Capital Area Archivist Unconference

Where: Standish Room, 3rd floor of Science Library, University at Albany, SUNY
When: February 24, 2020 1 to 5pm
Cost: Free (visitor parking is $5 for the day) 

Link to Schedule:

Register here:

Deadline for registration: February 13.

CAA Spring Unconference Announcement

The Capital Area Archivists announces the first ever 2020 Spring Un-Conference! An unconference is an open, low-barrier meeting where archivists from the capital area (and beyond) of all skill levels come together to share and learn. Instead of a formal panels and talks that require lots of prep time, an unconference is a collaborative event where we can share and learn together! Sessions are typically informal and all participants are expected to talk and contribute in each session. The CAA Spring 2020 unconference is free to attend and open to anyone interested in archives and special collections.

Some sessions will be gathered ahead of time with proposals posted on the CAA website before the unconference. Participants are also welcome to come and propose sessions on the spot! We will set our agenda together at the start of the Unconference.

What should I propose?

  • A group discussion of a challenging archives problem or issue in the profession
  • An overview and discussion of a successful practice or policy
  • A comparison of practices across different repositories
  • A session where participants work together to solve a problem.

Topics might include:

  • Processing
  • Outreach and community engagement
  • Digital tools
  • Records management 
  • Reformatting and digitization
  • Finding a job

Submit a session here:

Do you have knowledge or skills that you would be willing to share?

Anyone is encouraged to submit a session, and it can be as formal or informal as you would like, just be prepared to facilitate your session. Sessions can be led by individuals or groups.

Sessions will be 1 hour long. The proposer will facilitate the session, but participants are expected to contribute.

Key characteristics of the CAA 2020 Un-conference:

  • Collaborative: Everyone participates in setting tasks and agendas.
  • Informal: No formal proposals, papers, or panels
  • Spontaneous: Agendas, schedule, and program are created by the participants during the first session.
  • Productive: Session time is used to create, build, define, and solve problems.
  • Small: Under 75 people

Graduate students, early professionals, and experienced archivists are all welcome.

Questions? Please feel free to contact organizers:

Gregory Wiedeman or 518-437-3936
Jenifer Monger or 518-276-8323
John Deifenderfer or 518-474-3229
Mark Wolfe: or 518-437-3934

Draft list of session and discussion topics

Critical Images: Altering the Past

Sheri Sarnoff

Recently, the National Archives altered an image from the 2017 Women’s March, by blurring out parts of signs that contained messages that were about women’s anatomy and that were critical of the President. This roundtable discussion invites archivists to discuss how the National Archives should handle critical images. Discussion will also include how archivists should choose promotional images, if politics have a role in choosing images for exhibits, and how archivists can use sources to tell stories of the past, without making altercations.

Capital Region Alliance for Response (CapNYAFR)

John Diefenderfer

CapNYAFR works to build strong partnerships between cultural stewards and first responders to help ensure the protection of our valued collections. Our goal is to improve disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts to minimize loss and damage due to disasters. AFR does this through advocacy, education, networking, and real-time emergency assistance. Attendees will learn about the work of the AFR and provide feedback on how the CapNYAFR can better meet the needs of cultural stewards in the Capital Region.

How do we do that? Implementing Web Systems in Archives

Gregory Wiedeman & Mark Wolfe

Over the past few years, UAlbany has implemented ArchivesSpace, ArcLight, Hyrax, and a number of other smaller systems. We’ll do a quick demo of how these systems work and overview the choices we made, what is working really well, and what is still a challenge. Then, for most of the session, we’ll have a structured discussion on the role of web systems in archives, the challenges in implementing them, the support needed and finally discuss strategies for communicating needs to stakeholders.

I was told there would be no Public Speaking: Outreach and Archives

Michael Maloney

Whether it’s running a behind-the-scenes tour, giving a presentation, or staffing a booth at an event, outreach can be intimidating! It is also important for increasing the visibility of your organization and decreasing the number of times you hear “I didn’t even know you existed.” Join this session for an informal roundtable discussion on outreach that will be useful to both new and seasoned archivists. The discussion will center around what worked, what hasn’t, digital outreach, and other tips for engaging your community.