SNAP Twitter Chat about Publishing

Last week I participated in a SNAP Twitter chat (#snaprt, @SNAP_Roundtable). I’ve participated before, but it’s been a while. SNAP does a great job of hosting the chats and having prepared questions. There aren’t many opportunities for such interaction to discuss publishing and I appreciate that this topic comes up every so often for discussion. Most of the conversations I have are one-on-one and occasionally speaking to groups. I’m always happy to participate in these discussions, as are others involved in publishing. From my perspective, I don’t always know who wants these conversations (beyond SNAP) so I encourage others to just ask! I’ve worked hard to make myself accessible, but I know that other editors, authors, or others involved in publishing will also participate. So don’t be afraid to ask.

There’s always so much that comes up during these chats. I won’t be able to recap everything, but I want to touch on a few of the topics. I suspect many people outside of SNAP have the same questions so I hope you find this helpful.

How do I know what’s interesting to others?; it’s already been done. Understandably, when one is new to the profession it is hard to know what to write about and whether others will want to read it. It takes time to catch up on where scholarship is. I’ve encouraged people to write about their interests or where they see gaps. No one knows every article or book written, and that’s where a good editor comes in. Many submissions to Provenance cited scholarship I didn’t know about. However, often I and the peer-reviewers recommend additional articles if we believe it necessary. No matter if you are new or seasoned, there is the question whether others will find it interesting. So, talk to your peers, coworkers, friends, colleagues, and ask. Or email an editor and ask. Pick a topic, read a few articles, and think about it. Then write and submit. The only way you will know for sure is if you submit and accept the feedback. There’s been a bunch of new journal issues (just browse the most recent posts) so start there. Read more in a previous post.Others know so much more and I don’t want to BS. That sentiment is appreciated. The longer I was an editor, the easier it was to spot a graduate course paper submission. I don’t say that as a bad thing, because grad school is about generating and discussing ideas, learning about the profession, and engaging with scholarship. When I was writing my dissertation, I frequently felt what most grad students do – that I’ll look dumb if I forget that one book, that one article, where my committee would think “How could she not know about that?” But you know what, that seldom happens. If you do appropriate research, you become the expert and you’ll find the resources. Don’t try to read every word of everything; start by reading book reviews and abstracts. Chances are, you’ll miss something and a good editor will provide it for you. And absolutely don’t BS. As long as you can provide evidence for your argument, are clear and articulate, don’t use a lot of colloquialisms, and are logical, you’re more than halfway there. The best way to learn as much as others know is through writing and research. How do you think they became experts?

Turning a conference presentation into an article. Do it! As you prepare for a presentation, keep track of your sources, write an article alongside your presentation. But please, don’t submit only the text of your presentation. Remember, writing for publication is different from reading your ideas in front of an audience. Several times, I followed up with conference presenters and suggest they submit to Provenance. So think about it before you present and you can have a solid draft or full article for submission.

Revise and resubmit is hard. Yes, and honestly, it seldom gets easier. I did write a post about this a while ago. And this question reminded me that I meant to write more (hence the part 1 of many), so I will get back to that at some point. But if any of you want to share your experiences, whether good or bad, I welcome all perspectives and guest posts. And, as noted also below, a blog post is a great way to start writing.

Write to non-archivists. This part was particularly interesting to me. We are not limited to writing to each other. Yes, that strengthens our profession and engages each other. But what about librarians, users, historians, and others? Bringing non-archivists into our writing sphere will help us understand our users more as well as raise awareness of the archival profession. Do you collaborate with donors, faculty, users, or anyone else you can co-author with? What about asking researchers to write about their experience? When I taught classes, I always try to find non-archivist perspectives. One article I used multiple times was Joan Zenzen’s “Administrative Histories: Writing about Fort Stanwix National Monument” (sorry, I wish it was open access but is available through JSTOR or request through interlibrary loan). And a excellent book is Kate Eichhorn’s Archival Turn in Feminism. Can’t help but enjoy a book written by someone who reveres archivists. In other words, think outside the box. Also, you are not limited to archives publications. Write for disciplinary journals, library journals, digital humanities journals, government resources, or whatever falls within the scope of your interests.

Some general tips:

  • don’t let your profession define what you write
  • book reviews and blogs are a great place to start
  • write with a publication in mind instead of squeezing it into requirements
  • find a writing group

It was a great conversation and lots of great ideas came up, both about writing and topics of interest. I also keep thinking about what else we need to do to continue these conversations. Don’t forget, I welcome suggestions for topics. I thank all of you for reading this blog but I see it as only one way to share experiences. So let’s keep the conversations going in whatever ways we can!

New Issue: Archival Issues

reposted from the A&A listserv:

On its way to you?

Yes, if you are a member of the Midwest Archives Conference, or a subscriber to its journal, the latest issue is on its way by postal mail. AI also is available on line, but with a one year/one volume embargo for non-members.

Dan Noonan leads off the new issue with a provocative question about collecting one potentially voluminous group of records, college and university syllabi: “Does Size Matter in the Digital Age?” The Ohio State University electronic records/digital resources archivist makes a strong case for the feasibility and the value of this effort.

Chiu-yen Lin, deputy director-general of the National Archives Administration in Taiwan, ROC, reviews archival theory and the practices of four national archives programs. Her findings direct readers “Toward a Holistic Model for the Management of Documents, Records, and Archives.”

Two Canadian authors, Amanda Oliver (Archives Society of Alberta’s Flood Advisory Programme) and Anne Daniel (Western University), examine the depiction of archivists in forty-three films, most from the past twenty-five years. They conclude that, “Although some movie archivists possess the stereotypical qualities identified in the literature review, they overwhelmingly demonstrate unexpected qualities and behaviors….”

The issue concludes with reviews of eight books touching on domestic topics as varied as extensible processing, leadership of historical enterprises, managing donors, and digital preservation. Four reviewed books bring an international perspective on the archives of dictatorship, cultural heritage information, archiving ethnicity, and French philosophy.

Archival Issues welcomes manuscripts for consideration at all times during the year. Please contact John Fleckner, chair, editorial board, for more information:

New Book: Librarians of Color

Thank you to Rebecca Hankins for the following post about the new book, Librarians of Color.

[note: per Rebecca’s request, some content was removed as they work through issues with the publisher]

We mentioned in the introduction the why we wrote the book, but for us, we felt there needs to be a corpus of research and writings on diversity and the experiences of people of color in librarianship and archives, similar to information literacy, collection development, and any other relevant subject in these two informational fields. When we first sent out the requests for abstracts we received a number of folks saying they had just read or written on this subject as if that should be the end of it. We challenged the responses to think of this as an ongoing dialogue with many different perspectives that should be explored, commented on, and argued. We need to be a part of the information studies canon like any other important issue in libraries and archives.

The how of writing the book consisted of us sending out a call for proposal abstracts. We received an overwhelming response with enough abstracts for all 3 books (first on academia, second was going to be on law librarians, and the 3rd was on the experiences of young and diverse librarians). Miguel and I individually and then together scored the abstracts in a spreadsheet, then we came together. If there were any disputed contributors we talked about them; I had one and he had one that we kept in the book. We provided deadlines for when they were to have their contributions to us. We did the first editing and review, gave them feedback, then set another deadline for the final chapters. We pulled the entire manuscript together with an introduction and contacted the noted scholar and former ALA president to write a preface, then sent it to the publisher for feedback. Received feedback (this is when we found out we were removed from being editors of the series) that we shared with the contributors and sent back to the publisher. We were told that the index was being created, the cover was being made (no input from us), the proof would be shared for any final errors (didn’t receive until after we noted some glaring errors), then published.

Book is done and I’m pleased with the book for the most part and that I’m done with the publisher and the book is out. The contributors wrote from the heart without censors so I’m pleased about that too.

New Article: Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies

Thanks to Lily for sending this to me!

The JCAS is pleased to announce the first article published in 2016: “Developing a Typology of Human Rights Records,” by Noah Geraci and Michelle Caswell, both of UCLA.

This article seeks to answer the following questions: What makes a record a “human rights record”? What types of records fall under this umbrella term? How and why might we develop a typology of such records? What is at stake—ethically, theoretically, and practically—in the ways in which and the reasons why we define and classify records as such? The piece includes a literature review exploring the history of conceptions of human rights records in archival studies, and the ongoing discussion in information studies more broadly about the politics of the organization of information. The paper outlines the chosen methodology of conceptual analysis and describe the ways such methodology will be employed to de/construct the term “human rights record,” and provides a typology of human rights records, positing that such records can be examined according to five interlocking vectors: who created them, why, and when, where they are currently stewarded, and how they are being put to use. The article also examines the ethical, political, and professional implications of the proposed typology and suggests ways in which this rubric can be used in the future.

Download a copy of this open access article at the JCAS site.

The JCAS is a peer-reviewed, online, open access journal sponsored by the Yale University Library and New England Archivists (NEA). Follow the JCAS on Twitter and Facebook!


Lily Troia, JCAS Social Media Consultant

New Issue: Information & Culture

reposted from the A&A listserv:
Information & Culture
Volume 51, Issue 1, Winter 2016

Exhibiting Information: Developing the Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum
Tilly Blyth
Making Computers Boring: Some Thoughts on Historical Exhibition of Computing Technology from the Mass-Market Era
James Sumner
Self-Fulfilling History: How Narrative Shapes Preservation of the Online World
Marc Weber
Brains, Tortoises, and Octopuses: Postwar Interpretations of Mechanical Intelligence on the BBC
Allan Jones
Putting the Spooks Back In? The UK Secret State and the History of Computing
Jon Agar
Computing and the Big Picture: A Keynote Conversation
Jennifer S. Light

Sheila Scoville
Journals Promotion Coordinator
University of Texas Press
P.O. Box 7819 | Austin, TX 78731-7819
P: (512) 232-7618 | F: (512) 232-7178

New Issue: Journal of Western Archives

from the A&A listserv:

The Journal of Western Archives is pleased to announce that Volume 7 Issue 1 has opened. The initial articles deal with mentoring and a case study on the Gregory Peck Papers. The issue also includes a review of Preserving our Heritage: Perspectives from Antiquity to the Digital Age. You can view the content at As a reminder the journal publishes articles on a rolling basis throughout the year. We invite you to follow the journal so that you can get notifications when new content is added.

Gordon Daines
Editor, Journal of Western Archives
J. Gordon Daines III
Supervisor of Reference Services
Department Chair
L. Tom Perry Special Collections
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Why I Resigned as Provenance Editor

After four wonderful years, I have resigned as Provenance Editor. I originally planned to finish out my second term (another 2 years). However, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago, I signed a contract to write a book. Over the past couple months as I tried to balance being an editor and writing a book, I discovered that something needed to give.

As I explained to a colleague, being an editor and author use the same part of my brain that requires a lot of concentration, focus, and thought. Spending time editing/reviewing articles and then trying to research and write is quite taxing on both my brain and my motivation.

Many of us have the challenge of taking on too much and becoming stressed or burned out. And many of us have a hard time saying “no.” I’ve been practicing saying “no” over the past few years and am getting better. Often, we are afraid people will judge us for quitting. However, I believe that instead it’s more important to recognize our limitations. By doing so, it will be better all around. If I continued to be an editor and an author, likely both projects would suffer. And both are too important to me to let that happen. Instead, my resignation means that both will be successful – me being able to focus on the book and my successor as Editor will take Provenance to new heights.

When I took over, the previous editor encouraged me to do whatever I wanted with the journal. While it took time to learn the ropes, I definitely made it my own. Under my leadership, all the back issues are online, we moved to an online submission system, we are receiving more submissions than in the past, and there’s greater awareness of the journal. We have two special issues (one on advocacy and one with SNAP), with a third in the works.

I’ve learned more than I can possibly explain being an editor. Not only did I learn about publishing, but communication, needs of the profession, how to work with authors, practices and theories used by colleagues, and challenges of scholarship. I had great support from SGA and the Provenance Board. Most of all, the role cemented my passion about publishing as a focus for my professional activities. I dedicated what feels like countless hours to the journal over the past four years. While I will miss it, I am also relieved to know I can focus on one major project.

I am handing the reins over to Heather Oswald at Emory University. I told her what I was told, that she should take it and make it her own. As I’ve worked with her on the Provenance Board and as Associated Editor over the last couple years, I know she will continue to build upon what I’ve done as well as create new directions and initiatives. I’m excited to see what the future brings.

This decision has no impact on this blog. I am dedicated to continuing this as a platform to share ideas and practices about scholarly publishing in the profession. I’ll continue to use my experience as an editor and now as an author. There’s much to be said about publishing and I hope others continue to suggest ideas and contribute posts.

New Issue: Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies

reposted from the A&A listserv:

The Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies is pleased to announce publication of Volume 2, Issue 5:

Quidditch, Zombies, and the Cheese Club: A Case Study in Archiving Web Presence of Student Groups at New York University” by Aleksandr Gelfand.

Student organizations are a unique feature of university life whose records merit preservation. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, these records have been increasingly transitioning from analog format to a digital, web-based platform; a pattern that has only picked-up in the 2000s. This paper looks at a case study of the New York University Archives and its attempt to archive student organizations using the Archive-It service.

Download a copy of this open access article at the JCAS site.

The JCAS is a peer-reviewed, online, open access journal sponsored by the Yale University Library and New England Archivists (NEA). Follow the JCAS on Twitter and Facebook!

Lily Cristina Troia
Dean’s Fellow for Digital Media Outreach
MLIS Candidate ’16
Simmons School of Library and Information Science

Creating an Outline

As I mentioned last post, I am writing the third edition of AFS Reference and Access for Archives and Manuscripts. The first task was to create an outline. In general, I’ve always struggled with outlines. I like the idea – creating a coherent organization of content and research. In practice, it’s not my strength.

However, with this project it (so far) is working well. What helped tremendously is that I did not have to start from scratch. I began with the structure that Mary Jo Pugh used for the second edition. I knew I would not, nor should not, keep it exactly the same. My outline is definitely different, but using hers as a reference ensured that I did not miss any major topics.

Although I can’t share (sorry) the actual outline, it is organized into three major sections, chapters within each section, and topics within each chapter. When I reviewed it recently, I already see how I might reorganize a few parts, but I’m going to wait until I get to those chapters.

For the first time, I’m using an outline as guidance for writing. Especially, knowing exactly where to start when I sit down to write, as opposed to spending time thinking “hm, what should I write about today?” Granted, I’m not very far yet but psychologically, it gives me a good grounding. As I research and write, I have ideas not related to what I’m writing about. With the outline, it’s easy to look and identify where those ideas fit and make notes accordingly.

Lastly, it was a great way to create a schedule and deadlines. I can’t guarantee that I’ll meet them all (but am motivated to try!). Knowing that, for example, I plan to take one month to write a certain chapter, if I’m 2 weeks from the deadline but only have a few pages, I then know I need to either write more or refocus how I’m writing.

I know the outline will change and evolve as the project develops. I’m glad that I started this way. That’s not to say that creating an outline is the best for everyone or every project, but I’m grateful it was a requirement for this one.