After several years on SAA’s Council and also serving as an elected officer, I finally had the opportunity to attend more SAA sessions and events at the annual meeting in Austin, Texas than in previous years. I attended the SAA Research Forum where I heard presentations on the Virtual Footlocker Project (LSU) preserving memories of the military, Digital Curation Center Research projects at the University of Maryland, a BitCurator update, Curating the Digital Documentary (by ZSR’s Heather Barnes), and Conscious Editing of Archival Description (UNC-Chapel Hill). I connected with USC Special Collections who are working on assessing their instruction efforts, and we hope to collaborate on a research project.
Before our first plenary, I had the honor of introducing my friend and colleague Terry Baxter as a new SAA Fellow. I served on the SAA Committee to Select Fellows and the presentation of the new Fellows is always a happy event. I attended the Archives Leadership Institute annual dinner reunion now hosted by Purdue University. I attended the first year of ALI (2008) and later served on the Steering Committee (2013-2018) during the years it was hosted by Luther College and Berea College. I spent time in the Career Center giving advice and reviewing resumes, and also mentoring other archivists. I enjoy doing this kind of work, and I am glad I had more opportunities to meet with individual archivists.
I was one of 10 participants in the storytelling experience of A Finding Aid to My Soul. Many of the stories were poignant and sad as archivists shared stories from their past sponsored by the SAA Committee on Public Awareness. Mine was short and funny—I shared about a dream I had about being an archivist during the first year of my first job at the Alabama Dept. of Archives and History. The most exciting part of the evening was the event was emceed by a professional storyteller who I had heard on NPR, Micaela Blei. She also taught a free workshop (which I had to miss) but I hope she will be back next year.
Before attending the best SAA reception ever at Austin City Limits (ok, the 2004 visit to the Getty is a definite competitor), I was able to visit President Johnson’s Boyhood Home and his Texas White House, near Johnson City. All in all, it was a wonderful SAA which provided food for thought and networking opportunities.