August 12-18th was the Society of American Archivist’s Annual Conference, held in Washington, D.C. This year, two William & Mary staff members presented at the conference: Christina Luers, CA, Archives Collections Specialist for Special Collections Research Center, and Jay Gaidmore, Director of Special Collections. Their sessions were among 73 presentations at this year’s conference that were selected from a record-setting 277 submitted proposals.
Christina Luers presented--along with Margaret Kidd, Access and Electronic Records Archivist at Virginia Commonwealth University; Jane LaBarbara, Assistant Curator at West Virginia University Libraries; and Adam Strohm, Director of University Archives and Special Collections at the Paul V. Gavin Library at Illinois Institute of Technology--in a pop up session titled, “The Messy Task of Database Migrations.” The pop-up was one of 5 sessions (out of 26 submitted) voted upon by the archival community and chosen to present. This panel followed a traditional presentation format, which focused on the transition from one archival database to another. Archival databases are online resources that provide access to institutions' finding aids. Each panelist represented a unique database migration experienced by their institution and gave tips for standardizing data, programming fixes, and lessons learned from their transition process. The presentation was followed by a robust question and answer session, as well as direction to online tips and tutorials that could serve to assist institutions with their own migration efforts.
Jay Gaidmore presented--along with Jennifer Betts, University Archivist and Assistant Director of the John Hay Library at Brown University; Holly Smith, College Archivist at Spelman College; and Tim Pyatt, Dean at Wake Forest University--in a Fish Bowl Presentation called “Race, Slavery, and the Rise of the Academy.” Their panel examined how many universities and colleges have explored the link between their growth and origins and the exploitation of enslaved African Americans and Native Americans. Each panelist gave a brief presentation on the history of their institution and talked about challenges and gaps in their archives that could document this relationship. Their "fishbowl" format was a conversational style setup that facilitated robust commentary and discussion of how archivists and the archival record can help to inform and examine this complex topic.