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Do You Know the Way to SCA? Celebrating 40 Years, 1971-2011

You're invited!  Join us for the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Society of California Archivists in San José, CA.

The theme of this conference, "Do You Know the Way to SCA? Celebrating 40 Years, 1971-2011," acknowledges both the unique characteristics of the venue where we will be meeting, as well as the 40th anniversary of the Society of California Archivists.  However, this meeting will also be one that takes a look at the past, present and future:  not only of SCA, but of the archival profession and the challenges that it faces.

San Jose is a fitting venue for such a meeting.  On the one hand, as the hub of the Silicon Valley, it is best known today as the home of such major high-tech corporations as Cisco Systems, Adobe, and e-Bay; with other well-known companies like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Facebook and Yahoo headquartered in neighboring cities.  The archival records of today and tomorrow are largely being created with the software and hardware, the products and applications, that were developed by these and other companies of this region.  The program for this year’s conference reflects the prevalence of digital media, with sessions on topics as varied as the preservation and care of digital photographs, the accessioning of large volumes of electronic records, the unique challenges inherent in processing digital records, and how to archive social networking media.  In addition, the Local Arrangements Committee has planned a special treat, by arranging to have the opening reception held at the newly refurbished Computer History Museum in Mountain View, where attendees can view the newly installed permanent exhibits that are already attracting international attention.

For archivists interested in the pre-digital era, however, San Jose also has much to offer.  Established as a Spanish pueblo in 1777, the history of the region--and its archival record--reflects a rich mosaic of traditions, ranging from the original Ohlone inhabitants of the region, to Mexican rancheros, Cornish miners, Italian owners of vineyards and orchards, and Japanese truck farmers, to name only a few.  Visitors can encounter these traditions in a number of nearby historic and cultural sites in and around the city.  Several sessions and events at this conference also look back at California’s earlier history, and include topics such as archivists who have taken on the role of historian in order to research the region’s history, collections that document the environmental history of the region, and a multi-institutional project to publicize and make available rich collections of historic ephemera in San Francisco.  The featured luncheon speakers will also reveal new and fascinating aspects of this area’s history, with Glenna Matthews sharing her findings about the roles of women workers in the region from the 1920s to the present, and John Boessenecker discussing his research on the 19th century outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez, who met his untimely end in San Jose in 1875.

A host of other archival topics and issues will be addressed as well, many of which will speak to the challenges that archivists currently face.  A workshop on grant writing, along with sessions on career strategies for new archivists and another on the issues faced by corporate archives when their parent companies merge will each speak to such current issues.  Archivists like to speak about their personal experiences as well, and two sessions will provide time for doing just that, as one session will look at the surprises that archivists often find in newly accessioned collections, while another will take a look back at the 40 years of SCA’s history, as seen through the experiences of archivists from various generations.  Last and certainly not least, the formal programming of the conference will open on Friday morning with a plenary talk by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, David Hoffman of the Washington Post, who will talk about the particular archival challenges he encountered while writing his award winning history of the Cold War arms race, The Dead Hand.

In short, there will be something for everybody at this conference.  We are glad that you have “found the way to San Jose,” and we hope that by the time you leave, you’ll be able to sing--along with Dionne Warwick--that you’ve “got lots of friends in San Jose.”

See you soon!

Brad Bauer, AGM Program Chair
Jenny Johnson, AGM Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chair
Sarah Wilson, AGM Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chair

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