Monday, November 18, 2013

3 Archivists, 3 Conferences, 3 Presentations...

Let me set the scene. It's mid-October, the days are getting sorter and the leaves prettier.  Three archivists set out to do the impossible: give three unique presentations at three different conferences in less than one week....

October 16th brought Keith Gorman, Kathelene Smith, and I to the North Carolina Library Association conference in Winston-Salem for our first presentation with Curtis Rogers from the South Carolina State Library.
Evolution of the South Carolina Literary Map
Dr. Curtis R. Rogers
Curtis' portion of the presentation was titled "Evolution of the South Carolina Literary Map."  He gave an overview of the history of South Carolina Literary Map, which began in the early 2000s as a class project in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina.

The project had stagnated in the last decade, having outdated information as well as hard to navigate features.  Curtis worked with SLIS at USC to launch a revamped site ( which went live just days before our presentation. 

He then discussed future plans for sustaining the project, which included having a 'memorandum of understanding' with SLIS to define roles and responsibilities of each party and creating an author submission form for users to suggest writers to be added to the map.

The North Carolina Literary Map:
How to sustain online projects once they are launched

Keith, Kathelene, and I presented on sustaining the North Carolina Literary Map (  We discussed the push for state online literary maps from the National Center for the Book as well as the differences in mission and institutional support between our map and other state map projects. 

Research of other online literary maps lead us to some surprising discoveries.  Of the 22 state maps, only 6 had been updated in the last 2 years.  Sustainability is definitely an issue with these projects!

In seeking to sustain the North Carolina Literary map, we set the foundations for sustainability by identifying the map's audience, securing funding, and promoting outreach.  We then redesigned the website and enhanced search functions.  And finally, we are continuing to evolve by adding new collaborators to our advisory board who can assist with funding and assessment.

Reception at the Upcountry Museum,
 Greenville, SC
Following our brief stop at NCLA, we headed to Greenville, SC for the Tri-State Archivists Conference, October 17-18.  This conference provided a rare meeting among archivists from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  Kathelene and I served as the Programming Chairs for the Society of North Carolina Archivists.  Kathelene also headed up Local Arrangements for North Carolina.  I oversaw the call for panel proposal and worked with speakers and presenters to schedule the entire two-day conference.  Kathelene worked tirelessly to ensure registration, catering, and venues were organized and ran smoothly throughout the conference.  She also single-handedly organized a lovely wine and dessert reception for conference participants at the Upcountry Museum in Greenville.

But organizing the conference wasn't enough for us...we needed to present as well!  Keith, Kathelene, and I, along with Gene Hyde from the University of North Carolina at Asheville presented current students, recent graduates, and those re-entering the job market with tips for creating quality cover letters and CVs as well as important considerations for each step of the interview process. 
Keith beginning our talk on Career Planning 101 
Keith began by giving a survey of the archival field and informing participants of relevant literature.  Gene Hyde showed the results of a ACRL survey conducted in 2010 titled, "Academic Library Search Committees: What They Want You to Know."  The survey gathered qualitative and quantitative data from academic librarians through the United States.  Results confirmed what we and others involved in the search committee process had know only anecdotally until then; mistakes in cover letters and resumes greatly impacted whether or not candidates were asked for an interview.

Kathelene gave considerations for creating cover letters and resumes, including practical advice such as spellchecking the documents and avoiding confusing fonts and colors.  I presented the real-life example of my recent job search, citing examples of how I tailored my cover letter and CV to highlight how I fit the qualifications listed in the job posting.  Keith talked about both phone and in-person interviews, giving tips for how to prepare and successfully navigate the process.  We concluded by working one-on-one with those who had submitted cover letters and resumes to us prior to the conference, giving personalized

On Monday, October 21st, Kathelene and I set out to once again promote the North Carolina Literary Map.  This time we presented with Gail Buckner at the North Carolina Association for Elementary Educators (NCAEE) Conference.

As part of the 2012-2013 LSTA grant for the NC Lit Map, Gail had worked on creating lesson plans
A slide from our NCAEE presentation
which integrate using the map with various learning objectives.  We spoke about the history of the NC Lit Map, demonstrated how to effectively search for books and authors, and showed participants how they could use the newly developed tools in their classrooms.

This was a busy week in October...we are all still recovering...

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