While first entering the Library Science program I had the good luck to hear about how important it was to go to a professional conference (especially when you are a student) at least once. Therefore, when I heard the Society of American Archivists was going to have their annual conference in Chicago, I thought it would be an excellent adventure.
The technology expo was an explosion of various technologies related to the field of archival work whether they were giant scanners, or showcasing the latest mediums of how to best store your data. The lectures served as an interesting insight to what problems professionals run into in the field, and how they learn how to deal with them.
An art museum archivist found a creative way to get funding for her department by taking images from their collections and putting them on gift shop items, another speaker presented the best and most professional way to nag your government representatives for funding, and I loved the various presentations on what could be considered nontraditional archive collections. These ranged from an oral history project on the history of New York taxi drivers, to a special collection dedicated to the work of Hip Hop artist Tupac.
The conference also offered many opportunities for students to become involved as well. Grad students from our university showed off a fabulous poster presentation, and various tables were set up as well for people to gather information or interview for various internships and jobs found in the profession. The professionals who attended the conference as well were a wealth of knowledge and were very enthusiastic with sharing that information with anyone who was curious enough to ask.
For anyone even slightly curious about the profession, an archivist conference such as the one SAA offers each year can be a valuable experience for you to better understand the field and perhaps create a sense of experience for archives you didn’t know would be possible.
Sadie is a first-year MLS candidate and Outreach Chair of the IU SAA-SC. She also works as a student processor on the Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers in the Indiana University Modern Political Papers Collection.
Student Perspectives is a regular series in which current SLIS students share their interests and experiences in archives. If you would like to share your archival interests and/or experiences, please contact us at saa.iub<at>gmail<dot>com.