Sunday, April 6, 2014

2013 Archival Program Graduates Job Placement Survey - A Call for Participants

[Editor's Note: It has been an extremely busy eleven months since I last posted here at Archiving Matt. With that in mind, I cannot think of a better reason to revive this blog than to promote what I am hoping will be an important study for our profession. If you are interested in supporting a study exploring job placement for 2013 graduates from archival studies programs, I highly recommend that you read the following message. The message is also being distributed through various channels including the A&A and SNAP listservs, and if you are inclined please feel free to direct others to this post through your own networks. -Matt]

Greetings to all who are interested in job placement rates for our archival program graduates.

My name is Matt Francis and I am a researcher at Penn State University where I am studying job placement for 2013 graduates from graduate level academic programs with archival studies concentrations. Consequently, if you graduated from a school with an archival studies concentration in 2013, I hope that you will strongly consider taking this survey: 

 2013 Archival Program Graduates Job Placement Survey (

Over the past few years there have been several significant conversations in our profession about job placement for recent graduates, but unfortunately there has been a lack of job placement data for individuals to reference during these dialogues. 2013 graduates, by taking the time to participate in this study you will help rectify this lack of entry-level employment data and as a result you will be providing us with new insights into this important topic.

For everyone considering participating, I want to let you know that this study and the accompanying survey tool have been approved by the Penn State University Institutional Review Board (IRB #:45311). In order to protect anonymity of participants there is no registration, no recording of names, no recording of job titles, and no required questions to answer. To further protect privacy, as the principal investigator I will be the only person with access to individual survey result sheets. Any scholarship produced based on this data set will be limited to citing aggregated data, select crosstabs, and limited individual question responses that will protect the identities of respondents.

Depending on the answers that you provide the survey will consist of seven to fifteen questions, and should take no longer than ten minutes to complete. The survey will remain open until May 4th, at which point it will not accept any new responses. In order to generate as large of a pool of respondents as possible, this survey is being disseminated through multiple channels. If you choose to participate, please make sure that you only respond to the survey one time. For anyone who is reading this that is not a 2013 graduate, but who wants to help this study succeed, I encourage you to take the time to distribute this message and survey to other potential respondents.

If you have any questions about any aspect of this study, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at Thank you so much for your time and participation, I truly appreciate it.

-Matt Francis (AKA Archiving Matt)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Undergrad Outreach Files - A Look Back at Bring it to the Archives Week

Back on April 15th I discussed the run-up to SUNY Potsdam's first ever "Bring it to the Archives Week," (BITTAW) an event that encouraged our community members, and especially student groups, to consider donating historic materials to our College Archives.  Well BITTAW is now officially in the rear view mirror, and I thought it would be appropriate to take a brief look back at the event.

Sinfonia (Phi Mu Alpha fraternity) was one of the groups
that made their first ever donation to the archives.
First a quick and dirty recap:
  • From when I started first arrived at Potsdam (July 2011) up until BITTAW the archives received donations from two student groups.  One was a group that the previous College Archivist was an advisor for, and one was a group that a former student volunteer was a member of.
  • During BITTAW we received seven donations, five of which were materials related to student groups (the other two were from academic departments).
  • Four of the student group donations were given by current students, and one was donated by a community member.
  • Four of the student group donations represented new collections for the archives.
  • Ongoing conversations that started during BITTAW have led to two additional donations, one from a student group and one from an academic department.
  • Word of mouth from BITTAW has also started several other conversations about donations, including providing an opportunity for me to speak to the Greek Alumni Council about donating materials to the archives.

Monday, May 20, 2013

There is No "I" in Advocacy

Once again I had the opportunity to write a quick post for the Issues & Advocacy Roundtable blog, and so similar to what I did with The Importance of Mission Statements, I am also posting the text here.

There is No "I" in Advocacy

Greetings everyone and welcome to another post from our Issues & Advocacy Roundtable team. Believe it or not, but we are actually rapidly approaching the end of our initial “scheduled run” of blog posts. With that in mind, I decided that I would like today’s post to focus on a theme that has come up in many of the previous posts, and that is the importance of teamwork for effective advocacy. Or to put it another way (and to state the obvious), the more coordinated voices that you have working with you, the greater chance that your advocacy will achieve the outcomes that you are hoping for. So let’s take a moment to look at some of the ways that this teamwork can manifest itself, including taking a look back at several of our previous entries.

"There is no 'I' in team, but there is an "I" in pie.  And there's
an "I" in meat pie.  Meat is the anagram of team...
I don't know what he's talking about..."
Since most archives do not operate independent of a larger institution, some of your most important elevator speech that conveys the institutional value of the archives to those who are not involved in the day-to-day operations of it. Now obviously you are not going to be giving the same speech verbatim every time you talk to a colleague about the archives and its needs (i.e. simple advocacy), but when you do have these conversations with colleagues, it should be done in a way that it matches up with the language and spirit of your elevator speech, and consequently it will be a message that should be easily understood (not full of jargon), and simple to repeat when desired.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Undergrad Outreach Files - Hyping the BITTAW

Well today is a big day for the SUNY Potsdam College Archives as this morning we kicked-off our inaugural "Bring it to the Archives Week" (BITTAW) event.

As you can probably guess from our creative title, the entire purpose of this event to encourage members of our campus community to donate historic materials to the archives.  While technically we are encouraging anyone/group to participate, our focus has been on hyping the event to our student groups, as unfortunately our archives has very limited records related to these important community members.

Now since today is just the kick-off day of this weeklong event I cannot write about the success (or lack of) yet...but I can talk about some of the outreach work that was done to publicize the event, which of course would tie in nicely with my previous "Undergrad Outreach Files" posts.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Remodeling Chronicles - A New Addition

BAM, new flat screen monitor on the wall!
The last time we visited "The Remodeling Chronicles" we joyously discussed the creation of our new reading room.  Well since then we have been lucky enough to receive an important addition that will further help our operations.  As you can see, and thanks to a generous donation to the College Libraries, we now have a large flat screen monitor mounted in our reading room!

The monitor is a fantastic addition to the archives, as it will make a significant impact on the instructional support that I can offer.  Importantly, for smaller classes I will no longer have to sacrifice technology to teach in the archives physical space.  Or to put in another way, during instructional support sessions I can now expose students to our archives, and at the same time still have the capability of showing them our online finding aids, digitized materials, and other internet dependent resources.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Importance of Mission Statements

For those interested, I recently had the opportunity to post about the importance of mission statements at SAA's Issues & Advocacy Roundtables website.  Since this is a topic that I believe might be of interest in the lone arranger community, as well as to others who read this blog, I have decided to go ahead and post the same entry here.

Coincidentally, I happen to be chairing a working group charged with rewriting our college libraries' mission statement.  Once we have completed our work I assume I will revisit this topic in order to discuss our experiences working as a group, and hopefully I will be able to share a mission statement that meets the qualities that I have outlined below.

And with the introduction out of the way, let's move on to our feature presentation...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SAA and Social Responsibility

My goodness, it has been quite a while since I have posted here.  Well nothing like an important issue to spur one to write again...

Over at the SAA website the Annual Meeting Task Force Subgroup on Social Responsibility have their own new blog post titled The Challenges and Opportunities of Being Socially Responsible.  The post is relatively brief and essentially exists as a vehicle to procure feedback on how/if SAA should try to make sure their meetings are more socially responsible, and to measure if members are willing to pay the increased costs that would accompany such actions.  Specifically they are looking for feedback related to fair labor practices, environmental sustainability, and service projects that would coincide with our annual meetings.

Workers striking in front of the Chicago Hyatt Regency,
site of 2011 SAA AM (credit Carol Ramsden).
In my opinion these are all worthwhile aims, but I really want to take a moment to discuss the importance of SAA doing what it can to support fair labor practices at our conference facilities.  From my point of view as an outsider I assume this would be the most expensive issue to address of the previously listed three due to the nature of hotel and convention center contracts.  That said, I do not believe that money, nor any other logistical obstacles, should prevent our professional organization (and consequently us as individual members) from doing our best to make sure that we support fair labor.