• 05 Aug 2020 9:43 PM | Brittan Nannenga

    If you’re attending this year’s virtual Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists or plan on following what’s happening online, CAA has a few ways for you to keep up with the action!

    New this year! If you want to connect with other CAA members for some informal conversations about conference sessions and activities, then join us on CAA Slack in the #saa2020 channel.

    We also invite you to use the #CAAatSAA2020 hashtag when posting content on social media, and follow our posts on Facebook and Twitter about conference activities, including Chicago area archivists’ participation in conference presentations.

  • 03 Aug 2020 10:55 AM | Daniel Harper

    Adopted by the Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee on July 31, 2020.

    CAA stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and condemns the police brutality that ended the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Laquan McDonald, Jemel Roberson, Bettie Jones, Quintonio LeGrier, and many other named and unnamed Black lives.

    Racism and its deadly consequences are rooted in the history of the United States and these incidents are the direct result of the legacy of slavery, oppression, violence, and death that structural racism has imposed on Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC) and their communities. Structural racism and a culture of white supremacy permeate  our society and systems. It is evident in Chicago in a number of ways, including extreme segregation, housing, education inequality, environmental injustices, overpoliced communities, and corruption within the police department. 

    Archives in Chicago are no exception. We acknowledge the ways that archives and the archival profession have supported and continue to support racist systems and practices. Archives support a culture of white supremacy when they maintain a historical record that is primarily white and male and when they exclude or distort voices of communities of color. We, as archivists, need to center and amplify voices of BIPOC individuals and organizations within the historical record. We must identify and dismantle harmful and racist practices in all aspects of archival work, including collecting, descriptive practices, programming, and exhibits.

    As members of a profession, archivists are overwhelmingly white and female. Archival institutions and workers exclude and alienate BIPOC archivists and reinforce white supremacy. They do that through microaggressions at work, racist actions toward colleagues, and racially-coded hiring practices, and workplace culture.

    We acknowledge that CAA needs to change. By not actively working to address the structural racism inherent in the archives in the Chicago area and within the organization itself, CAA has largely ignored and contributed to the inequalities in our profession. CAA has done harm to BIPOC archivists by perpetuating a white supremacist culture that has discouraged some persons from joining our organization. As part of this work, the CAA Steering Committee and Subcommittees will strive to more actively engage CAA’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusion, to support and empower BIPOC archivists and students, and to continue to work to identify and dismantle racism within the CAA organization.

    We implore our membership to join us. We will strive to provide our membership with the resources and tools to do this kind of anti-racist work within their institutions. We all have a role to play in the fight for justice and equality. Whether you are a student or the director of an archive, a librarian or a records manager, or anywhere in between, archives play a role in our professional and personal lives. We joined CAA because we care about archives and the archival profession as a whole. We all have work to do, and we urge our white and non-Black membership, in particular, to prioritize anti-racist work and professional engagement. 

    To that end, CAA has compiled a list of readings and resources to educate and support all of us as we work to combat racism in our organization and institutions and cultivate a more inclusive archival profession, a truly representative historical record, and equal access to our collections. We encourage our members to share resources and participate in an ongoing discussion about these concerns. 

    We all can and must do better.


    Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee

    Dan Harper, chair

    Rene Aranzamendez

    Ashley Howdeshell

    Erin Matson

    Michelle McCoy

    Rebekah McFarland

    Andy Meyer

    Andrew Thompson

  • 21 Jul 2020 12:36 PM | Jill Waycie

    Thanks to those who joined the subcommittee chairs for a happy hour info session on July 9th! 6 members joined the 5 chairs and co-chairs for some drinks, conversation, and Q&A about CAA's three subcommittees (Outreach and Member Engagement, Programming, and Special Events). 

    As a reminder, members are welcome to join subcommittees at any time! If you missed this session and have questions or are interested in joining, you can find more information and contact info for committee chairs here:

    If you missed this event, don't worry as there are other events coming soon!

  • 14 Jul 2020 2:10 AM | Doris Cardenas (Administrator)

    On Monday, June 29th, twenty-six CAA members attended the fifth virtual event in the What's Your DAM? series. Mel Leverich, Archivist and Collections Librarian for the Leather Archives & Museum, gave an enlightening presentation. 

    Mel began by giving a brief history of the organization and how she was familiar with the system that they now use, CollectiveAccess. She stated that she learned by doing and goes on a forum and wiki for information when needed. Mel had to learn how to edit and read PHP and customize the system with an XML format.  

    Mel discussed the pros and cons of the system and illustrated how she uses it to process collections. Many attendees were impressed with how the system can conceptualize events, not just items. According to Mel, CollectiveAccess is very flexible and customizable, but that can also be a downside. 

    Thank you to everyone who attended this event. A special thank you to Mel for taking the time out of her day to give us an informative and interesting presentation! 

  • 06 Jul 2020 2:32 PM | Doris Cardenas (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, June 24th, thirty-three CAA members attended the fourth virtual event in the What's Your DAM? series. Alison Hinderliter, the Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives, and Jennifer Thom Dalzin, the Director of Digital Initiatives and Services, from the Newberry Library joined us to discuss their search for a new system.

    Alison began by providing background information on the current system, Piction. After eight years of using Piction, the Newberry Library has outgrown the system and Piction is nearing its end of life. She also explained that they use other systems, such as CONTENTdm, in order to handle other content. 

    Jennifer continued by explaining the needs of the Newberry and how they began the process. A cross-institutions committee was created as well as needs assessment and product evaluation documents.

    The Newberry Library hopes to migrate and implement a new system by 2020-2021. Alison and Jennifer concluded by stating that they are glad to share their documentation with others who are undertaking the same venture. 

    Thank you to everyone who attended this event. A special thanks to Alison and Jennifer for their wonderful presentation and showing members what it takes to undergo this endeavor!  

  • 29 Jun 2020 8:23 PM | Doris Cardenas (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, June 16th, thirty-one CAA members attended the third virtual event in the What's Your DAM? series. Justine Tobiasz, the archivist for WBEZ Archives, gave an engaging presentation and began by telling us about her Fine Arts background and how she arrived in the world of archives. 

    Attendees were shown how WBEZ uses CollectiveAccess, an open source software, and learned that the archives are for internal use only. According to Justine, CollectiveAccess has its strength in complex cataloging, but is not intuitive. 

    Towards the end of the presentation, Justine shared a gem from the collection and played a recording of an interview of Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger Disaster. 

    Thank you Justine for your fantastic presentation and thank you to all who attended the event! 

  • 16 Jun 2020 6:30 PM | Doris Cardenas (Administrator)

    On Thursday, June 4th, thirty-nine CAA members attended the second virtual event in the What's Your DAM? series. Sara Chapman, the Executive Director of Media Burn Archive, was the guest speaker.

    Sara gave an overview of the organization and explained that the collection starts in 1970. It is mostly documentary videos, but Media Burn also has short videos, experimental videos, and narrative animation. 

    Sara illustrated how she uses the Independent Media Arts Preservation (IMAP) template database which was started in the 1990s. It is a Filemaker Pro database which can be exported to either Dublin Core or MARC.  

    Thank you everyone who attended the virtual event and showed great interest in the talk with their comments and questions. A special thanks to Sara for taking time out of her day to speak to CAA members!

  • 27 May 2020 5:12 PM | Doris Cardenas (Administrator)

    Last Thursday May 21st, twenty CAA members attended the first virtual event in the series What's Your DAM? Jenai Cutcher, the founding Executive and Artistic Director for Chicago Dance History Project, gave an insightful and interesting talk. 

    Jenai provided a personal background and discussed the various roles she has as an artist, tap dancer, writer, and journalist and now as an archivist. She spoke about her use of SalesForce, a customer relations management system and how it was customized to suit her needs. Attendees were shown how SalesForce works and Jenai gladly answered all questions and welcomed comments. 

    Thank you so much to everyone who attended the event and special thanks to Jenai for taking the time to speak to CAA members!

  • 02 Apr 2020 4:33 PM | Hathaway Hester

    Dear Colleagues,

    The results are in! Introducing your new CAA Steering Committee members for 2020-2022:

    Ashley Howdeshell

    Assistant University Archivist

    Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections


    Erin Matson

    Librarian and Archivist

    Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 


    Andy Meyer

    Director of Archives and Special Collections

    North Park University    


    Andrew Thompson

    Accessions Supervisor

    University of Chicago, Special Collections

    Thank you to everyone who volunteered to run for Steering Committee and thank you to those who voted!
  • 23 Mar 2020 2:13 PM | Jerice Barrios

    The Archives and Archivists of Color interest group is very pleased to announce G'Jordan Williams as the winner of the 2020 Travel Fund Award.

    G'Jordan is a graduate student as well as Archives Associate and Education Programs Coordinator at DuSable Museum of African American History. In their application essay they wrote, "I plan to apply all skills gained, and all relationships formed to aid my mission to assist Black communities in safeguarding culture by applying transformative information science. Further, I plan to use the professional network acquired at the conference to help secure funding and resources appropriated for those who will take on the privilege of culture curation." 

    Congratulations to G' Jordan, and many thanks to CAA members and friends for making this award possible. In light of the cancellation of MAC 2020, the Travel Fund Award will be used in the coming year to send G'Jordan to the archives conference of their choice. More details will be shared as they become available.

    Update:  G'Jordan Williams used the Travel Fund Award to attend the 2022 MAC meeting in Madison, WI. See

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