Dealing with Writer’s Block

When I started this blog my goal was to post at least once a week (other than CFPs and news about publications). The last few weeks have been quiet, as I’ve had writer’s block with my book, which affected this blog. Thankfully, I’m in better writing and researching habits again.

I have no evidence, but I expect that all writers are blocked at times. For me, there are different levels of writer’s block. While writing my dissertation, sometimes I’d turn on my laptop, sit down, and suddenly several minutes would go by before I realized that I could not even focus on the screen. That type of block was more fatigue than anything, and I’d shut down my laptop and not write that day. The next day I’d try again and it would be fine.

Another type is just needing short breaks to process and think. At those times, I’ll write a little bit, take a short break, then write more, take a break, etc. Often, not writing but thinking about what to write helped sort my ideas into something more coherent, therefore easier to write about.

Then there’s the major writer’s block, which is what I just went through. It encompasses frustration, insecurity, lack of focus, wondering if I’m going in the right direction, and a whole host of mostly emotional obstructions that inhibit writing. I ask myself numerous questions: is this I topic I should address? will the details be helpful or too much? how do I make a dry topic interesting? will this information be outdated sooner rather than later?

What helped me move past this is talking out some very specific questions with the series editor. I can’t emphasize enough how immensely helpful it was to have a conversation where I voiced my concerns and talked through the depth and direction of specific topics and sections. As I wrote in an earlier post, it’s very easy to go down the research rabbit hole. I truly enjoy learning and reading about archives, but not everything I read about reference and access needs to go in the reference and access book. I’m getting better at deciding what needs to be addressed in-depth, and what can be mentioned and then suggest further resources.

I expect that in the next year while I write the book, I will continue to have bouts of writer’s block. Hopefully, it will happen less and less or not last long. Just know, that you are not alone when you struggle with writing and while there are many ways to handle it, one of the best is to talk it through with a friend, colleague, family, or whomever. It truly helps.

CFP: Archives and Records

Archives and Records: The Journal of the Archives and Records Association Call for papers

from the website:

Archives and Public History: Places, Pasts and Identities

Archives are made visible through a broad range of public history activity, from Hollywood blockbusters and television documentaries, to national commemorative events and local community projects.  In common with other cultural heritage assets, they are recognised as a tool that enables people to engage with the past in all sorts of ways.

Nevertheless, questions remain about this intersection of archival heritage, public history and the past. For example:

  • How do archives create and inform knowledge about the past, and what role do they play in the production of histories?
  • How is digital technology changing the way that history-makers and public audiences encounter, understand and use archives?
  • What is the impact of the ‘democratisation’ of history and heritage on how people relate to archival materials?
  • What are the ethical implications of deploying archival heritage to tell stories about diverse places and identities?

This special issue of Archives and Records seeks to explore approaches to the public use of archives, emanating from all fields of study.  We recognise that ground-breaking work on the nature and value of archival heritage is happening across the disciplines, in history, literature, art, sociology, geography, heritage and information studies and beyond.  Many of these voices rarely enter the archives sector literature.  This issue aims to provide a space for encounters between researcher and practitioner discourses, and to encourage the cross-pollination of ideas.

We invite papers on any aspect of the public use of archives.  Contributions might consider, but need not be confined to, the following themes:

  • Popular conceptions and representations of archival heritage
  • The value of the archive to historians and other ‘history-makers’ (including historical fiction authors, TV producers, artists, community groups)
  • Social, historical, political and economic uses of archives by governments, local authorities, universities, community groups and individuals
  • The role of archives in commemorative activity and anniversary events
  • Discourses of memory, remembering/forgetting and archival heritage
  • Intersections with other forms of cultural heritage, e.g. material culture, built environment, intangible heritage

How to submit

Prospective authors are invited to contact the Guest Editor, Victoria Hoyle to discuss potential articles. The deadline for submissions is 31st July 2016. All submissions will be double blind peer-reviewed and should be presented in line with Archives and Records style guidelines.

CFP: Journal of Archival Organization

from the website:

Routledge is pleased to announce that Katherine M. Wisser, of Simmons College, has taken the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Archival Organization and is currently seeking manuscript submissions for the journal.

The Journal of Archival Organization is an international journal encompassing all aspects of the arrangement, description, and provision of access to all forms of archival materials. Articles on processing techniques and procedures, preparation of finding aids, and cataloging of archival and manuscript collections in accordance with MARC, AACR2, and other rules, standards, and cataloging conventions are only part of what you’ll find in this refereed/peer-reviewed publication.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Management and staffing issues relating to archival organizational functions; specifically, arrangement and description of historical records collections
  • Innovative approaches to methods of intellectual and physical access
  • Retrieval of historical records in information systems
  • Reviews of projects and procedures, standards, and issues in organizing archival collections for storage and onsite use and availability through the Internet
  • Innovations in Reading Rooms or reference practices that interact with the tools created through arrangement and description

How to submit:

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to Katherine M. Wisser at:

For more information about the Journal of Archival Organization, including complete submission instructions, please visit the journal’s webpage:

Editorial information

New Issue: Information & Culture

Information & Culture
Volume 51, Issue 2, Spring 2016


A Framework for Understanding Information Ecosystems in Firms and Industries
James W. Cortada

A Cowman’s-Eye View of the Information Ecology of the Texas Cattle Industry from the Civil War to World War I
David B. Gracy II
The Value Proposition of the Corporate Library, Past and Present
Alistair Black and Henry Gabb
Generations of Business Information, 1937–2012: Moving from Data Bits to Intelligence
Andrew Gross and Emeric Solymossy
Technology in Architectural Practice: Transforming Work with Information, 1960s–1990s
Katie Pierce Meyer
The Literature of American Library History, 2012–2013
Edward A. Goedeken

Sheila Scoville
Journals Promotion Coordinator
University of Texas Press

CFP: Journal of Western Archives

The most notable web archiving effort to date (Internet Archive) started in California in 1996. Twenty years later, archival institutions throughout the Western United States are engaged in the curation and preservation of web content.

To better explore this rapidly evolving domain of the archival frontier, the Journal of Western Archives ( is currently seeking submissions for an upcoming special issue focused entirely on web archiving.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

* Application of new tools and workflows
* Calls to action or imagined futures
* Collaborative collections or projects
* Implementation of new programs or policies
* Lessons from advocacy or outreach
* (Local but likely shared) challenges, and solutions
* Quality assurance approaches and insights
* (Web) archival theory and practice

Acceptable formats for submission include final or work-in-progress research articles or case studies, as well as reviews of books, collections, services, or other media substantively concerning web archiving.

Potential contributors are encouraged to consult the more general submission guidelines. ( Begin the submission process by creating a contributor account (

The submission deadline for this special issue on web archiving is August 15, 2016.

Please contact JWA editor J. Gordon Daines III/ or guest editor Nicholas Taylor/ if you have any questions.

Journal of Western Archives is an open source and peer-reviewed journal that provides a venue where archivists working in the American West can highlight their unique contributions to the archival profession. See the journal overview ( for complete coverage of the journal’s scope and aims.

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

CFP: Provenance

Provenance: The Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, a peer reviewed academic publication, seeks articles on archival theory and practice for the 2016 issue. Please note that the content of the journal is not limited to the state of Georgia, and articles of regional or national significance are welcome. First-time authors are especially encouraged to submit articles for consideration. As evidenced by the forthcoming audiovisual issue, composed of video, audio, and traditional article formats, Provenance is also interested in innovative and unique methods for presenting scholarly content.

Articles on archival topics outside of theory and practice which meet publication standards will also be considered. Typical papers should be a Word document, 10-20 pages, double spaced, and formatted according to the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Please review information for contributors: Articles are to be submitted utilizing Provenance’s online system:

For additional information contact Editor Heather Oswald at: Deadline for contributions is July 31, 2016.

Gracy Award 

Each year the SGA awards the Gracy Award, a $350 prize which recognizes a superior contribution to Provenance. Named for David B. Gracy II, founder and first editor of Georgia Archive, the award began in 1990 and is judged by the editorial board.

*Back issues of Provenance and Georgia Archive available online*

At nearly 50,000 hits/downloads, the back issues (1972-2015) are a great
resource for archivists:


The 2015 print issue is on its way to subscribers now, and will be publicly available online following a year long embargo for membership benefit. Become a member today!

Table of Contents for the 2015 issue:

2015 Society of Georgia Archivists Annual Meeting Keynote Address
Only Connect: Communities, Archives and the Making and Keeping of Memory
Jeannette A. Bastian


 A Push in the Right Direction: Expanding Models of Mentorship
Lynette Stoudt, Caitlin Birch, Michelle Chiles, Luciana Spracher, Darla White

Time, Money and Effort: A Practical Approach to Digital Content Management
Christine S. Wiseman, Alfred S. Matthews

Our Love Won’t Fade Away: Processing the Jerry Garcia Memorial Altar Collection
Scott J. Carlson

Archivists and Faculty Collaborative Course Development
Courtney Chartier, Gabrielle M. Dudley, Donna Troka

The Right to Know … Or Not: The Freedom of Information Act, 1955-1974
Tommy C. Brown

Hoarding and Its Effects on Acquisition and Appraisal: Two Case Studies from the University of Illinois Archives
Roxanne M. Dunn

The Case of Stanly Will
Ryan Speer


Gorman, Our Enduring Values Revisited: Librarianship in an Ever-Changing World
Reviewed by Debra Branson March

Santamaria, Extensible Processing for Archives and Special Collections: Reducing Processing Backlogs
Reviewed by Michael Nagy

Caldera and Neal, Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion
Reviewed by Laura Starratt

Behrnd-Klodt and Prom, eds. Rights in the Digital Era
Reviewed by Mandy Mastrovita

Delve and Anderson, Preserving Complex Digital Objects
Reviewed by Carol Waggoner-Angleton

Corrado and Moulaison, Digital Preservation for Libraries, Archives, and Museums
Reviewed by Grant Maher

Eichhorn, The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order
Reviewed by Cheryl Oestreicher

Cloonon, Preserving Our Heritage: Perspectives from Antiquity to the Digital Age
Reviewed by Michael Law

Theimer, ed., Educational Programs: Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections
Reviewed by Pamela Nye

Pénichon, Twentieth-Century Color Photographs: Identification and Care
Reviewed by Mandi D. Johnson

Bradley, Social Media for Creative Libraries
Reviewed by Amanda Pellerin

Heather Oswald

Editor, Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists