SAA ’13: Day Five and Six

SAA’ 13 Day 5 and 6

Hey everyone since day 6 was only the morning, I thought I would just go ahead and roll it into day 5 of SAA ’13.

Day 5

Today we got up slightly earlier because the panels started at 9:30 instead of 10:00. Felicia and I actually attended the same panel — which is somewhat unusual for us. The panel was “Part of the Process : the When, Why, and How of Routine Digitization.” Digitization is a big part of what we do at Sam and we are always looking at other examples to see if there are things that we can do better. This panel certainly provided an interesting view of digitization. Each panelist talked about how digitization fits into their workflows and effects the processing of the collections (organizing each collection). One presenter did things the standard way by digitizing at the end of the process while the other digitized somewhere in the middle or near the end. We follow this approach. Felicia processes a collection at Sam Houston then I digitize the collection using the order and arrangement she has chosen. I use this order to reflect the collection in a digital environment. It creates a connection between the collections in both physical and digital form.

In contrast, the last presenter on this panel does things very differently. She worked at a experimental library that digitized at the beginning and didn’t really process at all because the way archivists currently organize materials is not really how researchers search and use online materials. The digital environment dictates the order of the collection. Felicia and I really didn’t get it but argued about it for 15 minutes — talk about nerd love! I am not sure if its something we want to do at Sam Houston but I would love to see how it goes for this library.


For me the afternoon was dominated by data preservation. Sam Houston has decided to tackle our archival digital records that are on physical media. We have business records, photographs, etc. stored on things like cds, dvd, magnetic tape, and hard drives. We have to find a way to remove this items from the media and place them in a safe environment to make sure researchers can use them in the future. Sam Houston took part in the Jump In Initiative which challenged institutions to begin the first steps to managing these digital records.

Sam Houston completed the challenge and wrote about the experience. I then participated in a discussion about the initiative at the Manuscript Repositories section meeting. It was a fun experience and I was glad to contribute in some way.


At 6:50pm, we headed out to the All-Attendee Reception that was held at the World War II museum. The event was catered by John Besh’s American Sector restaurant. We had muffaletta and sloppy joes plus a number of wonderful items. It was a fun evening as we reconnected with friends and colleagues under giant WWII planes.

Day 6


Well, this is the end. Sort of. We had one more panel before we called it a day. The panel was on descriptive standards and how they can apply to digital objects. When people talk about born digital/ digitized material, they rarely talk about how to describe them in ways that users can understand. When they do, it is in very general terms. This panel tried to broach the topic with only an hour and 30 minutes. We found some of the presenters informative and felt like Sam Houston was on the right path with how we describe objects online. Hooray!!

Now it is the end! We quickly packed and checked out of our hotel. Its a 6 hour drive to Huntsville which gives us plenty of time to sing along in the car.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed our small adventure. This blog will return to its regular awesomeness next week.






SAA ’13: Day Four

SAA ’13: Day 4


Well today is the day. SAA officially started. I attempted to tweet about the panels but listening and typing, if only 140 characters, is tough. While Felicia attended a panel on MPLP, I headed over to the panel on cloud storage for born digital materials. I am interested in cloud storage because it seems like a great fix (cheap, away from your institution, frees up resources), but I just have a hard time trusting the some of these large companies — specifically Amazon — will have my interest as a digital archivist at heart. Their goals may align now but it could change. The archivist on the panel seemed to have found success in a number of different ways so maybe I should educate myself some more. Maybe my thoughts are wrong.

Felicia and I traveled a good .5 miles down Poydras St. to eat at Luke’s off of St. Charles. It is a John Besh restaurant so we had high hopes. It was delicious.


I decided to attend the Brave New World: The intersection of Institutional Repositories and University Archives. It was good. They skipped presentations and went pretty much went straight to discussion. A real highlight of the conference so far. One of our goals at Sam Houston (at least in the library) is to create a institutional repository. These IRs naturally come into conflict with the collecting of University Archives so I think it is necessary for those involved is to clearly define the roles of the IR and University Archives before things get rolling.


We attended two big parties. The first was the grand opening of the exhibit hall. At this opening, the vendors try to sell their services. You listen and sometimes they give you free swag. We also got a chance to enjoy some Louisiana cuisine like seafood gumbo and red beans and rice. Staples of the Louisiana diet.

Afterward, we journeyed to the LSU alumni mixer. We saw many of our old friends from school. It was great to catch up. I am so disappointed that I didn’t get any pictures. The party also acted as a celebration for the retirement of Dr. Elizabeth Dow from LSU. Both Felicia and I attended LSU to earn our degrees in library and information science. We also worked as graduate assistants for Dr. Dow and took many of her classes. She has been an important part of our lives– offering guidance and an opportunity to advance in the archives field. Three cheers for Dr. Dow!

On day 5, the conference will continue with more panels and free food.




SAA ’13: Day Three

SAA ‘13: Day 3


This morning I took the dreaded ACA exam. If I passed, it would allow me to call myself a Certified Archivist. Felicia passed the exam a year ago so she knew how stressed I was feeling. The exam was a doozy but I feel that it went well.


After the exam, we jetted off in the rain to visit the historic Cabildo ( the seat of rule for the spanish government in Louisiana). We had a fun time learning about the building and the history of Louisiana and it was worth getting a little wet.
Afterward, we took the trolley back to the hotel. I really like the New Orleans trolley system but wish it would go to other places in town. 

In the evening, Felicia attend the Archon/Archivist Toolkit roundtable to scare herself about the new ArchivesSpace system that will replace Archon in the future. Felicia spent a year getting Archon implemented at Sam Houston, so she is not overly excited about ArchivesSpace.
I used the opportunity to meet with Colleen Theisen who runs the and I had such a good time talking about tumblr that I forgot to get a picture for tumblr. She is really busting a move on tumblr with her miniature book gifs. I have mentioned it several times, but you should be following her.


We thought we would do something special for Wednesday night, so we chose swing dancing lessons. We travelled down to the Spotted Cat Jazz Club on Frenchman Street. Man that was a work out. We learned to do some west coast style swing dancing and the Charleston. I didn’t pick it up very quick like Felicia. I think I have two left feet but Felicia disagrees. We eventually ended up with something that looked like the Charleston. My advice is stretch and don’t wear vans.

On Day 4 the SAA ‘13 conference officially starts. I can’t wait!





SAA’13: Day Two

SAA13: Day 2


Today we both attended the pre-conference workshops. I attended Managing Electronic Records in Archives & Special Collections while Felicia took part in Reappraising and Deaccessioning Archival Material from Start to Finish. I enjoyed my training workshop. It was geared to managers who are building an electronic record initiative. At Sam Houston, we are trying to build an initiative to manage our electronic records. Though we have previously not had a dedicated electronic records manager, I decide to take on managing the initiative and we are moving forward. The course was a good way to learn how to map out and structure the initiative with policies and procedures.


We decided to eat at our hotel since we did not have a long lunch break and it was pouring outside. I talked about how hot New Orleans would be all week, turns out I was wrong. The hotel restaurant was good. A tad pricey but the charbroiled oysters were awesome. It also provided an opportunity to check in with an old friend from school and meet a new one.


Felicia and I decided to head to the Palace Cafe at the suggestion of my mother. Once again it was delicious as you can tell from the photos above. The crab cheesecake was to die for.

Day 3 I will take the ACA exam and Felicia and I will take swing dancing lessons. See you all tomorrow!






SAA ’13: Day One

SAA13 Day 1:

We arrived in New Orleans one day ahead of the conference and thought we would take in some of the sights and sounds of the town.

After eating lunch at Elizabeth’s Resturant in the Bywater area of town (which was soooo good by the way), we found our way to Euclid Records. New Orleans has a number of good record shops (Domino Shack, Mushroom, and Iron Rail) but Euclid is really cool and has a wider variety them some of the others. It has the largest selection by far. Felicia picked up a highly recommended record of Zydeco tunes- we are looking forward to listening to it.


Once, we were satisfied with our purchases, we made our way to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. I had never been to the Ogden in all my years of coming to New Orleans. We were both impressed. It had a good mix of new and old; weird and normal. Two thumbs up!
(I enjoyed the painting that featured Black Flag’s Henry Rollins)

At night, we had the pleasure of meeting up with our friend from graduate school at LSU who is now a librarian at the Algeirs Public Library. She took us back to the Bywater area to a place called Bacanal Wine and Spirits. The food was delicious but not very filling. It was more artisan food (quality over quantity). We have never had bacon wrapped dates before but we approve of the concept. After our snack-sized entrée’s, our friend ordered a cheese platter — which was pretty awesome! This was a wine shop after all. That was a nice spread of delicious cheese. During our dinner, we also enjoyed a celloist singing some smooth French jams. Only in New Orleans!

Tomorrow will kick off the real SAA festivaties with two pre-conference workshops.
See you tomorrow!