News

  • 26 Jan 2015 9:09 AM | Anonymous member

    Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Chicago archives community? Consider volunteering to serve on the Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee. Not only will you get to work closely with some of your colleagues in the profession, but CAA service is a great way to gain valuable experience in preparation for service in regional and national archival organizations.

    Think you aren’t experienced enough to serve on the Steering Committee? Think again: any organization needs fresh viewpoints to remain vibrant. And CAA is meant to serve the needs of all of its members, including those that are new to the profession.

    Worried about over-committing yourself? Steering Committee members are elected to two year terms that begin and end at the Members Meeting in March. The time commitment is relatively minimal, consisting of monthly in-person meetings with occasional business conducted by email.

    Wonder what the Steering Committee does? The Steering Committee is tasked with:

    • Establishing programmatic goals for the organization
    • Circulating information to and responding to the needs of CAA members
    • Representing CAA within the larger profession and to the general public
    • Setting standards to ensure the sustainability of CAA

    Curious about how Steering Committee members are elected? Four members of the CAA Steering Committee are nearing the end of their 2013-15 terms:

    • Rob DeLand
    • Amber Dushman
    • Jessica Farrell
    • Andy Steadham

    Candidates for the four open seats for the 2015-17 term will be elected by a vote of CAA members cast electronically. Election results will be announced at the Members Meeting on Monday, March 23, 2015.

    Service on the Steering Committee is open to all CAA members in good standing. To volunteer, submit a brief (1-2 paragraphs) Statement of Interest outlining your background and motivation for serving on the Steering Committee to info@chicagoarchivists.org. Please include your full name, title, place of work (if applicable), and preferred contact phone and email address. Statements of interest will be distributed to CAA members.

    The deadline to submit your Statement is Monday, February 9, 2015 at 5:00pm.

    Want more information? Contact information for current Steering Committee Members is available on the CAA Website. Please reach out to one of them and ask about his or her service on Steering. 

    Please send general questions or comments to info@chicagoarchivists.org.


  • 20 Jan 2015 8:28 PM | Audra V. Adomenas
    The minutes from the November 11, 2014 CAA Steering Committee Meeting have been approved and are available to view online here.


  • 19 Jan 2015 11:02 AM | Anonymous member

    On Friday, 16 January 2015, Chicago Area Archivists hosted 18 people for the presentation Managing Digital Content Over Time, led by Andy Steadham, Archives Specialist at Rotary International. Based on curriculum developed by the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education arm, the presentation offered one CAA member’s disclosure of how he is tackling digital preservation in his shop.

    Thanks are due to Keith Helt, Archivist at Crown Family Philanthropies, for serving as site host.

    As several people asked to be placed on a waiting list for this event, CAA is considering offering the presentation again later this year. Watch for updates via the CAA listserv or on our website at http://chicagoarchivists.org/events.

    Questions about CAA? Visit our website or email info@chicagoarchivists.org.



  • 18 Jan 2015 6:36 PM | Anonymous member
    Each year, Chicago Metro History Fair students in grades 6-12 select a topic related to Chicago history, then dive deep into research to develop their own interpretation or argument which they then present for evaluation by community-minded judges. Through this research and evaluation process, students gain important historical and critical thinking skills that will carry them through high school and prepare them for college.

    Please consider volunteering as a History Fair judge this year. Many CAA members (and non-members) have volunteered in the past and found it to be a very rewarding experience. This is an excellent opportunity to support Chicago students and see the connections they make between Chicago history and the 2014-2015 National History Day theme, Leadership & Legacy in History.

    There are several evening and weekend judging opportunities in February, March, and April. No prior experience is necessary. The Chicago Metro History Education Center provides orientation on the day of the event and pairs new judges with veteran judges.

    Visit History Fair’s registration page to learn more and sign up as a volunteer.

    President John F. Kennedy meets Rotary members at the White House in 1961. Photo: Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. JFKWHP-AR6919-B.


  • 13 Jan 2015 12:52 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    The December newsletter from the Robert M. Myers Archives and SVD Resource Center is now available. Check out their latest archives news!

  • 10 Dec 2014 9:08 AM | Anonymous
    A huge "Thank You!" to everyone who came out last night (December 9th), to the Exchequer, to celebrate the season with CAA. The Events Subcommittee was very pleased with the turn-out and hopes that everyone enjoyed themselves. We had a total of 74 attendees!! As always there was plenty of great food, drinks and conversation. Guests that registered before November 15th received their free CAA T-shirt at the party. For those of you who did not register in time for your free T-shirt, or if you did register in time but want additional CAA merchandise, visit the Cafe Press site. Happy Holidays!


    If you missed this event, don’t worry – there will be more events throughout the year at a variety of

    dates, times, and locations. Coming soon:


    ● Digital Preservation Workshop - January (stay tuned)

    ● CAA Annual Members Meeting - March

    ● Archives Salon - May


    Have an idea for a CAA event? Contact the CAA Events Subcommitee at heatherlanctot@gmail.com or info@chicagoarchivists.org with your suggestions.
  • 08 Dec 2014 1:08 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt
    If you didn’t RSVP to the CAA Holiday Party in time to get a free t-shirt, fret not! The Outreach Committee is pleased to present a CafePress site for CAA swag! Enjoy your coffee in a travel mug emblazoned with the fabulous new CAA logo, or tell the world you’re an archivist with one of the many tote bag options.

    If you’d like an item that isn’t available at the store, contact msmegankeller@gmail.com or gretchenneidhardt@gmail.com with your suggestions. And feel free to pass along a photo of yourself with your new purchase for possible inclusion on the CAA website!
  • 02 Dec 2014 9:23 AM | Anonymous



    On Thursday, November 20th, the Chicago Area Archivists Professional Development Committee sponsored a panel discussion entitled “Archive Professionals in Non-Traditional Archival Settings” with panelists Laura Fu, who is the Digital Content Manager at Sears Holdings Corporation; Lauren Breyer, who is the Archivist at State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company; Allan Berry, who is the Web Application Developer at the UIC Library with the Chicago Collections Consortium; Andrew Altepeter, who is the Information Governance Analyst at Motorola Solutions, Inc.; and was moderated very well by Drew Davis, who is the Historical Resources Specialist at Motorola Solutions Heritage Services & Archives as well as a CAA steering committee and professional development subcommittee member.

    Each panelist provided a description of their career paths, discussed what they do in their current positions, and tips for individuals who are looking to either change careers or entering the job market. Some of the important tips from the panel included

    For Job Seekers

    • Job applicants need to able to translate their skills
    • Be brave and take risks. Andrew talked about this in relation to moving from an public history background to information governance position. 
    • Don’t be afraid to create your own position. An institution may not even know they need an archivist or a records manager until you point it out to them. Therefore, you have to package your skill set and tell a story about how your skills will fit in with their business.
    • Call and/or contact people who have positions that you want. This means that if you are traveling to a new city, reach out the library, museum, or archives there to schedule a visit.

    For All Employees

    • Advocate for your users to the administrative stakeholders in doing so you create advocates for your unit, which is useful when there are issues or budgetary cuts.
    • The parent institution/company drives the nature of your own business therefore, see how your unit can benefit the overall mission of the institution and look for ways you can add value to another unit (two examples provided by the panelists were: The old Sears catalog photos or the old State Farm photos)
    • “Always be kind, be gracious.  Never burn your bridges.” This will refers to the fact that the profession is small and you never know when you may need to call upon someone for assistance. These can be people who are your personal advocates or may be the housekeeping staff of your institution who know where the clean-up supplies are when you have a disaster.
    • Don’t doubt the role of soft skills in the hiring process, one can teach technical skills, but soft skills are to teach. These soft skills include: writing, communication, research, learning agility, accountability, critical thinking skills, building relationships, openness, friendliness, etc. (see here for a longer list https://bemycareercoach.com/soft-skills/list-soft-skills.html)
    • Understand the lens that you view through and then look at your work critically through your lens.  Look at it like a camp site: you leave it better than you found it. 
    • Challenge your own perspective and understand the difference between the ideal and the reality. 
    • Be sure to keep current by reading professional journals, attend conferences, take courses/workshops either online or in person. A couple of good online possibilities include Lynda.com and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

    Places to look for positions


  • 17 Nov 2014 12:26 PM | Anonymous member

    I am pleased to announce that Anita Mechler has joined the Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee. Anita responded to our call for volunteers to fill the open seat for the 2014-16 term created when our colleague Lisa Calahan resigned to take a new job as Head of Archival Processing at the University of Minnesota.

    Anita is the Director of the Library and Archives at the Union League of Chicago and has expressed a drive to help support the local archives community. Thanks to Anita for joining our team.

    CAA members interested in the Steering Committee should watch for a forthcoming call for volunteers to fill open seats for the 2015-17 term. Voting for the 2015-17 term will be open to CAA members only and will take place online in the month prior to the Annual Meeting in March (exact date, time, and location to be determined).

    Questions or comments can be sent to info@chicagoarchivists.org.

    Andy Steadham, Steering Committee Chair (2013-15)

  • 11 Nov 2014 8:54 PM | Audra V. Adomenas
    The minutes from the October 7, 2014 CAA Steering Committee Meeting have been approved and are available to view online here.


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