• 16 Nov 2020 10:55 AM | Doris Cardenas

    The Programming Subcommittee invites you to submit a story for our Chicago Archives in the Time of Covid series. This written series will be published on the News Section of the CAA website and will be an opportunity for members to share how your work and life has been affected by the pandemic. This has been a very complex and difficult time for many; we have also seen so many stories of hope, love, and perseverance. Through it all, many of us and our places of employment or school have tried to adapt to this new reality to continue our work as best as we can. We would like to chronicle how this has impacted our CAA community and hear from our members what life has been like these past 8 months.

    If you are interested, please share a few paragraphs with us about your work and life since March and a photo that is representative of your experience (e.g. yourself at your new work-from-home station, something interesting you have been working on, a newly adopted pet, etc). We have included a few prompts below to help, please feel free to answer any or all of these questions, or respond in your own way without the prompts. You can send replies or questions directly to me at

    • How did your work change during the pandemic? If you shifted to working from home how has your employer or school handled the transition?
    • What are some of the difficulties you have faced working in this new environment? What are some of the benefits?
    • Did you become an expert sourdough maker, learn how to knit, or run a virtual marathon? Please feel free to share any personal accomplishments or news, new hobbies, or skills you have gained over these past eight months.

  • 02 Nov 2020 12:58 PM | Doris Cardenas

    CAA members are sharing stories of how the pandemic has affected their lives and work. Here is the first story of our web series submitted by Drew Davis from the College of American Pathologists.

    Pandemics, Anniversaries and Preschool

    COVID-19 has presented a unique challenge to archivists. As professionals whose fates are bound to our collections, COVID forced some of us to forge a new workflow apart from the physical materials in our repositories. Other archivists currently face the loss of their position and the difficult task of seeking new employment during a pandemic. COVID continues to touch archivists and their loved ones on both ends of this spectrum.

    My experience falls somewhere between these extremes. My organization, a nonprofit medical association, is approaching our 75th anniversary next year. To commemorate, we are producing an updated organizational history edited by one of our former presidents. My original task in this work was to conduct historical review of this publication, while my supervisor served as a staff-member liaison and managed the financial and contractual aspects of the project. Unfortunately, my supervisor sadly and unexpectedly passed away from a non-COVID related medical complication in March of this year. Her death occurred at the same time that our organization shifted to remote work, and I had to simultaneously adjust to working from home, reporting to a new supervisor and taking on many of my former supervisor’s project duties.

     In addition, working from home with young children has proved extremely difficult. My children (aged 3 and 5) both started remote preschool in September, and on many days I must unexpectedly leave my “office” (our basement) to help corral them back into their virtual classrooms. Other times of day I find myself trying to focus on a task while the sound of little footsteps patter back and forth across the ceiling above me. There has been more than one occasion where my children have been “surprise guests” in a staff meeting. While I did receive permission to come into the archives one day a week to work on reference requests, it is unclear if that permission will be rolled back as Illinois infection rates climb back up.

    I have settled into a COVID working routine, and with the help of a part-time assistant archivist have been able to maintain the workflow of the archives and our historical publication despite working (mostly) offsite. While I consider myself extremely lucky that I still have an archives job, I cannot deny that I yearn for the days when personal coworker interaction and work in my stacks were the norm.

  • 22 Oct 2020 10:05 AM | Daniel Harper

    The Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee would like to announce a new pilot program, the CAA Resume Review.

    Members can participate in two ways:

    1. Members can volunteer to review resumes and provide comments to members submitting their resumes for review.

    2. Members can submit their resumes for review and receive comments from fellow CAA members.

    If you would like to volunteer to review resumes, please fill out the following form:

    Resume Reviewer Volunteer Form

    If you like to have your resume reviewed by fellow CAAers, please fill out the form below. Since this form will require you to upload files, you will be asked to sign into your Google account.

    Submit Resume for Review

    Members at all stages of their careers are encouraged to participate!

    If you volunteer to review resumes, you will be sent one to two resumes with no contact information and asked to return comments to the service coordinator.

    If you would like your resume reviewed, it will be assigned to a CAA volunteer who will provide comments and suggestions through the service coordinator.

    CAA will make every effort to keep reviewers and reviewees anonymous, but we cannot guarantee anonymity.

    As this is a pilot program, we will set a deadline for the first round of reviewers and reviewees to submit by October 30, 2020. CAA hopes to offer additional rounds if the pilot program is successful and utilized by members

    .If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Howdeshell at

  • 14 Sep 2020 2:36 PM | Jill Waycie

    As of September 1, 2020, the Steering Committee has approved a change in prorated initial membership length for new members and renewal periods for existing members:

    All renewals and new memberships received on or after September 1 will be applied to the following year.

    If you're a new member, this gives you 16 months for the price of 12! If you're renewing, you now have even more time to renew your membership (we'll still send you the usual reminders).

    More details about joining CAA or renewing your membership can be found here.

  • 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

    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

    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

    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! 

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