Archives Records 2019 RMS Annual Meeting

photo of RMS annual meetingNearly 100 people came together last Saturday in Austin, Texas, for the annual meeting of the Records Management Section.  The Society of American Archivists and the Council of State Archivists shook up the schedule this year, so Saturday was a day full of section meetings.  We were pleased with the interest and engagement of the folks who attended.

As the current chair of the section, I presented a brief business report of the steering committee’s activities for 2018-2019.

  • 20 blog posts on The Schedule, ranging from scheduling email to wrangling Google Team Drives and including a new entry in our ongoing series profiling Resourceful Records Managers
  • Posted seed topics for conversations on our listserv during Records and Information Management month in April
  • Continued adding new resources to our Zotero bibliography
  • Hosted two online Hangouts:

I also reported the recent election results, with nearly 200 section members participating:

  • Jessika Drmacich, Records Manager and Digital Resources Archivist at Williams College, will be stepping into the role of Vice-Chair for the coming year, to be followed by a year as Chair, and then a year as Immediate Past Chair.
  • We also have two new steering committee members, who will serve 3-year terms:
    • David Brown is the Archivist and Head of the Office of Records Management Services at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
    • Krista Oldham is the University Archivist at Clemson University

Along with the ballot, we included some survey questions for the section, and we received some good feedback that will help us shape our priorities for the coming year.  Stay tuned for more information on the substantive data, but here’s a look at the demographic data:

graph of education for RMS
All respondents have a college degree, and nearly 90% also have a master’s degree.
graph of certifications among RMS members
About half the voters answered this question about additional certifications. In the Other category, Digital Archives Specialist was most common.
graph of RMS longevity
Nearly 60% of respondents indicated having 10+ years of experience in the field.
graph of RMS institutions
Academic institutions are by far the largest employer of section members, and about a quarter of us work for some level of government.

The bulk of our meeting was spent learning from various panelists about their transformative work in the realm of records management.

  • Jessika Drmacich spoke about her work with collaborative archiving of student records at Williams College and the vital role of relationship building.
  • Katie Howell, University Archivist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, talked about her efforts to groom records liaisons on her campus and to create visually appealing reminders about the importance of good records management.
  • Sarah Jacobson, who is Manager of Recorphoto of panel for RMS annual meetingds Management Assistance at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, spoke to us both about their transition in how they teach records management, focusing more on facilitated learning rather than lecture courses, as well as about their recent clarification of the career ladder for records managers in government positions, which now allows for internal promotion.
  • Krista Oldham, University Archivist, and Brenda Burk, Head of Special Collections and Archives at Clemson University, talked about how they are institutionalizing records management on their campus through the creation of an Advisory Council that brings together Special Collections & Archives, the Office of General Counsel, and the Office of Internal Auditing.
  • Kelly Spring, Access Archivist at East Carolina University, described their work process for migrating data into ArchivesSpace from Archivists’ Toolkit and other homegrown databases.

If you are interested in seeing the slides that accompanied this meeting, they are available here.

I would like to challenge everyone to come up with at least one way in which you can become involved with the Records Management Section this year.  If you have a topic or a work product that you’d like for us to consider adding to our developing agenda, please contact any steering committee member or send us an email at saarecordsmanagement@gmail.com.  You can always post to our discussion list through SAA Connect, and if you’d like to write a post for our blog, once again, please reach out to the steering committee.

If you need some motivation, consider this story I learned while I was in Austin.  In the years before Texas became part of the United States, Sam Houston (president of Texas) wanted to move the capital from Austin to Houston.  He recognized that the government archives identified the seat of power, so he sent a military detachment to remove the records from Austin.  A vigilante group known as the “Committee of Safety” was prompted into action by an innkeeper named Angelina Eberly, who fired a cannon to alert people to the danger.  The people of Austin recovered the government archives and preserved Austin as the capital.  No one can argue records don’t matter!

photo of Angelina Eberly statue
sculpture of Angelina Eberly (by Patrick Oliphant)
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