In an effort to make attendance at the upcoming Western Archivists Meeting more attainable to members, the Board of the Society of California Archivists has voted to allocate funding to support a one-time Western Archivist Meeting Scholarship. The scholarship is meant to support the attendance of an SCA member who would otherwise be unable to attend or who would face undue financial hardship as a result of doing so. The scholarship will cover registration fees, attendance at the luncheon, lodging at the conference hotel for up to three nights and reimbursement of up to $500 for meals and travel to San Francisco for one recipient. For more information and instructions on how to apply, please see the Awards Committee webpage.
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I was fortunate enough this past April to attend the SCA Conference in Long Beach, CA thanks to the Mink Scholarship. I was able to connect with new, interesting people in the field as well as visit with familiar faces. Some of the sessions I was able to attend have followed me as I have transitioned from student to new professional, having graduated with my Master’s in Library and Information Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in June and moved across the country for a two-year fellowship at North Carolina State University Libraries in July.
The how-to seminar “Anything is Better than Nothing: Minimum Viable Actions for Accessioning Born-Digital” and “There and Back Again: Web Archive Collection Development, Arrangement, and Access,” were both solid backdrops to understanding some of the processes of Special Collections at NC State University and how my department of Acquisitions and Discovery collaborates with them to archive architecture websites, for example.
The “Empowering Indigenous Communities Through Inclusion” session spoke to research that is important to me, considering ethics in digital workflows for Indigenous cultural heritage in libraries, archives, and museums. It was helpful as I finished and presented my final portfolio for my MLIS in May and inspired me to help host a roundtable at the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) Conference in Temecula, CA this past October.
The mini-workshop “Crafting Shareable Metadata: Good Practices for Better Discovery” has come in handy for a project in my current fellowship focusing on improving the user search experience by rethinking metadata’s role in connecting data silos, such as websites and catalogs. The research portion of this project is coming to a close and we hope to share what we learned at Code4Lib. Fingers crossed our proposal gets accepted!
I am so glad to have gone to the SCA Annual General Meeting, and hope to be able to attend more in the future. It was the perfect size and scope for a newcomer, with plenty of stimulation without being overwhelmed. Even though my first professional title doesn’t contain “archivist”, archival thinking has given me a valuable perspective as a librarian–one that has already allowed me to contribute in my current position by asking questions about metadata, preservation, and ethics.
Ashley Evans Bandy
NC State University Libraries
Read more from the Winter 2020 SCA Newsletter
Register now for the Western Archivists Meeting 2020. The early bird deadline is April 1. Learn more and register here.
California is my home state. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and have spent much of my adult life in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Over the years I have witnessed the growth and evolution of California from both ends of the state. While most changes have been positive others have proven challenging for residents, most notably the high cost of living found in our state that many Californians are struggling with today.
As a non-profit organization operating in California, SCA has not been immune to these rising costs and is beginning to feel the pressure of supporting the needs of an ever growing membership that currently stands at more than 500 strong. A core tenet of SCA has always been to provide members with high quality benefits at an affordable price. In line with this, the SCA Board has worked diligently over the past fifteen years to not increase membership dues, while providing low-cost workshops to members, financially supporting member initiated events, and keeping AGM registration rates as low as possible for attendees. However, with the considerable rise in costs over the past few years we are beginning to experience shortfalls in our annual operating budget. Increased costs associated with the AGM have resulted in significant losses over the past two years and with the high cost of meeting in San Francisco for the 2020 Western Archivists Meeting (WAM) we anticipate additional losses this year.
Discussions on how to stabilize the budget are currently underway by the Board as we look toward a solution to reverse this course. We are planning to conduct an assessment of services, with input from membership, later this year to see where adjustments can be made to increase revenue and lower operating costs. One of the main areas that we’ll be focusing on pertains to the high hotel, reception, and audiovisual costs associated with the AGM. Due to our organization’s size we are heavily reliant on large hotel chains as they typically are the only available option to accommodate our meeting space and hotel room needs. The Board is interested in exploring alternative, non-traditional solutions for the AGM in order to keep associated costs manageable for both the organization and its members. At this point we’re not sure which direction this will take us in, but we do recognize that the AGM might need to be drastically reconceived in order to gain the necessary cost savings.
The Board’s goal is to minimize the financial impact on members so that SCA remains an affordable professional association for archivists, librarians, and other allied professionals in the state of California. To be fully transparent, the Board is currently reviewing the cost of membership and exploring the idea of a modest increase to membership dues. Updates on this will be communicated to members as our discussions progress. I am confident that with some minor adjustments on a few fronts we can collectively ensure that SCA remains affordable and maintains a solid financial footing moving forward.
Eric Milenkiewicz, SCA President
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Society of California Archivists is a non-profit organization. c/o California State Archives, 1020 “O” Street, Sacramento, CA 95814