• 18 Apr 2016 9:52 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    CAA is seeking host sites for our second annual Chicago Open Archives. This three-day event in October is a great opportunity for archives, museums, and historical societies to engage with a broader audience than is usually possible. Our inspiration comes from similar events in Portland, Sacramento, and Cambridge, as well as CAA’s successful inaugural event in Chicago in 2015.

    This year’s event will take place 6-8 October. Our theme, Yours to Explore, invites Chicagoans interested in history and cultural heritage to explore the stories that your collections tell, the role of your institution in your community, and the many different types of materials that archives hold. Your institution can participate by offering an activity that highlights your collections and programs in the way that best suits your situation.

    Last year, 26 Chicago-area institutions offered a wide range of activities, from behind the scenes tours to gallery talks to workshops. The Newberry Library took visitors to the manuscripts and archives processing space where they viewed materials and discussed the Library’s collaboration with the Chicago Dance History Group. At Media Burn Independent Video Archive, which is normally not open to the public, visitors learned how the organization is making historic footage available online and enjoyed a short screening. At the Benedictine University Archives in Lisle, more than 45 visitors stopped by for an open house that offered an opportunity to see historic photos and view highlights from the rare book collection.

    Please join us as host site for Chicago Open Archives: Yours to Explore. Sign-up begins in mid-April and runs through June. Learn more at

    “I think this event is a great idea, it encourages researchers to investigate these hidden gems in Chicago.”

    “I really enjoyed seeing the National Archives for the first time. [Staff] provided a fantastic tour of the facilities and highlighted many interesting archival materials.”

    Photo: Chicago Open Archives tour at the Newberry Library, 2015. Courtesy of Kelly Kress/Alison Hinderliter/Catherine Grandgeorge.

  • 01 Apr 2016 1:08 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt
    Thanks to everyone who came out on Wednesday! The Steering Committee will send out the official minutes soon, but in the meantime here are the meeting highlights:
    • The Steering Committee shared our annual report for 2015
    • The Events, Outreach, and Professional Development subcommittees shared all of the great projects they worked on this year. All committees, but particularly Events and Professional Development, put out a call for new volunteers
      • Aaisha Haykal and Hathaway Hester will continue as co-chairs for Professional Development
      • Erin Matson will be the new chair of Outreach
      • Kristin MacDonough and Laura Alagna will be the new co-chairs of Events
    • Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts shared a report from last year's very successful Chicago Open Archives!
    • Sarah Yarrito and Amy Belotti shared this year's COA theme (Yours to Explore), dates (Oct. 6-8) and noted that we will start soliciting participating sites very soon
    • We shared the results of our member survey, including a summary
    • Four members are running for the four open spots on the Steering Committee - we'll vote next week for Drew Davis (incumbent), George Kutsunis (incumbent), Greer Martin, and Martin Firestein
    • The bid to host MAC in Chicago in 2018 is well underway

    Thanks to everyone again and here's to a great 2016 with CAA!

  • 15 Mar 2016 3:06 PM | Amber Dushman (Administrator)

    Don't forget the deadline for Steering Committee submissions is tomorrow, March 16!  

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from longtime Steering Committee member, Andy Steadham, about the time and commitment needed for Steering.

    While serving on the governing board of an organization like CAA might sound like an enormous time commitment, the reality is less daunting. And the time invested pays back dividends in experience.

    Because we are all volunteers with other jobs, steering members strive to be respectful of one another’s time. We typically meet once a month, usually on a weekday evening at different locations in the city. Meetings typically last about two hours and consists of reviewing reports summarizing changes in membership, our financial outlook, and the activities of our three subcommittees. The reports are then followed by discussion of ongoing projects, most of which have to do with administration and governance. In between meetings, Steering conducts some business by email.

    Over the last five years, the primary task of Steering has been supporting our subcommittees by providing guidance and direction as they plan and implement CAA activities. Between steering and the subcommittees, responsibilities are distributed broadly, so that no one person bears too much of the burden of keeping the organization running smoothly.

    It takes a team of members with initiative and motivation to have a real impact on what CAA does and how successfully it operates. Please consider joining the Steering Committee. Deadline for submissions is tomorrow, March 16.

    Feel free to contact Andy or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

  • 14 Mar 2016 9:06 AM | Amber Dushman (Administrator)

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from another Steering Committee member, George Kutsunis, current Vice Chair.

    When I joined the Steering Committee in 2014, I had lived in the Chicago area for all of 4 months and I had only been out of school and in the archival profession less than three years. Considering that, I would not have even considered putting my name in for the committee if I hadn’t been prodded by another archivist. What could I possibly contribute? I barely knew much about the profession or the area myself.

    “You should do this. You would be good at it.”

    What I learned very quickly on Steering is that the CAA is here to serve all of its members, including those who are new in town and new to the profession or not even out of school yet. In some ways these members have the most to gain from the CAA. Likewise the Steering Committee only benefits from having voices from all over the profession. Who can better advocate for the needs of recent graduates than a recent graduate? Or recognize the importance of networking opportunities than someone who doesn’t yet have a network of their own?

    So let me take the opportunity to prod all the out-of-towners, recent grads and students, and even those who have had to take a job out of the profession: you should join Steering, your voice would be good for us

    If you’re new to Chicago or the profession, don’t let that discourage from joining Steering, please consider joining the Steering Committee. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 16.

    Feel free to contact George or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

  • 03 Mar 2016 9:51 PM | Megan Keller Young (Administrator)

    RAAC is participating in Educopia's IMLS grant project known as Mapping the Landscapes regarding continuing education and professional development (CE/PD). The Mapping the Landscapes project is the first comprehensive effort to establish a national dataset related to CE/PD within and across the library, archives, and museum sectors. This project is a joint effort of the Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries and Museums ("Coalition"), the Educopia Institute, and TrueBearing Consulting, funded through a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

    You are invited to complete the Mapping the Landscapes survey between now and March 24, 2016. This survey is designed to gather important information on common and unique individual wants and needs for CE/PD across these three sectors. The information gained from this project will advance efforts to make CE/PD more relevant, accessible, and effective in supporting professional development for you and your colleagues.

    As a professional who relies on CE/PD resources, this is an opportunity for your voice to be heard! To take the survey right away, just click the following link (one response per device, please)​:

    Take the Mapping the Landscapes Survey

    If you want to learn more, see the Frequently Asked Questions at this link: Mapping the Landscapes FAQs

    The survey will be available until March 24, 2016. If you have any questions about this project, please contact Dr. Nathan Brown, Project Research Lead, at

  • 03 Mar 2016 12:34 PM | Amber Dushman (Administrator)

    During CAA’s Steering Committee Election, we’d like to hear from Steering Committee members about their work with CAA. Gretchen Neidhardt joined the CAA Steering Committee in November 2015, making her the most recent member to join, however, she’s been an active participate in CAA since 2013.

    While my time with Steering has been brief, I have worked with the committee closely for most of my involvement with CAA. With Megan Keller, I co-chaired the Outreach subcommittee from 2014-2015. We worked with the Steering committee to implement lots of great activities for CAA, including starting social media accounts (and creating the policies to make sure those accounts are sustainable) and creating a Chicago Open Archives working group to plan the great event we held in October of last year.

    In the time I have been on Steering, I’ve been able to help set into motion further social media involvement with our community, streamlining our communications procedures, and setting up a working group for this year’s Open Archives event. It’s great to be able to continue my Outreach efforts on the Steering committee and I’m very excited to participate in future endeavors to benefit local archives and archivists! You’re also working with a very kind and enthusiastic group who are very passionate about promoting archives in the Chicago area.

    If you’re interested in working on projects and programs to benefit area archivists, please consider joining the Steering Committee. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 16.

    Feel free to contact Gretchen or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

  • 26 Feb 2016 3:42 PM | Amber Dushman (Administrator)

    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.

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

    • Establishing programmatic goals for the organization
    • 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
    • New this year, expanding communications efforts for the CAA

    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 who 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.

    Candidates for the four open seats for the 2016-18 term will be elected by a vote of CAA members cast electronically after the Members Meeting on Wednesday, March 30 2016. Election results will be announced shortly after the Members Meeting.

    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 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 prior to the Members Meeting. Candidates will also have an opportunity to introduce themselves at the meeting on March 30.

    The deadline to submit your Statement is Wednesday, March 16 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

  • 04 Feb 2016 1:12 PM | Megan Keller Young (Administrator)

    For those who are interested, NHPRC recently scheduled three webinars in February to talk with prospective applicants about the National Archives' Access to Historical Records grant program. These webinars are very helpful for anyone considering a grant application.

    Webinars will be held on the following dates and times:

    Thursday, 11 February @ 3:30 p.m. Eastern

    Wednesday, 17 February @ 3:30 p.m. Eastern

    Monday, 22 February @ 2:00 p.m. Eastern

    Here is the link to the blog announcing the webinars:

  • 26 Jan 2016 9:28 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    Here's the latest news from the Regional Archival Associations Consortium!

    Updating the Directory of Archival Organizations in the United States and Canada (via RAAC Membership Committee)

    The RAAC Membership Committee is working on updating the Directory of Archival Organizations in the United States and Canada.

    Anita Mechler, the CAA-RAAC liaison made sure to complete the 2016 SAA Regional Archival Associations Survey in order to ensure that CAA is accurately represented on the Directory.

    U.S. Congressional Omnibus Appropriations Bill

    On December 18, Congress approved a $1.15 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2016. The vote in the House was 316-113 and the vote in the Senate was 65-33. President Obama has indicated he will sign the bill.

    Of particular note is level funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The original appropriations bill considered in the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee would have cut NHPRC’s FY’ 16 budget by 40 percent from the FY’ 15 level of $5 million to $3 million. The situation allowed NCH to use the contacts gained from the History Caucus, and the cut was rescinded at the House Appropriations Committee markup. The NHPRC was only program in the entire bill to have funding restored.

    Thank you to everyone who responded to our legislative alerts throughout this year asking you to contact Congress on funding issues.

    Call out for Digital Preservation Training at the RAAC Symposium (via RAAC Education Committee)

    The Education Subcommittee of RAAC is hoping to offer a session about digital preservation training at the RAAC Symposium next fall.  We are looking for someone who can talk about digital preservation, available resources, and how to offer training  to regional archival groups.  If you’ve had experience with offering training to regional groups…even better!!

    If you are interested in speaking or know someone who may be, please contact Jennifer Brannock at or 601.266.4347.

  • 21 Dec 2015 11:23 AM | Megan Keller Young (Administrator)

    As a result of the discussion at Regional Archival Associations Consortium's (RAAC) annual meeting at SAA and the previously outlined goals in RAAC's 3-year plan, this year the Grant Development Committee will be working on the following:

    • Foster collaborative grant writing projects among RAAC participants. Projects could include multi-regional programming grants; preservation grants focused on public awareness or digitization; regional hubs for cold storage, digital storage, or film preservation.
    • Continue to add data to the Grant Resource Guide, especially for states that are not represented. Establish a schedule for verifying that information and links for existing resources are current. 

    In addition, there will be a RAAC Symposium held the Tuesday of SAA week. Each subcommittee will be required to put together one panel for the symposium - more details on that as they develop. 

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