SAA2014 IAART Meeting

The International Archival Affairs Roundtable had a lively meeting at the SAA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Here’s the report from that meeting….

International Archival Affairs Roundtable Meeting Report
Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting
Washington, DC, 13 August 2014

3:30 PM Business Meeting

Senior Co-chair Brad Bauer opened the meeting with a review of the goals and purposes of the Roundtable. The steering committee members were introduced, and meeting attendees introduced themselves around the room. There were 42 attendees.

Junior Co-chair Christian Kelleher announced election results for new steering committee members. Danielle Scott is the new incoming Co-chair, and Katharina Hering the new Member-at-Large.

SAA Council liaison Helen Wong Smith gave updates on recent adoptions by Council, including best practices for volunteers, Archives & Archivists Listserv terms of participation, advocacy, and metrics.

3:45 Speakers

Trudy Peterson of the International Council on Archives’ Human Rights Working Group introduced the ICA draft “Basic Principles on the Role of Archivists in Support of Human Rights”. Inspired by the words of Desmond Tutu, the draft describes principles for selecting and retaining archives, providing access to information in archives, special safeguards for human rights archives, qualifications and training, freedom and expression and association, and professional associations of archivists. The draft went out for public comment in June and will be revised by ICA Council’s attention. Comments are encouraged.

David Leitch, Secretary General of ICA, gave updates on ICA activities. The International Archives Day (June 9) celebrations marked 100 years since the start of World War I; information technology developments continue, including AtoM, Access to Memory; work progresses on the Multilingual Archival Terminology translations; the International Fund for Archival Development was active in Cambodia, Cameroon, Guyana, and the Pacific region; and outreach activities grew for Latin America and Africa. Last year’s ICA conference in Brussels had over 500 attendees from 100 countries. This year in Girona promises to be even larger!

Bill Maher, the SAA representative to the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, reported on progress toward the promulgation of an international copyrights treaty. He noted that every archive has unique holdings, and thus a potentially global audience, but that intellectual property regulations are outdated. Maher noted the importance of American contributions to the discussion and the difference between the American perspective and that of ICA. He noted resistance from content industries to open development opportunities, and called for archivists to contact leaders to explain the need for archival exceptions to IP policy and gave an example of country specific barriers caused by varying IP regulations.

4:30 Open Floor

Brad Bauer discussed the Roundtables microsite and blog, including the contest to name the IAART blog. He encouraged session proposals for Cleveland 2015 to focus on international archives, and noted the proposal deadline of October 8.

Katharina Hering and Christian Kelleher announced an effort to document international archives related sessions at the conference through member-supplied reviews to be posted to the blog.

Emilie Gagnet Leumas of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the ICA Section for Archives of Faith Traditions called for information resources in multiple languages to support international archives facing disaster and war.

Wanda Williams of NARA described resources available to remedy disaster damage at the National Archives at St. Louis’s preservation program.

Barbara Mathe of the American Museum of Natural History in New York described collections of photographs of indigenous people that have been removed from indigenous communities and called for a turn-key application to help such communities regain their historical patrimony in a culturally appropriate way.

Christiana Dobrzynski described the Marcel Duchamp Research Portal project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and inquired about examples of other international collaborative, post-custodial projects.

David Sutton of the Diasporic Literary Archives project reported on the project’s international solidarity and capacity building work, with particular success in Trinidad and Namibia.

Theresa Polk, chair of the Human Rights Archives Roundtable, and Christian Kelleher related plans for a joint roundtable meeting at the next SAA conference, and called for ideas for collaborative projects with the two roundtables.

Zehao Zhou of York College, Pennsylvania, described the database project on the history of the People’s Republic of China that was done by non-archivists, and the challenges brought to them by the Chinese government using IP to challenge the database’s legality. He presented a professional poster at the conference.

5:00 IAART Meeting Adjourned

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