that I still use today.

I also took an unpaid internship at the Plainfield Public Library (NJ) in the Local History Department. My boss, Sarah Hull, head of Local History, gave me a host of great opportunities to practice everything I had learned, and to learn many new skills as an archivist. I worked with collections that had everything from architectural drawings to wedding gowns. The mentorship I received provided an important foundation for how I approach newer archivists and volunteers today. After I completed that internship, I volunteered at the library for a time. Later, I was written into grants for several years (part-time).

I’m not in favor of unpaid internships. Just because that’s what I experienced, it’s not what I expect others to do. Frankly, if my circumstances were different, I likely would not have been able to afford to stay in this field. At the end of the day, I gained a great deal of experience that I use and teach to others. I can only hope that more funding becomes available for the current generation of student archivists, librarians, and museum professionals to take the internships that will prepare them for their future careers.

 

Archivists to the Rescue! Project Update

Deb Schiff
Archivist
2017-2018 Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of SAA Lone Arrangers
debra.schiff@gmail.com

Since Brenda Gunn, our council liaison, and Nancy Beaumont, SAA Executive Director presented our pilot project, Archivists To The Rescue!, to Council earlier this year, the project team has been moving forward at a reasonable pace. We – SAA members and Section leaders Deb Schiff, Alison Stankrauff, Michelle Ganz, Ashley Levine, and Russ Gasero, as well as Dyani Feige of CCAHA – have reviewed the materials submitted from archivists across the country for consideration in the project.

Deb used Google Sheets to organize all of the project contributors in one place, with their contributions and contact information. For the workshop materials (handouts, bibliographies, and presentations) reviews, Deb used a Google Form so that the reviewers would have a standard method of reviewing each set of materials. The responses from the form were recorded on a page within a Google Sheet listing all of the workshop materials, to centralize all of this crucial information.

We obtained permissions to alter, use, and distribute all of the materials submitted. We reached a consensus on which materials to use for the workshops by the end of April, and are in the process of making the workshops ready for instructors to use.

Ashley has developed interview questions for video interviews and participant surveys (part of the measures of success for the project). Michelle has developed forms for the instructors and participants. All will be reviewed by the entire project team during May.

Also, sites have been selected across the state of New Jersey and workshop presenters will be trained in a “train the trainer” workshop Deb will hold later in the year. By the end of May, it is hoped that the workshops will be scheduled with the sites, so we can begin promoting the workshops and selecting the cohort of participants. It is hoped that each participant will be able to attend all of the workshops at their site.

Annie Tummino, of the SAA Lone Arrangers Steering Committee, organized a Lone Arrangers/Archivists to the Rescue Project Meet Up at the April MARAC meeting. There, Deb gave a short report on the project and sold the Archivist pin designed by the Los Angeles Archivists Collective as a fundraiser for the pilot (30 pins were sold!). It is expected that a portion of the proceeds will go toward producing more pins to sell at the annual SAA meeting (Nancy Beaumont said we would have a table at registration for the purposes). The remainder would go to expenses associated with the workshops

A Critical Response to The Archivist (2015)

Catherine Lucy
Technical Services Manager/Archivist
Fontbonne University
clucy@prodigy.net

Depictions of archivists and archives are ever-increasing in popular culture. From popular fictional characters like Abigail Chase in the blockbuster film National Treasure to unusual examples such as the fruity wine label The Archive or the French perfume Archives 69, archival images are all around society. Unfortunately, these depictions reinforce stereotypes that surround the profession, particularly of archivists. Aldred, Burr, and Park (2008) analyzed nineteen films containing archivists as characters. They determined that film archivists “follow generally accepted stereotypes” in their physical and behavioral characteristics, as found in published literature on the subject (p. 58). The following study describes and summarizes a recent depiction of an archivist in popular culture, and then analyzes the portrayal for stereotypes and other thematic elements found in existing literature.

The Archivist is a short film produced in the United Kingdom in 2015. Peter Owen Brook is the writer, director, producer and editor of the film. Visual artist Jamie Topp served as co-producer, cinematographer, and costumes/set design. The Archivist is a color film 13 minutes in length, which gained attention in the United Kingdom for its selection in the 2015 London Short Film Festival.

Nathan Mathers, a young man likely between the ages of 25 and 30, works as a news archivist for a television station. His position is very solitary, as he works alone in the basement of the station. As he is reviewing old PAL videocassettes and indexing their contents, he begins seeing himself in some of the archival news clips. Through telephone calls and a recorded video message, his girlfriend Alice pleads with him to leave the job because it is making him miserable. A reporter from one of the news clips (identified by the filmmakers on YouTube as a “spectre”) spies on him and then confronts him over a grudge she has been holding. The entire short film takes place in the television station’s basement where the archival news tapes are stored. The audience is only shown glimpses of the outside world through some of the news clips that Nathan watches.

This film is an original story of Brook’s. Both Brook’s and Topp’s individual works prior to this film show that they have an interest in the visual element of film. This interest contributes to the mood of the film, as they likely wanted to establish an element of mystery through their use of the camera and sound. As far as genre is concerned, the film is a drama with a supernatural element. The character of Abigail, the news reporter, is supposedly a ghost or apparition. Although the filmmakers do not make this completely clear to the audience in the context of the film, it is explicitly stated on the YouTube page where the film resides for viewing.

There is not a specific audience for this film other than film enthusiasts and archivists. The general public is unlikely to see an artsy short film such as this, so it mostly appeals to adult cinephiles. The main character Nathan seems to be an archivist for the purpose of creating a sense of mystery and exploiting the isolation of his job. Due to this isolated nature, Nathan feels socially out of touch with his girlfriend, his parents, and even society. The only person he confronts face-to-face in the film is most likely a ghost (Abigail), although it is not clear why she is a ghost. She is shown in past news footage, so either she was a real living person at one time or she is a figment of Nathan’s imagination. The audience is left to draw its own conclusion about Nathan’s mental state, but his character seems to be an archivist solely to portray the elements of isolation and mystery that the filmmakers strive for.

Aldred, Burr and Park’s study defines an archivist “as a person, male or female, who works within a variety of institutions, deals with records in any format, at any point in their life cycle” (2008, p. 68). Main character Nathan Mathers is an archivist for a TV station (which is a type of a commercial or private institution). He works with old PAL videocassettes in an isolated room in the building’s basement, which is a stereotypical location for archives. His main task is cataloging the videocassettes by indexing tags of each tape’s content. When talking to Abigail, Nathan says, “I ingested one of your videos yesterday.” He says this to acknowledge that he recognizes her even though they have not met before. The film’s screenwriter appropriately uses the industry term “ingest,” which in general means to absorb the information or data from the archival record into computer software.

In addition to the stereotype of locating the archives in an isolated place like a basement, there are other stereotypes employed in this film. Nathan embodies many of the physical stereotypes of an archivist as mentioned in Aldred, Burr, and Park’s study (2008): he is male, has short hair, dresses conservatively (white shirt, dark pants, and a tie), and performs technical tasks. He only veers from the path of a stereotypical archivist because he is a main character (as opposed to a minor character) and he does not wear glasses.

He also embodies the stereotype of an employee with low status. He is “non-aggressive, mild and quiet” (Schmuland, 1999, p. 39) in his one physical altercation with Abigail (in which he tries to save a tape that she is determined to destroy). Also, the location of his work room in a basement is representative of his “lack of status” at the organization (p. 43). In fact, this work area is symbolic of “death and [a] tomb” (p. 44), which foreshadows the urgency of Nathan realizing he must leave this job because it (or its ghostly inhabitant) might literally kill him.

There are some echoes of realism in the film. In the introduction to Levy and Roble’s report for the Society of American Archivists, archivists are noted as “suffer[ing] from the belief that somehow they don’t deserve more” (1984, p. 3). This is a real problem in the archival world and in Nathan’s world. He has little self-worth and feels that he is only good enough for a lowly position at the television station. When asked by his girlfriend to quit his job or even just get away to meet with her, he makes excuses to avoid any contact outside the office. Uncomfortably settled into his job, Nathan realizes it is no longer a healthy environment for him. He tells his girlfriend Alice he is nervous about applying for other jobs because of the responsibility it might have and that he is “not used to it.” He makes an excuse that he cannot leave because his contract at the station does not end for another year.

There are other common themes in popular cultural portrayals of archivists. Buckley (2008) discusses the archivist as guardian or protector of the truth (p. 103). Nathan is the protector of the videocassettes, and he has to protect one from Abigail, who wants all copies of a particular newscast destroyed. Buckley also mentions the common occurrence of the truth being kept “from those desperately seeking it” (p. 104). Nathan is trying to discover a truth about his own self by viewing the station’s tapes, many of which he appears in (perhaps unknowingly, perhaps not—it is part of the mystery).

The search for self is another theme in Buckley’s article. Nathan is viewing these news tapes and recalling moments of his past in the outside world. He has phone conversations with his girlfriend and strange in-person conversations with the Abigail the reporter. He is desperately seeking to restore his identity before it can no longer be recovered (much like an archivist works to preserve records). A third theme of Buckley’s is closed spaces as “sites of surveillance” (p. 106). Similarly, Ketelaar states that “archives are places of surveillance” (2002, p. 237). The theme of surveillance is present in The Archivist. Abigail gives Nathan a video to watch, which ends up being footage secretly taken of him working in the archives. Even the news clips he appears in are a form of surveillance because they are capturing moments of his life he did not realize were being recorded.

The mysterious nature of these news clips adds to the film’s dream-like quality because the audience is never quite clear what is real and what is not. Other dream-like qualities include the repetition of certain sounds (which often cut out other sounds) and an abstract sense of time. Abigail tells Nathan he has been there weeks, implying he has not physically left the facility in a long time. He is shown sleeping on the job, then waking abruptly and acting surprised that he missed a date with Alice. Whenever he leaves the video room or its adjacent break room, the camera cuts away and the scene ends. Viewers never sees Nathan outside of his basement surroundings.

It is also not clear how much time is passing because he wears the same outfit throughout the film and sports a couple days’ growth of a beard on his face, which also does not change. Abigail, who appears twice on seemingly different days, wears the same clothes, as well. Another element of the dream-like nature is that telephone conversations between Nathan and Alice are often garbled or end abruptly, symbolizing their lack of effective and frequent communication. When they do speak, she mentions that he sounds “so cold on the phone.”

Nathan’s portrayal of an archivist is not a positive image since it embodies the stereotype of a socially awkward loner who works in an isolated basement with outdated equipment. However, this film is more about an isolated man entrapped by his job and intimidated by a mysterious co-worker. The filmmakers perhaps thought this was an ideal professional for Nathan’s character. They probably came to that conclusion because of existing stereotypes, but they seem driven by a sense of mystery and wanting to paint a dream-like picture.

The director chose not to show other typical aspects of an archivist’s job, such as acquiring materials or helping others. Nathan does not conduct any administrative work at all, such as these common tasks mentioned in Aldred, Burr, and Park’s study (2008, p.76): reference, research, acquisitions, or outreach. His profession could be any job that requires an individual to work in an isolated area (closed off from the outside world) that could potentially affect their mental well-being.

Unfortunately for archivists, this portrayal is just another stereotype that makes their work seem mysterious and unappealing to the larger population. While the portrayal is unique in the sense that the main character is an audio/visual archivist instead of one surrounded by dusty books and paper, it is still representative of known stereotypes. What does this mean to archivists? It means that while fictional archives and archivists might make for entertaining examples of popular culture, archivists must strongly advocate to wider audiences to teach society who they really are and what they actually do. There are many truths to reveal about the profession that can be accomplished in just as many entertaining ways as the stereotypical examples if only writers, filmmakers, and others would take the time to learn what those truths are. Accurate portrayals of archives and archivists would help bring much needed credibility to the profession.

 

References

Aldred, T., Burr, G., & Park, E. (2008 Fall). Crossing a librarian with a historian: The image of reel archivists. Archivaria, 66, 57-93.

Brook, P. O. (Producer/Director), & Topp, J. (Co-Producer). (2015). The archivist. [Motion picture]. United Kingdom: POB Productions. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7jjEpNpfrg

Buckley, K. (2008, Fall). “The truth is in the red files”: An overview of archives in popular culture. Archivaria, 66, 95-123.

Ketelaar, E. (2002). Archival temples, archival prisons: Modes of power and protection. Archival Science, 2, 221-238.

Levy, S.J. & Robes, A.G. (1984 December). The image of archivists: Resource allocators’ perceptions. Society of American Archivists. Retrieved from http://files.archivists.org/governance/reports/Image-of-Archivists-Levy1984.pdf

Schmuland, A. (1999 Spring). The archival image in fiction: An analysis and annotated bibliography. The American Archivist, 62, 24-75.

Archivists to the Rescue!

Deb Schiff
Archivist
2017-2018 Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of SAA Lone Arrangers
debra.schiff@gmail.com

Volunteer members of the SAA Lone Arrangers; Reference, Access and Outreach; and Issues and Advocacy Sections are working on a pilot project, Archivists to the Rescue! This initiative aims to bring low- and no-cost basic archival training workshops to non-professional archivists and cultural heritage professionals who cannot afford typical professional development courses and/or the transportation costs required to travel outside of their areas for similar workshops. This effort will strive to help small organizations and local communities preserve and make accessible their archival records that are hidden due to a lack of access to information on preservation and archival practices, as well as increase the awareness of the profession and the Society of American Archivists, and promote a more inclusive profession.

The pilot program will comprise a series of workshops covering the essentials of preservation, archival processing, arrangement, description, digital archives (handling born-digital materials and digitizing materials), and identifying and caring for photographs. Archivists to the Rescue! Will partner with affiliated cultural heritage organizations and other sister SAA Sections to roll out the pilot to religious archives and small historical organizations in New Jersey.

The Lone Arrangers will update members about the pilot progress in the coming months, and are thrilled to develop a practical means of reaching more and more communities.

Archivists to the Rescue!

Seeking Lone Arranger Representatives

Deb Schiff
Archivist
2017-2018 Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of SAA Lone Arrangers
debra.schiff@gmail.com

After the recent annual SAA meeting, our Chair Julia Corrin sent out a message entailing our goals for the next 3 years.

One of the points mentioned was the effort to make more local Lone Arrangers events happen. To that end, we’re asking YOU if you’d like to represent your locality as the Lone Arranger Representative. New York has been claimed by SOLO editor, Ashley Levine, and New Jersey, by Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of SAA Lone Arrangers Section, Deb Schiff.

Which area will you claim? Maybe you’ll claim the Los Angeles area, or the greater Minneapolis area, or Rhode Island?

Here’s a general idea of what you could be doing (you might decide to add other things, in which case, we encourage the sharing of ideas here so that your efforts can be used as a model and we can praise and promote you publicly and often, because you’re awesome):

1. Be your locality’s archives evangelist and advocate with the official title of Lone Arranger (name of your locality here) Representative.
2. Plan and carry out Lone Arranger meet ups.
3. Develop/implement/host continuing education workshops (e.g., preservation, processing 101, etc.) for new and/or student colleagues.
4. Hold fundraisers for above workshops.
5. Communicate regularly with the list serv and our FB page about your local activities.
6. Work collaboratively with other local archives, libraries, historical societies, museums, and other organizations to accomplish collective goals (digitization projects, disaster preparedness, and so much more).
7. Your great ideas here!

You have our encouragement, support, and help with these efforts. Let’s make Lone Arrangers to the Rescue! a rallying cry for archivists around the country! Please be in touch with Deb Schiff, or Ashley Levine to become a Lone Arranger Representative!

SAA Signs on to Letter Regarding Recent DHS System of Records Notice

SAA has signed on to a letter, written by the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), to Acting Privacy Chief Officer Jonathan Cantor expressing “concerns with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) System of Records Notice…stating that DHS will now store social media information in ‘Alien Files’ (A-Files), which include the official record of an individual’s visa and immigration history.” This “raises concerns that the collection, retention, use, and sharing of social media information will (1) invade the privacy of immigrants and U.S. citizens alike; (2) chill freedom of speech and association; (3) invite abuse in exchange for little security benefit; and (4) establish a system that treats naturalized citizens as second-class citizens.”