Harrisonburg Meeting Graduate Student Papers Session

At the Spring 2020 MARAC meeting in Harrisonburg, VA, please considering joining us for the graduate student papers session. Topics include the connection between archiving and dance, popular music collections and the digital humanities, and the integration of civil rights materials into archival literacy. Abstracts are as a follows:

Marissa Ajamian, “European Traditions: Tracing the Connection between Archiving and Dance.”
New York University
The traditional rules for both archival practices and concert dance stem from a European heritage. These rules require rigid structure, confining practices, and unbending rules. With this presentation, I seek to discuss the implications of how European traditions have affected the “appropriate” way to dance, with an upright spine, and the “appropriate” way to archive, through the focus on paper materials. While the art form of dance and archival practices appear to be unrelated entities, the rigid European boundaries that were present at the creation and evolution of these practices bind them together. The way these two practices have evolved from the European heritage offer different solutions on how to navigate incorporating other heritages and ideas into the archive and into the collective memory of the dance tradition. By looking at these current day practices, future best practices can be shared between dance and the art of archiving.

Benjamin Jackson, “Re-examining Collections Through Digital Storytelling”
University of Maryland
Conveying the scope of collections and holdings and engaging the widest range of users has always been a vexing, primary concern for those working in libraries of all disciplines. In this presentation, I consider how open-source platforms have made digital storytelling an effective and increasingly accessible means for those in libraries to connect and contextualize their materials with a broad audience. Being employed as a project archivist hired to work with the Keesing Collection on Popular Music and Culture at Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland, College Park I have had the fairly unique opportunity to undertake digital humanities projects to encourage research with the collections. My most recent project has been to develop online exhibits exploring our new holdings that focus on the intersections between popular music and the major conflicts in which the United States was a combatant in the twentieth century. While I consider myself engaged in the sphere of digital humanities, my relative lack of experience in most kind of scripting and coding at first discouraged me from attempting anything outside of an article or exhibit-style approach to presenting the collection. With the rapid expansion of open-source projects, elements like flowing timelines and interactive charts and graphs are now far less time-consuming to make and dependent on a deep knowledge of web design. These tools were used in the Keeping project to consider issues like how the vocabulary of American songwriters during the Second World War changed by year or how the relative popularity of songs addressing Vietnam was reflected in the pop charts over the course of the conflict. In presenting this case-study alongside general discussion of digital storytelling for music libraries I hope to highlight some of the opportunities these platforms afford to engage new and expanding populations

Max Thorn, “Civil Rights collections in the classroom: an archives instruction fellowship”
Queens College, City University of New York
This paper will describe and discuss my semester-long graduate fellowship that integrated archival material from the Mississippi Freedom Summer—a landmark 1964 voter-registration drive and free school led by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and other prominent Civil Rights-era organizations—into the curriculum of an undergraduate history seminar on “America in the 1960s.” I collaborated with the head archivist and the seminar’s professor on classroom exercises and student research appointments, with the goal of increasing student awareness of the college’s archives (especially our strong Civil Rights-era collections, rooted in material donated by QC alumni participants), improving their primary source literacy, and supporting their research. The major classroom exercise was a document analysis exercise based on the award-winning TeachArchives.org philosophy. Research appointments were one-on-one. For faculty, I created a LibGuide on teaching with archives that includes a bibliography and professional guidelines. The 2018 ACRL/SAA Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy were used to create session goals and for assessment, with students reporting increased confidence in critically evaluating primary sources. The paper will also address the nature and benefits of graduate-student fellowships in archival institutions. Through sharing the content and pedagogy that built this unique archives instruction fellowship, I aim to persuade conferees that teaching with archives in classrooms can improve undergraduates’ primary source literacy, initiate meaningful collaboration with faculty, and foster student and faculty engagement with the archives.

We hope to see you there!
Liz Novara and Vin Novara
Program Committee, Co-Chairs

Congratulations to Graduate Scholarship Winners!

MARAC is fortunate to be able to give 2 Graduate School Archival Education Scholarship for students who live or attend a school in the MARAC region and plan to enter the archival profession.  The Scholarship Committee is happy to announce the Spring 2020 semester recipients:


Nicholas Caldwell has been accepted as a graduate student at Long Island University. He presently is an Archives intern with the New York University Libraries Archival Collections Management and a library page at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.


Emily Ahlin is a “Pitt Partner Intern” at Chatham University and pursuing a Library and Information degree from the University of Pittsburgh, concentrating on Archives.

Congratulations to Nicholas and Emily!


MARAC Scholarship Committee

Nicole Topich
Colleen McFarland Rademaker
Elizabeth Wilkinson
Sheridan Sayles, Junior Co-Chair
Cindy Bendroth, Senior Co-Chair