• 28 Feb 2017 1:00 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from Drew Davis, the current CAA Secretary.

    It is vital that an archivist at any stage of their career participate in regional or national archives organizations, but attaining leadership roles in those organizations can sometimes be difficult. Due to that, many archivists – and especially young archivists - can feel that their voice is “lost in the crowd.” I personally felt that setback with larger archival organizations, as I enjoy contributing to the professional development of archivists. It was during this time that I joined the Chicago Area Archivists, and was pleasantly surprised to find many volunteer and leadership opportunities available immediately. As my interest was in advancing the careers of young archivists, I joined the Professional Development subcommittee in 2012. Working on this subcommittee allowed me to help plan programs and workshops geared towards increasing the professional knowledge of CAA members. In 2014, I joined the Steering committee, providing me the opportunity to help lead CAA. Finally, in 2015 I became CAA Secretary, putting me in charge of managing CAA minutes and records.

    What I find most notable about my CAA experience is that it was possible for myself and several other Steering members to go from new members to CAA officers within three to four years of joining. I also find it impressive that so many young archivists are able to take on and thrive in leadership roles in the subcommittees and on the Steering committee. If you are an archivist at any point in your career that wants to make a difference in your profession, I highly urge you to run for Steering. There are several seats open this year, and your views and experiences would be vital in helping grow CAA.   

    The deadline for volunteering for the Steering Committee is Thursday, March 16. Feel free to contact Drew or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

    Photograph Courtesy of American Medical Association Archives

  • 24 Feb 2017 3:38 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from longtime Steering Committee member Andy Steadham.

    When I joined the Steering Committee in 2011, Chicago Area Archivists was re-emerging from a lull in CAA activity. The year before, most Steering members had been involved with planning, hosting, and otherwise supporting the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting – which didn't leave much time for planning CAA programs. This new Steering was committed to resuscitating CAA by bringing in additional help in the form of subcommittees to organize social events, program professional development opportunities, and develop news ways to reach out to members, potential members, and the general public.

    Today, as we look forward to bringing the Midwest Archives Conference back to Chicago in 2018, CAA remains as active as ever. There will be no lull this time.

    That's what serving on the Steering Committee is about: ensuring the sustainability of an organization by creating systems to keep it moving forward. In my three terms on Steering, the committee has worked on lots of projects like this, including:

    • establishing online member voting
    • publishing a manual for subcommittees
    • creating written procedures outlining the responsibilities of Steering Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)
    • migrating the CAA website to a more robust system for tracking membership and receiving online payments
    • creating a Communication Manager role overseeing both internal and external communications channels
    • establishing a records management policy and stewarding the Chicago Area Archivists Records (because if we can't organize our archives, who can?)

    All of that sounds like a lot of work, but keep in mind this happened over six years! Steering terms are only two years, so you can decide for yourself how much time to commit.

    Working with my peers on Steering has been a great opportunity for me to learn about what keeps an organization like this going. It's also been a great way to meet and work alongside other fantastic Chicago archives professionals.

    Maybe it's time for you to step up and think about how you can keep this organization you value sustainable. I hope you'll consider volunteering to serve on the CAA Steering Committee.

    The deadline for volunteering for the Steering Committee is Thursday, March 16. Feel free to contact Andy or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

    (Photograph Courtesy of American Medical Association Archives)

  • 22 Feb 2017 11:54 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from Steering Committee member George Kutsunis, current RAAC liaison.

    One of the advantages of serving on the Steering Committee is getting the opportunity to represent Chicago and the CAA in the profession. As the liaison to Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC) I have the opportunity to speak and advocate for the needs and interests of Chicago archivists directly in a group that has significantly more reach than the CAA.

    Working with representatives from other organizations is a unique opportunity to collaborate with archivists from around the country, as well as see the common challenges these regional organizations have, and take the best solutions back to CAA. RAAC exists to support local archival organizations like CAA and also seeks to leverage our combined experiences into advocacy education.

    Working on the Steering Committee has changed the way I think about our profession, and representing CAA at RAAC changes the way you think about professional cooperation.

    If you want to advocate for archivists, for professional standards, and for better professional development, though, you don't have to look towards the national level. Start right here with CAA and the Steering Committee.

    Photograph Courtesy of American Medical Association Archives

    The deadline for volunteering for the Steering Committee is Thursday, March 16. Feel free to contact George or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

  • 17 Feb 2017 5:04 PM | Laura Alagna (Administrator)

    CAA thanks all who attended our first Archives Salon of 2017 on February 16! Eleven people discussed CAA member Scott Pitol's upcoming article "Measuring the Researcher’s Opportunity to Prepare: The Archives Research Preparation Online (ARPO) Index.” Thinking about what researchers look for in archival repository websites led to a interesting discussion, and all agreed that Scott's ARPO Index will be an invaluable tool for examining how our own sites prepare researchers for visiting our repositories.

    Thanks to Michael San Filippo for the photo, and for Scott Pitol for sharing his article and ideas with us!

    If you missed this event, don't worry - there will be more events throughout the year at a variety of dates, times, and locations. Coming soon: 

    • AV Happy Hour, March 15 (details announced soon)
    • CAA Annual Members Meeting, March 30, Chicago Symphony Center

    Have an idea for a CAA event?  Contact the CAA Events Subcommitee at with your suggestions.

  • 14 Feb 2017 10:33 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from Steering Committee member Gretchen Neidhardt about the time and commitment needed for Steering.

    Joining Steering Committee has been a volunteer opportunity that has been fun, rewarding, and valuable. The time commitment for Steering is certainly something to take into account but has never felt burdensome or overwhelming. We meet one evening per month at rotating locations, and everyone’s work schedules, work locations, and homes are taken into account. There are many different roles within the Steering Committee and those require different levels of commitment, but I have found the committee to be incredibly accommodating of all of our needs.

    Our monthly meetings last approximately two hours and depending on what else is going on with CAA, the time commitment outside of those meetings is around 1-3 hours a month. During meetings, we discuss membership, financial outlook, subcommittee activities, and other projects as they are occurring, including initiatives like Chicago Open Archives.

    Joining the Steering Committee is an incredibly rewarding experience for a relatively small time commitment and I recommend it highly as a way to connect more with your archival community and affect change in our archival area.

    The deadline for volunteering for the Steering Committee is Thursday, March 16. Feel free to contact Gretchen or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

  • 10 Feb 2017 11:16 AM | Erin Matson

    CAA thanks all who attended the event Creating a Web Archiving Program, last Thursday, February 2! 14 people attended and learned about how to plan for, implement and grow a web archiving program. Attendees walked away with some useful tips on gaining support for a web archiving program and a basic understanding of the tools and software that are available, such as the widely used Archive-It. 

    Thanks to the presenters Andy Steadham, of Rotary International, Jennifer Ho, of the Chicago Community Trust, and Laura Alagna of Northwestern University. Also, a shout out to Karl-Rainer Blumenthal of Archive-It who was in attendance and took part in some Q & A after the presentations. 

    If you missed this event, don't worry - there will be more events throughout the year at a variety of dates, times, and locations. Coming soon: 

    Have an idea for a CAA event?  Contact the CAA Events Subcommitee at with your suggestions.

  • 09 Feb 2017 2:12 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from another Steering Committee member, Jennifer Ho, current Vice Chair.

    We need you and your ideas on the CAA Steering Committee! If you are a CAA subcommittee member, please consider running for Steering. You will find it to be a valuable experience. Being on the Steering Committee has not only given me the opportunity to cultivate leadership experience, I have also continued to learn more about the archives landscape in Chicago and substantially expand my network.

    I joined the CAA Steering Committee last year (2016) after having served on the CAA Events Subcommittee for a few years. I was a member of Events and then became Chair. I hadn’t planned on running because I still felt very new to the field and to Chicago, but one of its members reached out to me and said that my experience with Events would be an asset. So, if you’ve served on a subcommittee in the past, I’d like to point out that you have an advantage! We need Steering members with all levels of experience and leadership.

    If you’ve ever thought, “why doesn’t CAA…” or “it would be nice if CAA…,” this is a wonderful opportunity to put your ideas into action. You’ll be working with a kind and supportive group of people while building your skill set as an archivist and as a leader.

    If you’ve served on a subcommittee, please consider joining the Steering Committee. Deadline for submissions is Thursday, March 16.

    Feel free to contact Jennifer or other Steering Committee members with questions.

  • 08 Feb 2017 10:19 AM | Erin Matson

    CAA is pleased like to announce a new Referring Member field on our membership form. When you refer a friend or colleague to join CAA you can win small prize such as a $15 gift card to Starbucks. Prizes will be given out to the first 3 members who are named as referring members at the CAA Members Meeting on March 30. Can't make it to the Members Meeting? Don't worry, we will work with you to make sure you get your reward!

    When new members sign up, they can simply add your name to the Referring Member field. This field is completely private and so it will not show up on the new member's public profile. Please note, at this time this initiative only applies to new members who join online, not those who send in the new member registration in the mail.  

    Not sure who to refer? CAA is not strictly for archivists! Consider colleagues who may work with archives in some way but do not consider themselves archivists: students, records managers, rights and images staff, librarians, historians, or others who simply have an interest in archives and want to learn more. CAA's workshops and behind the scenes tours offer insight into the Chicago archives world which may be of interest to a broader audience. Just don't forget to ask them to put you down as their referring member!

  • 06 Feb 2017 4:53 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    During CAA’s Steering Committee election, we’d like to hear from Steering Committee members about their work with CAA. Greer Martin joined the CAA Steering Committee last year.

    I was new to both Chicago and CAA when I joined Steering in 2016. Although I was a longtime listserv subscriber, I had only been a member for about a month. Running for Steering seemed beyond my reach: I did not know very much about CAA, hadn't served on a subcommittee, and knew very few Chicago archivists. But when the call went out for candidates, a colleague encouraged me to put my name in the running. 

    Serving on the Steering Committee is an excellent compliment to a first-year experience, be it in CAA, in Chicago, or in the profession. I learned how the organization is run, what its subcommittees do, and most importantly, I got to know other Chicago-area archivists. I met a lot of people very quickly, and my professional network of local archivists - people who can answer questions, tell you about their collections, offer advice - expanded outside of my institution's archives unit. 

    It's important for Steering to represent new members, recent grads, and the newly-arrived, as they make up much of the membership. I would encourage other newcomers to join the Steering Committee. Your input is valuable, and you will get so much out of it! 

    Deadline for submissions is Thursday, March 16.

    Feel free to contact Greer or other Steering Committee members with questions.

  • 01 Feb 2017 10:41 AM | Amber Dushman (Administrator)

    Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Chicago archives community? Consider volunteering to serve on the Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee. Not only will you get to work closely with some of your colleagues in the profession, but CAA service is a great way to gain valuable experience in preparation for service in regional and national archival organizations.

    Wonder what the Steering Committee does? The Steering Committee is tasked with:

    • Establishing programmatic goals for the organization
    • Responding to the needs of CAA members
    • Representing CAA within the larger profession and to the general public
    • Setting standards to ensure the sustainability of CAA

    Think you aren’t experienced enough to serve on the Steering Committee? Think again: any organization needs fresh viewpoints to remain vibrant. And CAA is meant to serve the needs of all of its members, including those who are new to the profession.

    Worried about over-committing yourself? Steering Committee members are elected to two year terms that begin and end at the Members Meeting in March. The time commitment is relatively minimal, consisting of monthly in-person meetings with occasional business conducted by email.

    Candidates for the four open seats for the 2017-19 term will be elected by a vote of CAA members cast electronically after the Members Meeting on Thursday, March 30 2016.

    Service on the Steering Committee is open to all CAA members in good standing. To volunteer, submit a brief (1-2 paragraphs) Statement of Interest outlining your background and motivation for serving on the Steering Committee to Please include your full name, title, place of work (if applicable), and preferred contact phone and email address.

    Statements of interest will be distributed to CAA members prior to the Members Meeting. Candidates will also have an opportunity to introduce themselves at the meeting on March 30.

    The deadline to submit your Statement is Thursday, March 16 at 5:00pm.

    Want more information? Contact information for current Steering Committee Members is available on the CAA Website. Please reach out to one of them and ask about his or her service on Steering.

    Please send general questions or comments to

Follow CAA on Twitter or Facebook

© Chicago Area Archivists

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software