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SCA AGM 2021

Session Descriptions


Plenary: Mark A. Matienzo The past year has been a profound challenge to everyone, including archivists and the communities they serve. We have struggled to respond and evolve across frequently turbulent connections between maintenance, innovation, and care, as well as increased demands from researchers and our own institutions to provide service. As always, we also experience amidst our own fears of relevance and being understood. In this talk, we will explore these interconnections, our tendency to be defensive, the potential threats facing archives from certain innovations, and our own continued collaborations as networks of care.
Mark A. Matienzo is an archivist, technologist, and ambient musician. Their work for Stanford University Libraries includes serving as the project lead for Lighting the Way, an IMLS National Forum Grant focused on improving archival discovery and delivery, and managing a portfolio of digital library discovery and access services and systems. Mark received a MSI from the University of Michigan School of Information and a BA in Philosophy from the College of Wooster, and was the 2012 recipient of the Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award from the Society of American Archivists. Mark resides on the unceded ancestral lands of the Duwamish People past and present, who are still actively working for federal recognition.
SCA at 50: A Golden Anniversary This year, the Society of California Archivists celebrates its 50th anniversary. Founded in order to provide archivists in the state with more accessible professional opportunities to supplement the offerings of the Society of American Archivists, SCA has become one of the most active, successful, and prominent of the state and regional organizations in the nation. In addition to presenting a rich schedule of seminars, workshops, and conferences each year, SCA has earned distinction by founding the Western Archives Institute, which attracts students from across the U.S., as well as from other nations. The James V. Mink Scholarships have enabled students and beginning archivists to attend SCA's conferences. With other regional archival organizations, SCA in 2005 launched the Western Roundup (now called the Western Archivists Meeting), which meets every five years. These and other initiatives have compelled archivists throughout the U.S. to look to the west. The stories of these accomplishments, along with thoughts about SCA's next fifty years, will make for a lively session.
Panelists: Larry Burgess (retired, A.K. Smiley Public Library), Lynn Bonfield (retired, San Francisco State University), Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil (retired, California State Archives), Michael Q. Hooks (retired, Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Jennifer Martinez Wormser (Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College), Ellen Jarosz (California State University, Northridge)
Together/Apart: CSU Archivists Documenting COVID-19 This session will highlight the various COVID-19 documentation projects being conducted across California by archivists from The California State University. Each presenter will briefly describe the documentation project underway at their respective campus and then transition into detailing a particularly interesting or unique aspect of their specific project. Participants will talk about how their CSU Community of Practice helped them learn and support each other through this rapidly changing event. Presentations will focus on the tools, processes, and workflows that have made their projects successful and that can be broadly applied to other types of documentation projects. Specific topics to be covered include project design, technical infrastructure design, digital collection building, acquisition policies/strategies, and campus collaborations/outreach to incorporate student perspectives.
Panelists: Eric Milenkiewicz (CSU San Bernardino), Amanda Lanthorne & Anna Culbertson (San Diego State University), Sean Visintainer & Ian Chan (CSU San Marcos), Azalea Camacho & Jamie Zeffery (CSU Los Angeles), Pamela Kruger & Zohra Saulat (Chico State University)
Unintended Consequences: Trauma-Related Archival Labor in Sensitive Collections In the course of a century, theoretical thinking about the role of the archivist evolved from that of passive objective guardian of records to activist agent in the service of social justice and human rights. The shift towards activism inherently requires archivists to increase their level of exposure and engagement with sensitive collections which contain what are called aversive materials including records of state sponsored terrorism, forced family separations or other abuses of power. The pivot towards archival activism dovetails with the growing acceptance of the archive as a site of emotion and affect. Indeed the very nature of contemporary archival practices elicits an unavoidable emotional response from the practitioner working in sensitive collections, putting archivists at risk of trauma or stressor-related disorders. Such serious mental health outcomes could be the unintended consequence of embracing important archival activism, yet to date the American archival community has been slow to address this risk. The proposed panel session elucidates the potential risks of trauma and stress-related illness to archival workers when working with adverse archival materials.
Trigger Warning: This panel will discuss topics related to sensitive archival materials and instances of trauma in the archives that are potentially disturbing or distressing. By putting on this program, we hope to provide a safe, open, and compassionate discussion of trauma-related archival labor. This session will not be recorded, and we ask that attendees don't record or photograph the panelists or attendees. A list of resources will be provided at the end of the discussion for those who would like to seek additional support.
Panelists: Katherine Schlesinger (MLIS student, University of Arizona, Tucson), Isaac Fellman (GLBT Historical Society, San Francisco), Joseph Quintana (United American Indian Involvement), Katie Sloan (Government of British Columbia), Genevieve Weber (Royal British Columbia Museum)
SCA History video "vignettes" A series of short videos that celebrate SCA's 50th anniversary.  Check out some of the major accomplishments as well as the leadership from bygone years. Chuckle at the hair and clothing styles from the past!  Watch for a few candid shots of archivists in their natural habitats.
Join us in a trivia question contest by watching the sequence of five anniversary videos and answer the questions to win a special SCA 50th Anniversary Tote Bag! Click here to preview or answer questions: SCA 50th Anniversary Trivia Questions
“Brown Bag” Lunch: SCA Ethics & Inclusion Committee "Code of Conduct" update The Ethics & Inclusion Committee works to promote and develop a culture that values diversity, inclusion and ethical behavior within SCA. The Committee coordinates communication to the SCA membership to publicize the Code of Conduct and orient membership and participants to the importance of the values in SCA programs. The Committee monitors professional trends and developments in code of conduct, ethics and values programs and oversees the SCA Code of Conduct review and Program under the direction of the Board. At this brown bag session, members of the Ethics & Inclusion Committee will discuss their work on the revised Code of Conduct.
Presenters: Stefani Baldivia (CSU Chico), Penny Neder-Muro (Caltech), and Jennifer Ho (CSU San Marcos)
Challenges and Solutions to Indigenous Representation and Silences in the Memory Institutions of Santa Clara University Our session will address the ways in which Santa Clara University's Archives & Special Collection department and the University's de Saisset Museum are working to address the silences, erasure, and elision of Native American lives and voices in the archives and museum fields based on their particular experiences and initiatives.
Panelists: Erin Louthen, Kelci Baughman McDowell, Lauren Baines (Santa Clara University)
Reach Out for Diversity and Inclusion This panel will showcase outreach projects that highlight or support diversity and inclusion initiatives at three different types of archives: corporate, museum, and university. In 15-minute presentations, the panelists will discuss how they integrate the principles of diversity and inclusion into efforts to engage various communities, bring archival materials to broader audiences, or increase the diversity of archival collections. Discussion topics include leveraging archival data to tell underrepresented histories, tailoring outreach strategies for different audiences, gaining institutional support for outreach projects, and how to handle sensitive topics.
Panelists: Jill Breznican (Walt Disney Animation Research Library), Jessica Gengler (Fort Collins Museum of Discovery), Anne-Marie Maxwell (USC Libraries)
Shades of L.A. Turns 30: a Look Back at a Landmark Archival Inclusion Project In 1991, the Los Angeles Public Library launched the landmark Shades of L.A., a project aimed at increasing cultural representation in the library's image archive. Under the leadership of Senior Librarian Carolyn Kozo Cole and consultant Kathy Kobayashi, staff and volunteers were dispatched around the city for "photo days" where community members were invited to have copies of their family photos added to the library's collection. During this session, Christina Rice who succeeded Carolyn Cole as the Senior Librarian of the library's Photo Collection, will revisit the popular project on its 30th anniversary with an overview of its implementation, success, and influence on the profession. She will also explore the challenges of bearing responsibility for family photos collected on the cusp of the age of digital information and how the completed project continues to evolve in its online form.
Presenter: Christina Rice (Los Angeles Public Library)


Beyond Theory: Practices for Social Change in Archives & Special Collections Instituting social justice practices in archives requires an explicit and multifaceted commitment to community engagement, re-orientation of practices, policies and power dynamics as well as developing strategies for their long-term sustainability and growth. Community-based archives have been leaders in this work and translating the practices of community spaces to institutional settings can be challenging due to a range of inherent institutional barriers that make creating and sustaining change difficult. This session will focus on strategies for and examples of infusing archival practice with social justice principles. Presenters will describe their work in both community-based settings and academic institutions, and how they approach prioritizing the needs of marginalized communities and amplifying subjugated voices through everyday practices of acquisition, description, access, internships, and exhibit curation. Rather than presenting social justice as something that happens episodically, we hope to leave attendees with ideas for how to approach all of their archival work as activists for social change.
Panelists: Carli Lowe (San José State University), Nathaniel Moore (University of California, Berkeley/ The Freedom Archives), Tamara Rhodes (University of California, San Diego)
Reactive vs. Proactive Archival Praxis in a Pandemic: A Case Study of (Re)Defining and Defending Archival Work and Workers as Essential in Academic Repositories During Corona Amidst the panic for our safety and well-being during a global health crisis is another level of panic altogether: am I “essential”? Defining our roles as necessary in our society is nothing new within the archival field, but the Covid-19 outbreak poses new obstacles to archival professionals and paraprofessionals forced to prove their validity both within the workplace and within our communities. Through a lively discussion of how the pandemic ultimately reshaped our department’s policies, appraisal practices, and community outreach, we examine how we define productivity as archival processors, or, more appropriately, how our institution defines it for us. We discuss the evolving dynamics within the institutional hierarchy that highlight the dissonance between “professional” and “not a professional” and how those definitions of archival workers specific to our institution inevitably inform our role as “essential” or not to campus library operations.
Presenters: Calli Force, Leland Riddlesperger (University of California, Santa Barbara)
SCA Awards Ceremony Join us and help recognize the great work and dedication of your colleagues, and meet the graduate student recipients of the James V. Mink Scholarships for 2020 and 2021!
The Awards Committee will be presenting awards for Career Achievement, Sustained Service, and a special award, as well as recognizing the exceptional work of a California organization with an Archives Appreciation Award.
This session will not be recorded, so please join live and don’t miss out! Bring your own festive libation!
Two Digital Access Projects:
Requests to Collections: Digitization Workflows that Expand Access to SCU’s Multicultural and Student Activism History Santa Clara University Archives & Special Collections has had an increase in reference and instruction requests regarding the history of student cultural organizations and student activism in response to racial justice issues. To meet these demands, SCU A&SC created two new digital resources--The Multicultural Center and Student Cultural Organizations at SCU digital collection and the BIPOC Student Archival Resources research guide. Through these resources, we’re highlighting our rich history of cultural organizations and student activism while meeting our community’s needs by directly connecting researchers to materials, providing the bedrock for online instruction opportunities that encourage critical thinking (particularly in our Ethnic Studies and Education departments), and connecting current students with struggles and successes of past students. Materials were sourced through our scan-on-demand reference services and instruction requests--the more requests, the more we were able to prioritize this work. In this session, attendees will learn about SCU A&SC’s digitization workflow, how these resources were constructed and how they meet the needs of our community, and tips on instituting a similar workflow at their own institution.
Presenter: Summer Shetenhelm (Santa Clara University)
Archiving Dance: Successes and Challenges in the Dance Heritage Video Archive With the support of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, the University of Southern California Digital Library and the USC Kaufman School of Dance have embarked on a project called the Dance Heritage Video Archive (DHVA) to provide a home for culturally diverse and significant dance performances in the USC Digital Repository and provide free online public access through the USC Digital Library. The project involves soliciting and digitizing videos on obsolete formats from reputable and established Southern California artists and choreographers that represent the diverse landscape of global dance traditions found in this region of the world in order to give them exposure to new audiences. During this lightning talk, the author will discuss the successes and failures of the development of this dance project. Specifically, the author will address issues that were faced pertaining to preservation, copyright, outreach, and metadata. The author will outline the current progress and future goals for the duration of the granting period.
Presenter: Javier Sepulveda Garibay (University of Southern California)
Seeing What Condition My Condition is in: Preparing At-Risk collections for Digitization and Movement Archivists and restoration specialists that work with multiple collections and diverse groups of materials often face challenges with materials that require significant preparation, and even restoration prior to digitization. Challenges can emerge when collection material condition is at peril or extremely degraded. Material/media age, format, storage environment, and handling can create different levels of risk. For media and born digital items, machine obsolescence is also a significant consideration when restoring access or digitizing. Our archival and preservation team works closely with many types of organizations. Our work bridges the divide that can exist between cultural heritage archives and entertainment and studio content. Capabilities that have been developed to preserve and restore commercial content are also highly relevant to traditional archives. Likewise, collection handling and material preparation strategies implemented in traditional archival environments have application in marketplace content. We discuss strategies and cutting-edge restoration capabilities that are being used to preserve content and media.
Panelists: Britt Mueller, Kelly Pribble (Iron Mountain Library Services)


How Cultural Competency Promotes Diversity and Inclusion in Your Archives Cultural Competency is the ability to function with awareness, knowledge, and interpersonal skills when engaging people of different backgrounds, assumptions, beliefs, values, and behaviors. Adopting its precepts can facilitate a more diverse and inclusive archives within workforces, patrons, and collections. Adopted as a new domain by the Academy of Certified Archivists this presentation outlines the framework of cultural competency and strategies to employ them in your institution. Based on the recently revised SAA workshop.
Presenter: Helen Wong Smith (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
Paying Interns for Community Archives Work: The UCLA Community Archives/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Internship Program MLIS students need paid opportunities to put the classroom skills they learn into practice. Community archives can benefit from these skills, but lack the resources to pay MLIS students due to underfunding. Addressing this gap, the UCLA Community Archives/Andrew Mellon Foundation Internship Program provides paid internships to 24 MLIS students at community archives in Southern California. The students engage in vital archival work—processing, digitizing, and exhibiting—the histories of marginalized communities. Convening perspectives on the program, this panel addresses fiscal precarity, contingent labor, and student skills acquisition as related to community archives. UCLA Community Archives Lab’s Michelle Caswell and Oraison Larmon will present empirical data on the impact of this internship program on participating students and sites. They will be joined by Clancey Cornell and Henry Apodaca from the Skid Row History Museum & Archives—a community archives participating in the program. Clancey will discuss how working with an MLIS intern with archival training impacted her archives. Henry will reflect on how the program advanced his media archival skills, positioning him to secure employment following the internship.
Panelists: Oraison H. Larmon, Dr. Michelle Caswell (University of California, Los Angeles); Clancey Cornell, Henry Apodaca (Skid Row History Museum & Archives)
SCA History video "vignettes" A series of short videos that celebrate SCA's 50th anniversary. Check out some of the major accomplishments as well as the leadership from bygone years. Chuckle at the hair and clothing styles from the past! Watch for a few candid shots of archivists in their natural habitats.
Join us in a trivia question contest by watching the sequence of five anniversary videos and answer the questions to win a special SCA 50th Anniversary Tote Bag! Click here to preview or answer questions: SCA 50th Anniversary Trivia Questions
“Brown Bag” Lunch: OAC/Calisphere Contributor Meeting + "Building a National Finding Aid Network": project update Are you a current contributor to the Online Archive of California (OAC) or Calisphere? Are you thinking about becoming a new member? Join us to meet fellow contributors, ask questions of program staff, and learn more about new developments with the services. This Brown Bag will also include an update on "Building a National Finding Aid Network," a two-year (2020-2022) IMLS-funded research and demonstration project. The project is coordinated by CDL in collaboration with Chain Bridge Group, OCLC, Shift Collective, and University of Virginia Library -- and the project activities are being undertaken in close partnership with regional aggregators and LYRASIS (ArchivesSpace). The project is rooted in the goal of providing inclusive, comprehensive, and persistent access to finding aids by laying the foundation for a network available to all contributors and researchers. The presentation will provide an update on concurrent work streams.
Presenters: Christine Kim, Adrian Turner (California Digital Library)


Archival Attrition: Endangered and Disappearing Collections Why do archives disappear? What happened to them? How can we work together to lower the attrition rate of community and individual collections? This session examines life cycles of archival collections focusing on at-risk community and individual collections through data trends, historical background, and exploration of the current archival landscape. The session will convey findings from an audit of the LA as Subject member directory compared to the original print directory of "Less-Visible Archives and Collections in the Los Angeles Region" published in 1999 including the discovery that many original members no longer exist. The session will also examine Catholic women religious archives in California, including a discussion on the historical significance of these collections and the challenging issues and concerns affecting their future preservation and access. The final presentation will discuss initiatives begun and/or supported by the California State Library that help support efforts to preserve at-risk collections, including the California Cultural Collections Protection Survey, which aims to create an inventory of California's cultural assets in order to inform policymakers of their value, importance and condition, and grant and support programs and projects developed by the Library Development Services Bureau, including California Revealed. This session hopes to draw attention to at-risk archives and open a discussion on ways to aid in archival survival and continuity.
Panelists: Stella Castillo (University of Southern California), Chris Doan (Archives of the Archdiocese San Francisco), Sue Tyson (California State Library)
Collecting Archival Materials During the Pandemic: Where Are We Now? One of our essential functions as archivists is to collect materials to preserve the historical record, but the early stages of the pandemic brought many challenges. In this session, LYRASIS will share results from its 2020 Collecting Archival Materials During the COVID-19 Pandemic Report, detailing how cultural heritage institutions across the country focused on collecting materials. The discussion will also help to identify other areas of need archivists faced during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, with guidance on how to address them. The speakers will continue to conduct research throughout Winter and Spring of 2021 using personal interviews to understand current challenges and creative solutions being employed by institutions. The conclusion of the session will feature a live poll of attendees to name additional obstacles the pandemic has raised for California archives, and to identify current institutional priorities. The poll will help seed discussion and help identify where new resources and guidelines are needed to aid the profession.
Panelists: Katy Klettlinger, Tom Clareson and Leigh Grinstead (LYRASIS)
Long-Distance Relationships: Creating and Managing Meaningful Archival Projects in Remote Settings What does work in the archives look like if students and staff members don’t actually visit the archives? Over the past year, many of us have sought answers to that question as we have reimagined meaningful experiential learning projects within our collections. In this session archivists, librarians, and interns at six institutions large and small will share creative approaches to supporting remote projects for student interns as well as library staff unfamiliar with archival work. They will discuss a variety of ideas, from rethinking projects originally meant to be completed on-site -- such as processing projects and exhibit curation -- to creating new “born remote” projects involving digital collections, research, and creative interventions. They will also examine the opportunities and obstacles of training and managing the work of staff and student employees from other library units who volunteered to assist in archives-related tasks. With input from attendees, the session will generate and compile a broad range of ideas related to identifying remote projects, managing work, and providing meaningful archival work experiences in a virtual setting. And in a post-pandemic future, repositories can implement these approaches to increase equity and access in experiential learning programs.
Panelists: Marlayna Christensen, Tori Maches, Kiera Sullivan (University of California, San Diego); Alix Norton, Jessica Pigza (University of California, Santa Cruz); Louis Knecht, Maura Wilson (Dominican University of California); Laura Sorvetti (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo); Michaela Ullmann (University of Southern California); Amalia Castañeda (LA Museum of Social Justice)
SCA History video "vignettes" A series of short videos that celebrate SCA's 50th anniversary. Check out some of the major accomplishments as well as the leadership from bygone years. Chuckle at the hair and clothing styles from the past! Watch for a few candid shots of archivists in their natural habitats.
Join us in a trivia question contest by watching the sequence of five anniversary videos and answer the questions to win a special SCA 50th Anniversary Tote Bag! Click here to preview or answer questions: SCA 50th Anniversary Trivia Questions
“Brown Bag” Lunch: SCA Labor Task Force Report The Society of California Archivists (SCA) Labor Task Force is a special committee charged with reviewing labor issues within the archival profession and suggesting ways in which SCA can better advocate for its membership. This brown bag session will summarize results from the task force’s pre-pandemic 2020 survey on labor issues in California archives as well as provide a space for open dialogue, particularly around new and exacerbated issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us to discuss the work of the task force, and help inform and influence priorities for best practices, advocacy, and board recommendations. All conference attendees are welcome.
Presenters: Courtney Dean (University of California, Los Angeles), George Thompson (CSU Chico), Erin Hurley (University of California, San Francisco)
Holistic Decision-Making Frameworks: Accountability, Transparency, and Communication Panelists in this traditional session will discuss holistic decision-making frameworks for collection management activities. They will share how to build accountability to their organizational mission and values in these frameworks, as well as transparency in decision-making and strategic thinking to achieve long-term goals. In particular, the panelists will focus on how they are thinking about and embedding principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in these decision-making frameworks. The panelists represent a variety of institutional perspectives with differing stakeholders, priorities, legacies, and processes in place, as well as a range of collection management functions, which includes prioritizing processing; strategic decision-making related to backlogs, reappraisal, and discovery; ethical and legal responsibilities towards contributors of metadata; and the creation of a DEI interest group to critically examine all areas of collection management.
Panelists: Maggie Hughes (The Huntington Library), Jasmine Jones (UCLA Library), Christine Kim (California Digital Library), Kate Dundon (University of California, Santa Cruz), Sarah Jones (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Cart Before the Horse: Planning for a New System As technologies continually evolve, the reality is most archivists will be taxed with implementing a new system several times in their career. While it’s easy to get caught up in the search for the perfect vendor and platform, what is often lost is the importance of assessing collections and preparing for the system. This session will cover the nuts and bolts of analyzing system needs, creating user stories, cleaning metadata, prioritizing collection phases, incorporating documentation, and prepping for migration. The panel will feature archivists and librarians from a variety of institutions, including corporate archives and non-profits, along with concrete examples to guide any implementation, big or small. In the Q&A section, participants will share insights on how working remotely during the pandemic has increased the need for collaboration among teams as well as user demand for greater digital access to collections.
Panelists: Joanne Lammers, Maria Magallanes (Capital Group Corporate Archives); Amy Rudersdorf (AVP); Taylor Morales (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library); Sharon Mizota (Metadata Consultant)
Doing the Work: Reparative Archival Description Initiatives in Public and Private Special Collections Libraries In the past few years, archivists have looked increasingly at their standards and practices through a critical, social justice lens. Many have now taken concrete steps to address and rectify issues of racism, distortion, erasure, and other bias in their existing archival description, as well as establish guidelines going forward. In this session, representatives from two large Southern California research institutions--UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) and Getty Research Institute (GRI)--will discuss their current reparative description projects. LSC embarked on a project to critically examine its current and historical description practices vis-à-vis a comprehensive description audit and a study group. The GRI formed a cross-departmental Anti-Racist Description Working Group in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020. The session will consist of three parts: first, panelist presentations about the challenges, benefits, and goals of their projects; second, panelist-facilitated breakout rooms for participants to discuss work that they and their institutions are doing or want to start; third, group reconvening for breakout room share-back and panelist Q&A.
Panelists: Grace Muñoz, Shira Peltzman (UCLA Library Special Collections); Helen Kim, Lauren McDaniel, Kit Messick (Getty Research Institute)
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