Admittedly, I wasn’t initially excited about attending the annual National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) conference in Boise, ID. That’s partially because attending conferences requires a lot of energy, and I had only been to one NAGARA conference before which was in my own backyard here in Austin. The destination for this year didn’t sound very exotic, but then I thought, when else will I have a reason to go to Idaho?!
Well, as you can imagine, I wouldn’t have written that opening paragraph if it hadn’t turned out to be the best conference I’d been to so far! From the first night – when we got to visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary exhibits (sponsored by the generous Idaho State Historical Society) – to the last night of enjoying tapas and Basque culture downtown, it was a great experience.
The conference sessions were also enjoyable. My overall favorite session was “Setting Up Staff to Excel” presented by my supervisors here at TSLAC. And no, Craig and Sarah didn’t make me write that! It was just very personal to me because they were essentially describing the evolution of my position and team over the last five years. If anyone from the conference has more questions about their career ladder project, feel free to email us for copies of the presentation or more discussion.
Megan and I joined the sparsely attended university archives networking group since we help universities with their records questions, and we learned about the challenges from other state’s institutions. We also particularly loved Denton County Records Manager Holly Dolan’s presentation “Simple Ways to Turn Your Records Liaisons into Records Ambassadors” because she gave us several great ideas for outreach and promoting awareness of records management. We actually featured her work on our blog earlier this year. Undoubtedly you’ll see some Holly-inspired ideas manifest in our blog and courses going forward.
We enjoyed the keynote speech from Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. After updating us on his impressively high PokémonGo score, he spoke about the massive volume of electronic records from the last administration, and the importance of archiving Twitter accounts nowadays (including deleted tweets!). A lot of people get caught up in the hysteria in the news, so it was good to hear about the nonpartisan efforts of NARA to preserve the nation’s historical record.
I also put together a short vlog – video blog – showing some highlights from the conference, so enjoy that and then let us know in the comments what you liked if you attended the conference.