New Case Study: Engaging History of Science Students with Primary Sources

Despite a significant portion of non-English science and technology texts, Leigh Rupinski, archivist in Special Collections and University Archives at Grand Valley State University Libraries, devises an interactive lesson plan to engage history of science students visiting the archives. Read all about it in “Bingo! Engaging History of Science Students with Primary Sources,” which is the thirteenth case in the open access series Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources sponsored by SAA’s Reference, Access, and Outreach Section.

New Case Study: Teaching Students Research Methods with Primary Source Analysis

New Case Study: Teaching Students Research Methods with Primary Source Analysis

Archivists and history faculty collaborate to teach students about primary source research in “Scaffolding Primary Source Research and Analysis in an Undergraduate History Research Methods Course” by Kara Flynn, research and educational services archivist at the University of Arkansas. It is the twelfth case in the open access series Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources sponsored by SAA’s Reference, Access, and Outreach Section.

New Case Study: SAA, Teaching with Primary Sources

“Seeing Through Risk in the Special Collections Classroom: A Case for Flexibility” by Marc Brodsky, public services and reference archivist at Virginia Tech, describes a collaboration between special collections and a history class that emphasized engagement with primary sources. A class of 50 students participated in a transcription project involving 120 letters written by a local soldier serving in Europe during World War I that were addressed mostly to his wife in Blacksburg, VA. The project proved especially relevant given the centennial of the United States’ involvement in WWI. Read all about it here.

SAA Headquarters
Society of American Archivists
Chicago IL
(866) 722-7858

New Case Study: Access Policies for Native American Materials

SAA’s Native American Archivists Section just released their first case study, “Archival Initiatives for the Indigenous Collections at the American Philosophical Society” by Brian Carpenter.

If interested, you can submit your own case study for publication.

Call for Case Studies: Native American Archivists Section

In August 2018, the SAA Council issued a statement endorsing the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials as an external standard of the organization.  The Protocols establish best practices for the culturally responsive care and use of Native American archival materials, particularly materials that are housed in non-tribal institutions.

This series of case studies, sponsored by the Native American Archivists Section (NAAS) of SAA, is intended to help archivists, librarians, museum curators, and other professionals who work with Native American archival materials see how the Protocols can be adapted for use in a variety of institutional contexts.  More broadly, the case studies series is designed to highlight evolving access policies to Native American materials, whether or not these policies are based specifically on the Protocols.

Elements of a Case Study:

Case studies are intended to demonstrate real-world examples of the ways in which contributors and their institutions have developed and/or implemented access policies for culturally sensitive Native American archival materials.  Contributors are encouraged to write about the challenges of developing and implementing these access policies in their institutional contexts, as well as their successes.  Case studies from all sizes and types of institutions are welcomed, as are case studies focusing on various types of culturally sensitive archival materials (textual, photographic, audio/visual, etc.).  Case studies contributed by single authors or multiple authors are also welcome.

Each case study should include the following basic elements:

  • An introduction, which describes the institutional context and relevant Native American archival materials
  • narrative, which describes the development and/or implementation of access policies to those materials and any challenges or barriers encountered
  • conclusion, which describes lessons learned and ongoing development and/or modification of the access policies

A key component of best practices for the care and use of culturally sensitive Native American archival materials is collaboration with Native American communities.  Case studies that reflect Native American communities’ experiences with institutions’ evolving access policies are also encouraged.

Preparing and Submitting Your Case Study:

To inquire about submitting a case study, please contact the series editors: Rose Buchanan, NAAS Steering Committee Member], and Caitlin Haynes, NAAS Vice Chair []. Submissions are needed for summer-fall 2019, and will be posted to the SAA Case Study Series website on a rolling basis.

Case studies should be between 1,500 and 5,000 words.  Authors are responsible for understanding and following the principles that govern the “fair use” of quotations and illustrations, and for obtaining written permission to publish where necessary.  Accuracy in citations is also the author’s responsibility.  SAA prefers the current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style with endnote formatting for citations.

Review Process:

All submissions will be reviewed by two volunteer reviewers from the NAAS Steering Committee or from the NAAS membership.  Submissions will be evaluated according to a rubric.  Reviewers will return the case study and completed rubric within three weeks of receipt to the series editors.  The series editors will review the feedback and make an editorial decision, consulting with the NAAS Steering Committee and SAA Publications Editor as necessary.  The series editors will communicate a publication decision to the author(s) within five weeks of the receipt of the submission.

  • For rejected case studies: The series editors will communicate the rejection to the author(s) and provide the reasons for this editorial decision.
  • For a recommendation of revise and resubmit: The series editors will communicate the decision to the author(s) and negotiate a reasonable window of time for resubmission.
    • Resubmitted case studies will be reviewed by the series editors and at least one of the original reviewers to ensure that recommended changes have been satisfactorily incorporated.  The series editors, in consultation with the NAAS Steering Committee, ultimately make the decision to publish or reject resubmitted case studies.  The series editors will communicate that decision to the author(s).
  • For case studies accepted for publication: The series editors will communicate the acceptance to the author(s).

A submission will not be considered if it is being reviewed by another publishing outlet at the same time, or if it has been published previously in a similar form.

Publication Process:

Once accepted, case studies will be submitted to the SAA Publications Editor and Director of Publishing for light copyediting.  If major changes are needed, a version tracking those changes will be sent to the author for confirmation.  After the author signs off on a final version, SAA will format the case study and post it to the Case Study Series website as a PDF.

Copyright in the case study will remain with the author, and SAA will acknowledge this in the copyright line that appears with the case study.  Authors will consent, grant, and assign to SAA the non-exclusive right to publish and/or distribute all or any part of the case study throughout the world in electronic or any other medium.  In return, SAA agrees to publish the work under a Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives license.

New: Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources

There are now five case studies available, check them out!

Collaborating for Impact in Teaching with Primary Sources


Teaching Citations as a Multi-functional Approach to Archives Instruction 


Fostering Historical Empathy in Unusual Times: A Case Study of the Course “OSU, Women and Oral History: An Exploration of 150 Years”

Crafting a Research Question: Differentiated Teaching for Instruction With Primary Sources Across Diverse Learning Levels 

Exploring Ephemerality, Biases, and Silences in Archives

New Publishing Opportunity: Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources

The Reference, Outreach, and Access Section (RAO) is pleased to announce the launch of a new SAA epublication series, Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources, a peer-reviewed publication opportunity for sharing successful, innovative, and experimental approaches to teaching and outreach using primary sources: This SAA epublication arose out of the recently completed work of the SAA/Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) Joint Task Force on Primary Source Literacy (JTF-PSL). The RAO leadership collaborated with the JTF-PSL and SAA’s publications editor and director to envision and implement Case Studies on Teaching With Primary Sources.

Each case study will reference one or more of the 22 learning objectives in the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy, which are intended to “articulate broadly the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by researchers to successfully conceptualize, find, understand, analyze, and use primary sources.” Case studies illustrate explicitly the application of one or more of these learning objectives in teaching, articulate how and why specific learning objectives were chosen as the focus of the case, and provide information on actual or potential assessment strategies to determine the efficacy of the interventions detailed in the case.

In addition to the first published case study, authored by RAO member Samantha Crisp, the case studies website provides a link to the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy (currently under review by SAA’s Standards Committee), detailed information on how to submit a case study for publication consideration, and a submission form that will help authors structure case studies successfully. RAO members are encouraged to consider highlighting their instruction and outreach work by authoring case studies.

Alison Stankrauff
RAO Chair

SAA Case Studies

SAA announced a new Campus Case Study, “Successful Fundraising with Library and
Archives Collaboration.” SAA started this series geared towards academic archives, but often the studies offer insight and tips to any type of institution.

More recently, the case studies have expanded and there are now openly accessible case studies on ethics, diversifying the archival record, and government records.

These are also a good publishing opportunity. Recognizing the benefit of these to the profession, SAA is open to expanding the contributing groups.  They are much shorter than journal-article length, good for collaborative writing, and allow to share real-life experiences and practices.

CFP: Case Studies and Bibliography for “Design for Diversity”

See brief call and submission form.

Case Studies

The Teaching and Learning Toolkit will feature a set of short, intensive case studies that provide evidence of a wide range of practical experimentation and design work. We see these examples as an important way for practitioners to share concrete experiences of their work on the issues surrounding diversity in system design, library and information science, archival work, digital cultural heritage, and related areas. Within the Toolkit, these case studies can be used as readings, as the basis for a variety of assignments, and as an important attestation of practice that may not be fully represented in the research literature. The case studies will also be a valuable input for our discussions in the two Design for Diversity public forums, and some may be featured in those events.

The case studies will be comparatively short (about 750-2500 words) narratives that describe a specific project, organization, work process, or similar undertaking. Studies might focus on any aspect of the “design for diversity” problem space: a more inclusive search interface, an experimental approach to user-generated keywords, an outreach effort, a curricular experiment, a new way of structuring a database, an attempt to teach children about metadata. The goal is to provide information about the project that can enable a reader to understand the problem being addressed, the specific actions, methods, and outcomes, and what was learned (whether through success or failure). Taken as a group, the case studies will compile varied, concrete examples of inclusive practices, demonstrating the concrete ways in which practitioners are supporting the diverse needs of communities and what they learned from their triumphs and failures, and finally, provide a platform for underrepresented practitioners to be heard and contribute their work to the larger conversations.

If you’re interested in contributing a case study, please fill out this Case Study submission form and provide a 3-5 sentence brief summary of the case study you would be interested in sharing. The Design for Diversity team will contact all respondents within 1-2 weeks of the initial proposal date with more information about next steps. All case studies will be published on the Design for Diversity site, and selected case studies will be published as part of the final teaching and learning toolkit. Please subscribe to our email list to receive updates.

Foundational Readings

We will be actively developing this list over Summer 2017. To suggest new resources for this list, please add to the reading list Crowdsourced Bibliography under “Suggested Readings.” Under “Topics for Further Exploration,” please include particular topics or fields that you hope are further developed in this bibliography. Otherwise, feel free to explore the readings and annotations already generated.

If you are interested in joining our Zotero library, please contact us to request access.

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