Signing a Book Contract

For a more personal post, I signed my first book contract last week. It’s both thrilling and scary at the same time. Last year, I was invited to write the third edition of the Archival Fundamental Series Providing Reference and Access Services for Archives and Manuscripts. I was honored to be asked and am very excited to work with series editor Peter Wosh and Publications Editor Chris Prom.

While in library school, and even in my history PhD program, the idea of writing a book seemed to be what other people did. It wasn’t necessarily in my plans. After I finished my dissertation, there was a glimmer of that possibility. Having more or less finished a book in dissertation format, it seemed achievable. And now I have the chance!

I have to explain the thrilling and scary parts of this. It is thrilling because in the past few years, I realize how much I enjoy writing. Archival scholarship is interesting to me and I’m constantly impressed by books and articles I read. Authors dedicate an incredible amount of time to share their insights and practices. I was excited when Archivaria published my article a couple years ago. This will be much different than writing a dissertation, as I’m writing about what I know and do nearly every day and exploring published scholarship to add to my knowledge and ensure comprehensiveness. I love the archives world and am grateful I can contribute to scholarship.

The project is scary as well. I have a schedule and deadlines, and 300 pages to write. I have an outline and a good starting point, but it’s a bit overwhelming as well. I want to make sure that this is a usable manual for archivists at any level, any type of institution. I want it to be helpful. Plus, people will read it and use it. I had no delusions while writing my dissertation that few people other than my committee and my dear English professor friend (who corrected grammar and such) would read it. The AFS book has much more at stake. I have great support, both from SAA and colleagues.

This project is a welcome challenge, and I look forward to the process. And I will post more as I progress to share the difficulties, accomplishments, and any other thoughts. Writing is hard, but I’m up to the challenge!

New Issue: Practical Technology for Archives

Reposted from the A&A listserv:

We are pleased to announce the publication of Issue no.5 of Practical Technology for Archives.

In this issue we have four excellent articles, one on using SwipeBox to present digitized materials, one about an alternative to 3D scanning, an article on CollectiveAccess, and another on low-budget large-scale digitization, which we hope you will find useful.

I you have an idea or proposal for Issue no.6, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

All the Best,

Randall Miles,
Managing Editor
Cornell University



Guest Post: Reviews Portal for The American Archivist

Thanks to Alexandra for this great information about The American Archivist‘s Reviews Portal!

Alexandra A. A. Orchard, CA
Technical and Metadata Archivist, Reuther Library, Wayne State University
Reviews Portal Coordinator

The SAA Reviews Portal (RP) houses The American Archivist Reviews and primarily focuses on providing reviews of new technologies and projects related to archives. The RP has additional features, including “Reviewed in The American Archivist” which provides access to reviews in previous issues of the journal as well as early access to reviews in the upcoming issue. “Written by Our Members” aims to provide a comprehensive list of monographs, articles, and reviews written by SAA members. Submissions are ongoing and can be made via the submission form. Additionally, the RP occasionally hosts special projects, such as the “What’s Your Favorite “American Archivist” Article?” in celebration of SAA’s seventy-fifth anniversary.

The RP began several years ago with the intent of expanding the reviews section of the journal to the web. Thus enabling the publication of more reviews, often focused on the intersection of archives and technology, the web, and increasingly mobile, but still ensuring peer-reviewed, professional content found in The American Archivist. Publishing reviews to the web enables a quicker turnaround time than those in the print journal, resulting in reviews posted as soon as they complete the peer review process. During the last three and a half years, over 30 reviews have been posted in the RP.

The submission process is straightforward, interested potential reviewers email the Reviews Portal Coordinator, who sends a response outlining the writing and review process. The reviewer then selects a deadline and an item for review, either a non-reviewed item from the “Archival Technologies and Resources” page or an off list suggestion for consideration. Once the draft is received, the Reviews Portal Coordinator and Reviews Editor peer-review the piece, and if necessary return the review to the author for changes. The editing phase typically lasts several weeks or longer, depending on time of year, the revisions needed, and the number of other reviews in progress.

After the final review is submitted, it is posted on the “Reviews” page and the item receives a “Reviewed” link on the “Archival Technologies and Resources” page. This page not only serves as a list of potential review topics, but as a curated list of tools and resources of use to archivists as well as (predominantly digital) projects using archival materials, and those with accompanying reviews have an additional layer of vetting and therefore usefulness to archivists. Finally the Reviews Portal Coordinator and SAA publicize the review.

Writing a review for the RP is valuable experience particularly for those new to the archival profession, including students, new professionals, archivists as well as those in related fields looking to start writing and publishing. The RP is also an excellent venue for more seasoned authors who are interested in learning and writing about newer technologies and those digital archives, projects, and exhibits making use of them. The “Archival Technologies and Resources” page is consistently updated, and will soon include new types of content for review. New voices are encouraged and welcome, so if you have ideas for content, are interested in reviewing a tool or resource, or both, please contact the Reviews Portal Coordinator!


Provenance: SNAP Special Issue

I’m pleased to share that the online SNAP Special Issue of Provenance is now available:

In the nearly four years I’ve been Provenance Editor, I’ve had many conversations with authors and potential authors about the different facets of journal publishing. I contacted SAA’s SNAP (Students and New Archives Professionals) Roundtable, and they were enthusiastic about this opportunity. As students and new professionals learn the profession, they are exposed to numerous books and other literature. The publishing process can be daunting, and engaging new authors helps demystify the submission, peer-review, and editorial processes.

SNAP members participated in the submission and editing process from start to finish. This was an opportunity for SNAP members to be responsible for the content of an entire issue, including soliciting articles, being the peer-reviewers, and editing. I provided guidance and direction to the editors, Jennifer Welch coordinated with the guest Reviews Editor, and Erin Lawrimore served as Managing Editor, but the issue represents the voices of students and new professionals. Caitlin Wells and Roxanne Dunn did an excellent job as guest Editors. They worked extensively with authors, made decisions, and asked questions.

It was my pleasure to work with SNAP on this issue. I hope that this experience encourages these new authors and editors to continue to contribute to archival scholarship for years to come.