Archival Studies Program Update, Fall 2019

The SLIS Archival Studies program continues to grow and expand! Here’s a recap of recent news from this robust area of emphasis and certificate option for SLIS students:

Community Partnership News:

The Birmingham Black Radio Museum and SLIS Archival Studies have established the Alabama Black Radio Project, a documentation strategy dedicated to the preservation of Alabama’s radio history. This project extends the BBRM model state-wide.

SLIS Archival Studies has partnered with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Archives to establish a joint internship program dedicated to the cataloging and indexing of BCRI’s oral history collection. This initiative is led by SLIS alum Alex Smith, Digital Archivist at the BCRI.

SLIS Archival Studies has also partnered with the UA Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society to establish the Public Health Collections Curation Internship program. This program is concerned with preparing students to deploy health collections to address public health concerns.

Fall Campus Activities:

Assistant professor and Archival Studies Coordinator Dr. Robert Riter and the UA Society of American Archivists (SAA) chapter have hosted a number of guest speakers and tours this fall. Discussions have been available on campus and via Zoom.

On October 7th, SLIS hosted a discussion with alum Alex Smith, who now works as the digital archivist at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Ms. Smith discussed her day-to-day work as a digital archivist in a community-focused information environment, the process of establishing and maintaining sustainable institutional collaborations, and the practice of digitizing and cataloging oral histories.

On October 14th, Dr. Alan Blum, Gerald Leon Wallace, MD, Endowed Chair of Family Medicine, and director of Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, led an informal discussion on the Center’s role in deploying archival collections to address public health concerns. He also discussed the contextual uniqueness associated with maintaining working archival collections within the context of a public health research institute.

On November 18th, Bob Friedman, founder and director of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum, will visit SLIS. Mr. Friedman will discuss the founding, development, and management of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum, and his role in mentoring emerging community-engaged archival professionals. We will also introduce the Alabama Black Radio Project, a newly established initiative dedicated to the documentation and preservation of Alabama’s radio history.

Current student and SAA chapter president Mark Usry led two tours of archival institutions on the UA campus. On October 9th, SLIS students toured the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society in Nott Hall. On October 16th, SLIS students were able to tour the Paul W. Bryant Museum.