Call for Submissions: Unpaid Internship (March 2019) Edition: Deadline 3/15

Unpaid internships typify the archives profession, and are often required for the completion of graduate level degrees. Archivists, librarians, and museum professionals are increasingly challenging this paradigm, while highlighting the barriers to entering these professions (e.g. high costs of tuition paired with the necessity of taking on multiple jobs during grad school, etc.).

In our upcoming (March) edition, we are accepting submissions (1000 word max) on impressions of unpaid internships (both positive and negative), based on your professional and educational experiences. Did you find your unpaid internships particularly valuable for your professional goals? Or more of a burden? As a Lone Arranger, how do you view unpaid internships in the context of working with limited staff/resources?

We will be accepting submissions at until 3/15.

I’m grateful for the kind consideration.

Best wishes,

Ashley Levine
Editor, SOLO

Archivists to the Rescue! More Updates and Call for New Web Manager.

Deb Schiff
Chair, SAA Lone Arrangers Section

SAA Archivists to the Rescue Project, Pilot Portion in New Jersey, October Update

Before I launch into the much-anticipated update since our Section meeting in August, I’d like to put out a call for a new Web Manager for the Section. If you’re interested in serving, please let me know. Also, we’re still on the lookout for Local Lone Arranger Representatives: Please let us know if that’s a way that you’d like to serve your local community and Lone Arrangers at large.

Project Update

Just as a refresher, the SAA Archivists to the Rescue! pilot project’s charge is to bring low- and no-cost basic archives workshops to non-professional archivists with the aim of teaching them how to care for their collections, organize them, and make them accessible to researchers. The workshops are well underway, and, as of this writing, four sites have already completed: Trenton (New Jersey State Library), Plainfield (Plainfield Public Library), Atlantic City (Atlantic City Free Public Library), and Chester (Chester Public Library). Co-sponsor University Products supplied to each participant (10 per site) the following items: archival paper and folders, 2 legal-sized document cases, polyester photo sleeves, and a 15% discount for the year of the pilot project. We also received small spatulas for staple removal. We are grateful for their generous support.

Our hosts also were generous. Big thank yous go out to Deborah Mercer and her team at the New Jersey State Library; Laura Poll, Trenton Free Public Library; Sarah Hull, Mary Ellen Rogan, and the IT team at Plainfield Public Library; Stockton University’s Heather Perez and Atlantic City Free Public Library Director Bob Rynkiewicz; and Lesley Karczewski, Chester Public Library Director. We also had co-sponsorship (in terms of refreshments) by the Historical Society of Plainfield and several members of the Atlantic City cohort, as well as the Chester Historical Society.

The presenters for the workshop sites were Gary Saretzky (Monmouth County Archive), Paul Martinez (Montclair State University), Tara Maharjan (Rutgers University), Heather Perez (Stockton University), Ashley Levine (Artifex Press, NY), Annamarie Klose Hrubes (William Paterson University), Alex Plante (Hudson County Community College), Russ Gasero (Archives of the Reformed Church in America), Annie Tummino (Queens College, CUNY), and me (Chester Library).

Along the way, we have been collected data from pre- and post-workshop assessments for each workshop, as well as feedback from the instructors. We also have been recording video interviews with the participants, and email notes on the workshops from everyone involved. Project team member Michelle Ganz (McDonough Innovation, VA) has entered data from the first two workshops, and from the third workshop forward, the instructors will be entering the pre- and post-workshop assessments collected from their participants into Google Forms. We will be analyzing the data after verifying it.

One more set of workshops remain, and will be located at the Dana Library at Rutgers Newark (early November). That set will be co-sponsored by the Institute of Jazz Studies. Special thanks to Elizabeth Surles for her help. After all of the workshops have been completed, we will enjoy a potluck gathering at Gary Saretzky’s home.

In early October, we submitted a report to Council with an update on the project, as well as plans moving forward. We’ll be sharing the new directions moving forward in an update to the list serv soon.

Pin Fundraiser

For those of you following along, we sold all 50 pins at SAA the first day of the conference, raising $760. The funds have been paying the transportation costs of the workshop instructors. Thanks to all who supported the project by purchasing a pin.




Lone Arrangers Local Representatives Map

SOLO is proud to announce our first Lone Arrangers Local Representatives in an interactive Google map! Each point on the map will reveal the local representative, as well as their pertinent contact info. We will update the map as we receive more volunteers to serve. Please check out who your local rep is, and please consider volunteering if your locale remains unrepresented! Let’s continue to bolster our lone arranger network!

Best regards,

Ashley Levine
Editor, SOLO

From the Listserv: Digitization from Scratch

Ashley Levine
Archivist/Digital Resource Manager
Artifex Press
Editor, SOLO

Dear Collective Wisdom,

The Lone Arranger Section listerv brought us another lively discussion this past spring, when a member of our community asked about digitizing his institution’s archives, from square one:

My predecessor, also a member of my community, has asked me a couple of times if I am going to put our paper holdings in a digital format. Has anyone ever attempted this? I shudder when I think of the man hours involved in such a project.

I was admittedly taken aback by the general nature of the question. How can such a complex topic be unpacked within the confines of an email list? I was pleasantly surprised, however, with the immediate and robust responses from fellow lone arrangers. The majority of respondents stressed the importance of realizing that digitization is a multilayered, as opposed to “one and done” process, and that stakeholders should be aware of the complexity of creating reliable, stable, and accessible digital records. We concluded that digitization transcends simply scanning a document—it involves metadata collection, longterm file storage and preservation, adequate IT infrastructure, (sometimes) full text rendering via OCR, etc. Just because something is scanned doesn’t make it automatically accessible. In general, the lone arranger community agreed on some basic questions to ask before beginning the digitization process:

  1. What types of materials will be digitized?
  2. What kind of scanner will be employed, and will the machine suffice for the materials selected for digitization?
  3. What kind of metadata is available, and how will this metadata be captured?
  4. Where are will the digital files be stored? What kind of IT infrastructure is available for storage? Does this involve the use of external hard drives, local servers, cloud storage, etc.?
  5. What digital preservation measures will be employed, to protect against file degradation and obsolescence?
  6. Why are the materials being digitized in the first place? What are the stakeholder’s expectations for the digitization project?
  7. Will the digital surrogates be made accessible to the broader public? How?
  8. Will the metadata and digital images be managed in a database, content management system, or digital asset management system? Will this require purchasing/developing additional software?
  9. Will text documents be made full-text searchable, and will OCR software need to be employed? What about handwritten documents? Does the archive have the resources for manual transcription?
  10. Are there adequate resources to digitize in-house, or will the project be outsourced? Have assessments of external vendors for quality and cost been accomplished?

Have we missed anything important on this list? Are there lone arrangers out there who have embarked on a digitization project from square one? Please share your insights and experiences by commenting below!


We are now the Lone Arrangers Section!

The SAA Council approved a plan in August 2016 to transition all sections and roundtables to “sections” in order to consolidate and better serve SAA’s member affinity groups. SAA Staff have updated all microsites, email discussion lists, and internal systems, so all roundtables are now “sections,” and past history and information can still be accessed as before. You can now find information and resources for our new Lone Arrangers Section here.