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Assessment: What did you think of the book and this process? March 10, 2010

Posted by Kate T. in Administration, The Whole Book.
13 comments

Now that we’ve come to the end, I’m interested in your reactions to both the book and to this “group read.” If you were writing a review of the book, what would you say? For what audience would you recommend it? What kind of follow-up do you think it calls for? Has it made you think about how you carry out your responsibilities in your own archives?

And, what did you think of this group read? Did the blog format work well for the material? Was the pace too fast, too slow, or just right? What could be improved? Do you think there are other kinds of professional readings that would benefit from this kind of discussion? And please, if you’re one of the people who hasn’t finished yet, feel free to comment and share your thoughts–what got you bogged down?

I hope the conversation on this blog about the book and the topics it raised will continue. There is no reason why people who are coming to this for the first time or who fell behind in the reading can’t continue to comment and be part of an ongoing discussion. If you haven’t already done so, you can subscribe to the comments for the blog (see RSS link at the bottom of the sidebar at right).

My thanks to everyone who contributed, and most particularly of course to Rand for being open to participating in this discussion and sharing his thoughts with us. One of my motivations for starting this project was to provide an incentive for me to work my way through the book and I’m very glad I did. I learned a great deal from the book and having people to discuss it with–even if only virtually–added even more to the experience.

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Slowing down? January 22, 2010

Posted by Kate T. in Administration.
5 comments

The conversation about Chapters 1 and 2 has been far less active than we had the previous week, and I doubt it’s  because the material is less engaging. I suspect people are having a little trouble reading and digesting two chapters a week–at least I hope that’s the reason, and it’s not that you have decided you’re not interested in this subject any more!

Our schedule for next week calls for discussing Chapters 3 and 4. Since many of you have already read Chapter 3, I’ll hold off until next Tuesday or Wednesday to start us off on talking about these two chapters together. I hope this will give everyone a little more time to get caught up on the reading and post more thoughts about 1&2. We can also play with the schedule a bit if it’s too demanding—maybe switch to a chapter a week or every week and a half. Whatever works for all of you.

Reminder: Starting on Monday January 5, 2010

Posted by Kate T. in Administration.
2 comments

Just a reminder that I’m planning on kicking off the discussion on Monday beginning with the Introduction and Chapter 3. I’m not quite sure yet how this is going to work, so I hope you’ll bear with me as we collectively figure out how to structure the discussion. Happy reading!

Having trouble getting the book? December 28, 2009

Posted by Kate T. in Administration.
1 comment so far

Wow–the response so far has been fantastic. It looks like we will have a diverse group of readers which should make for an interesting discussion.

Just wanted to let everyone know that if people are having trouble getting the book in time to start on the 11th, we can always push the start date out another week. I know the SAA offices are closed this week for the holidays, so if you are ordering from them (and it looks like that is the best deal) you might experience a delay.

I also heard from one person in the UK who said the cost of shipping when ordering the book from SAA made it cost prohibitive, so if anyone has suggestions for other sources outside the US, please share them. And remember that Rand has posted some content on his website, so you can follow along to some extent.

Again, introduce yourself on the previous post (if you want to), and let me know if you have any comments or concerns about the schedule.

Introduce yourselves . . . December 18, 2009

Posted by Kate T. in Administration.
88 comments

I thought it might be useful for all of us to give a little bit of information about our backgrounds before we get started, so I’ll kick it off. I’m Kate Theimer, the organizer and moderator this group read. I’m the person behind the ArchivesNext blog. I frequently write and give presentations about the use of social media and Web 2.0 in archives, as well as the larger scope of change in profession, sometimes referred to as “Archives 2.0“. I worked for several years at the National Archives in College Park before striking out on this more independent path. I received my MI from the University of Michigan.

If you’re going to participate in this conversation, leave a comment below introducing yourself. It’s not a requirement, so if you’d rather not, that’s fine. There is no formal way of “signing up” for this. Just do the reading, subscribe to the blog (or just bookmark it, if you’d rather) and join the conversation. Note that the tentative schedule is the previous post.

I suppose I should make it clear that in my role as moderator I will approve all comments that are relevant to the discussion, but if I think a comment is too inflamatory or disrespectful of the other participants, I will not approve it (or take it down if it has already been posted). I will contact the person responsible and ask him or her to re-phrase their thoughts and re-submit. This may never occur, but I just wanted to make sure the rules were spelled out. It’s ok to disagree or challenge, but don’t be jerk about it.

Ok, that’s out of the way. So, go ahead and tell us a little about yourself while we’re waiting to kick this thing off in January.

Welcome to Reading “Archives Power” December 18, 2009

Posted by Kate T. in Administration.
10 comments

Welcome to Reading Archives Power!  As announced on the ArchivesNext blog, this site was created to support a “group read” of the book Archives Power by Randall C. Jimerson. Published by the Society of American Archivists, Archives Power is available for purchase here (and on Amazon too, of course). You can also read excerpts from the book here.

UPDATE: Don’t buy the book through Amazon! They’re listing it for a crazy price. Order it from the SAA site. If you have any problems contact me.

The plan is to begin the conversation of the book on January 11, 2010. I’ll start the conversation out for each section with a few questions or thoughts in post, and then we’ll continue the conversation in the comments. I think that as ideas or conversational threads develop I’ll probably split them off by creating a new post for it, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve never organized anything like this, so we’ll just work it out as we go.

Here’s the schedule I’m proposing:

January 11: Power – Introduction and Chapter 3

January 18: History of archives – Chapters 1-2

January 25: Memory – revisit Chapter 3 and Chapter 4

February 1: Serving the public interest (e.g., accountability, open government, diversity, social justice) – Chapter 5-6

February 8: How archivists can respond to these issues – Chapter 6 and Conclusion

February 15. Ethics – Conclusion

Is this too optimistic? Do you want a little more breathing room between sections? I’m afraid to go a full two weeks between each section because we might lose some steam as the months pass by. Let me know what you think.

The book’s author, Rand Jimerson will be participating in the conversation. As he wrote in a comment over on ArchivesNext:

I will be glad to participate, answer questions, and join the ongoing discussion on these issues. I do hope that other participants in the book discussion will ask the tough questions and consider the potential ramifications of these ideas. My involvement will not be to defend my book but to consider all points of view, ask more questions, and perhaps explain any of my ideas or comments that are not clear to readers. I hope the book will stimulate further questions and new thinking about the issues facing archivists as well as scholars, researchers, and citizens affected by the legal, administrative, documentary, and historical aspects of recordkeeping and archives.

This should be an interesting project. Certainly the subject matter is timely and provocative. In the next post I’ll introduce myself and invite you to introduce yourselves too.

[Disclaimer: I should add that this project is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Society of American Archivists. And I paid for my own copy of the book myself!]