SNCA Annual Conference 2012

Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference 2012

Alumni and former LISSA officer Amanda Goodman asked me what I had learned at the SNCA conference the other day. So I thought I would share some of the cool things that I learned about archives collection management with all of you!

The plenary (attended by all members, I had to look that up so I thought I’d mention it) luncheon speaker was Kate Theimer, author of Redrawing the Borders: Speculations on the Future State of Archives gave a great presentation about trends affecting archives.  Her topics included changes in how people document themselves (check out Historypin!), expanding digitization, the popularization of history, and blurring of organizational goals. Her blog is ArchivesNext or if you prefer twitter follow her there @archivesnext.

The speakers for the first session presenters for Putting Your Patrons to Work: Crowdsourcing Success Stories were Lynn Richardson, Durham County Library; Lisa Gregory, State Library of North Carolina; Michelle Czaikowski, State Library of North Carolina; Tom Flynn, Winston-Salem State University.

Another really cool thing is this concept of crowdsourcing as a way to collect information on digital objects for which there is a lack of information. Posting photos in Flickr can give incredible results (like the NC State Library did with 451 images with crowd sourced information in 51 days!).

Having Collection Days allows you to pool resources for community members to bring photos for digital collection submissions. Staff can help organize and evaluate the submissions, scan and document the photos. These planned events are also great opportunities for recording oral histories. Best practices are to have a master list, flow chart and LOTS of volunteers.

Another type of fun crowdsourcing is to have a History Mystery Series. Publishing a photo in the local newspaper (with an online link to the image) allows people to post information that they know about the subject.

SNAP Crowd allows event attendees, especially students, to send photos to an email address and stores the images in the cloud. Institutions can then go in and add them to social media or their website to document events. QR codes for each event album make accessing the organized photos easy and live-streaming or slide shows of the photos in the library or around campus is one way to connect with students and to market the program.

The speakers for the second session, Managing Copyright for Digital Collections: Strategies from Three Recent Digitization Efforts were Lynn Eaton, Duke University; Kristy Dixon, UNC Charlotte; Maggie Dickson, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

Digital Library Copyright is still a very tricky but a great resource is

The distinction between the fair use of a work and copyright infringement  is not easily defined. Fair use is often cited for educational purposes. In archives and libraries, digitization of documents and photos often depends on the object’s copyright status. Fair use (if proved) can cover certain instances when a right holder does not give consent to digitize. It’s important to be very methodical and thorough clearing copyright, but don’t lose all hope.

Key elements for fair use are:

  • Educational use
  • Nature of the work (and reproduction restrictions)
  • Amount of work used
  • Effect of the use of the work on potential market value of the work

Fair Use Checklist –


When working with a collection it’s a good practice to create databases to track information gathered when you research copyright for collections. Listing collection objects, contact information (donor/company name, phone, and address), name of other contacts, and other pertinent information can give you a point of reference and prevent backtracking.

There was so much helpful information given at the conference! Presenters showed that they are really engaging with new methods to identify and provide access to historical artifacts and rethinking the way in which archives and special collections are created.

On Friday, opening speaker Major Ralph P. Ganis gave a presentation on Jesse James and his connection to the East Coast and North Carolina. He is the author of two books relating to Jesse James: Uncommon Men: A Secret Network of Jesse James Revealed and Desperate Measures: Jesse James and the Klan Battles of Reconstruction. Through the use of archival research, with U.S. Census records, and oral histories, he showed that there are connections to North Carolina and other southern states for Frank and Jesse James, showing them in a different light than the Wild West version Hollywood is so fond of portraying. That really blew my hair back. Can’t wait to read those books!

Poster Session

Karen at SNCA 2012

Just to add a little feather to our caps, during the poster session LIS graduate students Craig Arthur and Karen Feeney presented posters on their archive projects at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum at Palmer Memorial Institute. Craig has been working on archival arrangement and description of Palmer Memorial Institute’s Business Records Collection. Karen has been arranging and describing the Palmer Memorial Institute’s Summer Program Collection.

Please feel free to email me any questions or comments you might have. My email is


Karen Feeney

LISSA Secretary 2011-2012


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