Visual Resources Association Conference March 27-30 | Philadelphia, PA

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Visual Resources Association (VRA) invites you to join our dynamic, multidisciplinary community dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image and media management within the educational, cultural heritage, and commercial environments.

Our international membership includes digital librarians; digital image specialists; photograph and digital archivists; art, architecture, film and video librarians; museum curators and registrars; architectural firms; galleries; publishers; image system vendors; rights and reproductions officials; photographers; art historians; artists; and scientists. The VRA provides leadership in the visual resources field, develops and advocates standards, and offers educational tools and opportunities for the benefit of the community at large. Through collaboration and outreach with the broader information management and educational communities, the VRA actively supports the primacy of visual information in documenting and understanding humanity’s shared cultural experience.

The VRA offers international, national, and regional only memberships. The Regional only membership is based on local chapters at a $25.00 annual rate. The closest regionally associated chapter to the 2018 VRA National Conference is the Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter provides its members with local support and professional development opportunities. Chapter meetings provide an opportunity for chapter members to meet colleagues in the area and gain knowledge about various subjects and technologies. For example, the Chapter meeting last summer at the University of Virginia included a session on creating and managing embedded metadata. At the fall meeting at the University of Maryland, College Park, attendees visited their MakerSpace and the Collaboratory.

The Visual Resources Association’s 36th Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA (March 27, 2018 through March 30, 2018), will offer sessions and programs, such as Workshopping the World: ArcGIS Online & Story Maps, three sessions on copyright and intellectual property, Tours to the PMA Library & Archivesand a Trolley Tour by Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the VREPS Night Out for emerging professionals. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter is offering two travel awards to this year’s VRA National Conference in the amount of $300. To fill out the application go here:

For information about joining VRA, please see:

The membership advantages for students include:

  • A discounted student rate.
  • A special interest group for emerging professionals and students (VREPS).
  • Educational opportunities (including VRA member-discounted events, workshops, and institutes).
  • Subscription to and opportunities to publish in the VRA Bulletin.
  • Discounted registration for the annual national VRA conference, with programming as varied as image management, copyright issues, standards, cataloging and classification, metadata, digital imaging technology, Web design, preservation of image quality, and educational opportunities.
  • Opportunities for professional development (including mentoring, conference presentations, publishing, and leadership opportunities).

To join the Visual Resources Association National membership ($115/annual), navigate to and select New Member (includes Listserv and VRA Bulletin). You can register an email at the bottom of the page to get started on a new account.

To join the Mid-Atlantic Chapter membership of the VRA ($25 regional only chapter membership/annual), navigate to and selectSeparate Chapter Memberships or Donations. You will need to create an account.

Questions about joining VRA? Please contact Melanie Clark, VRA Public Relations and Communications Officer:

 Thank you for reading and hope to see you in Philadelphia!

 Jen & Lael

Jen Kniesch, VRA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Chair
Dickinson College
Art & Art History Department
PO Box 1773
Weiss, Rooms 222 & 223
Carlisle, PA 17013

Lael J. Ensor-Bennett, VRA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Secretary/Treasurer
Assistant Curator, Visual Resources Collection
Visual Resources Collection LibGuide
History of Art Department
167 Gilman Hall
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218


Congrats to our MARAC Graduate School Archival Education Scholarship Winners!

In 2017, MARAC received a donation of $500 from an anonymous donor as a challenge grant. MARAC was required to raise matching funds in order to receive the funds from the donor. Those funds created the MARAC Graduate School Archival Education Scholarship for students who live or attend a school in the MARAC region and plan to enter the archival profession.

MARAC was excited to be able to make two awards for the Spring 2018 semester:

  • Regina Carra is a graduate student at Queens College, City University of New York in the Dual Degree Program in Library Science and History with a concentration in archives and the preservation of cultural materials. She currently works as the Archives Project Assistant at Mark Morris Dance Group.
  • Carmen A. Collins currently works as a Records and Information Analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton while pursuing her MS in Information and Library Science with a concentration in Archives and Digital Curation at the University of Maryland’s iSchool.

Congratulations to Regina and Carmen!

MARAC Scholarship Committee
Ben Blake
Maria Day
Christy Fic
Amanda Hawk
Elizabeth Wilkinson
Emily Cottle, Chair

Call for Posters: MARAC Spring 2018 Meeting in Hershey, PA

Poster proposals are now being accepted for the Spring 2018 Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference “Finding the Sweet Spot: Communities, Collaboration, and the Archives” to be held in Hershey, PA on April 12-14, 2018.

Share your research or new approaches to archival work in Chocolatetown, USA. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • applied or theoretical research projects
  • experimental collection development initiatives
  • new methods of providing reference services, instruction or outreach
  • innovative arrangement and description practices


  • Professional or student engaged in archival work
  • Research or activity conducted within the previous year (2017-2018)
  • Poster size: minimum 22 x 28 inches; maximum 36 x 48 inches; may read vertically or horizontally

Poster proposals due 11:59 PM EST on February 10. Proposals received after this date will not be considered and e-mailed submissions or submissions in any other format will not be accepted.

To submit a poster proposal, complete the form

Notifications regarding accepted proposals will be sent out on March 1. A dedicated poster session has been scheduled for Friday April 13 during the conference.

For more information or questions, please contact:

Susan Wiesner

Society of American Archivists Brenda S. Banks Travel Award

The Brenda S. Banks Travel Award Subcommittee invites applications for a new Society of American Archivists (SAA) award. The Brenda S. Banks Travel Award recognizes and acknowledges individuals of color, such as those of African, Asian, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, or Pacific Islander descent, who are employed in archives and who manifest an interest in becoming active members of SAA. Recipients receive full complimentary registration and related expenses for hotel and travel to attend the SAA Annual Meeting during the year in which the award is received. In addition, recipients receive a complimentary one-year membership in SAA.

This award supports the objectives of SAA’s Archivists and Archives of Color Section’s objectives:

  • Providing individuals of color employed in an archives with an opportunity for professional development and networking through engagement with SAA; and
  • Promoting increased participation in SAA by individuals of color employed in an archives by exposing first-time Annual Meeting attendees to the experience of attending national meetings and encouraging them to join and remain members of the organization.

Created in 2017, the award is named in honor of Brenda S. Banks, Fellow and Past President of SAA and co-founder of the Archivists and Archives of Color Section. The award is sponsored by SAA’s Archivists and Archives of Color Section and funded through the SAA Foundation.

Application Requirements:

Recipients will be selected based on the strength of their personal statement/essay. Personal statements/essays must be no more than 500 words and will be evaluated on:

  • Overall clarity;
  • Understanding of professional goals and experience with and/or commitment to working with, or documenting and preserving the histories of communities of color;
  • Description of the benefits of attending the SAA Annual Meeting; and
  • Explanation of commitment to SAA, diversity and inclusion, and the profession.
    In addition, applicants must include a current CV or resume.

To be eligible, the applicant:

  • Must be of American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander descent;
  • Must be currently employed in an archives; and
  • Shall not have previously attended an SAA Annual Meeting.

Click here to preview the application and/or to apply.

Applications must be received by February 28, 2018.

Questions? Please direct them to Kathi Neal, Chair of the Brenda S. Banks Travel Award Subcommittee, or (510) 642-8173.

Applying Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Manuscripts) workshop at ALA midwinter

Please consider attending the Applying Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Manuscripts) workshop at ALA midwinter on 12 February 2018.

The workshop will be held at the Denver Public Library on Monday, February 12, 2018 from 11:00am – 6:00pm

This workshop will provide an introduction to DCRM(MSS), the new RBMS standard for cataloging individual manuscripts. The workshop will include a brief introduction to the manual’s guiding principles, discussion of how manuscript cataloging differs from the cataloging of published materials, introduction to the treatment of major elements of the catalog record in DCRM(MSS) (such as the title, place of production and date, and extent), and hands-on practice in applying DCRM(MSS).

Attendees will acquire an understanding of the considerations involved in cataloging individual manuscripts, and will gain practice in applying DCRM(MSS) to the cataloging of different types of manuscripts commonly found in special collections using provided examples. Each attendee will receive a hard copy of DCRM(MSS) manual. Participants should have experience in MARC cataloging using AACR2; familiarity with DCRM(B) and/or DACS will be helpful.

How to register
Access the ALA Midwinter Meeting registration materials to submit your registration (
The Event Code for the workshop: ACR2
Ticket pricing: ALA Member: $150 – Other Member: $150 – Non-Member: $175 – ACRL Member: $150

You can also add to an existing Midwinter registration by visiting your dashboard link or emailing

Philadelphia City Archives – We’re Moving!

The Philadelphia City Archives is relocating to 456 N. 5th Street! As of December 15, 2017, our site will temporarily close to the public to facilitate our relocation. We will continue to fulfill requests for copies of deeds, except for requests that are for historical research and/or academic research purposes.

This temporary service disruption will extend through August 2018 to allow our staff adequate time to prepare for and execute the relocation. We expect to reopen at our new home on September 1, 2018.

Please mail deed requests and payment to:
City Hall, Room 156, Department of Records, Philadelphia, PA 19107

If you would like to contact our main office please email: or call (215) 686-2261.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

We look forward to serving you at our new location.

MARAC Fall 2017 recap, Session 12: Web archiving democracy

Session 12: Web archiving democracy.
Chair: Mary Haberle, Archive-It
Speakers: Dory Bower, U.S. Government Publishing Publishing Office
Roger Christman, Library of Virginia
Megan Craynon, Maryland State Archives
Ian Milligan, University of Waterloo
Nich Worby, University of Toronto
Ben Goldman, Pennsylvania State University

Mary Haberle began this session with a brief overview of the need for archiving the web as well as some of the fundamental challenges in doing so. Haberle led with the fact that countries who elect officials are more likely to have transparent policymaking, but the citizenry must be active and engaged for this to work. Web archiving is essential to keep people informed because a typical webpage lasts 90 days before changing and/or disappearing. Material shared on social media is typically gone in less than a year.

Dory Bower shared with us the difficulties that the Federal Depository Library program faces in getting organizations to understand that websites are documents. We learned that websites are ephemeral in nature and we need to actively seek to preserve their various updates and changes. Because of the abundance of web materials, we should work together to avoid duplication.

Megan Craynon opened with the Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” to convey the importance of the Maryland State Archives efforts at documenting websites from the state level down to the municipalities throughout Maryland. This helps us capture public access to information and it also allows records to be available earlier than if they waited for formal deposits. Web archives are important supplements to other government records.

Ben Goldman discussed how his work in archiving fracking throughout Pennsylvania has taught him that web archiving democracy forces us to focus on the people. PSU worked to document both the people and the fracking industry. In doing so, he witnessed the industry change their language over time to obtain a more favorable opinion from the public. Goldman learned that outreach is needed to build effective web archives so that people will use them; we need to promote our web archives in the same way we promote our physical collections.

Roger Christman addressed the need to prevent gaps in the archival record by documenting the effects that outside money (e.g. “fake news” sites, grassroots fundraising, and the American Legislative Exchange Council) has on our government and our election processes. Unfortunately, outside money creates content on the web that is not easy to capture due to constant changes, and we often don’t know of its existence until it is too late. Government organizations need to be careful not to be perceived as favoring one side over another while web archiving. Social media raises even more concerns in this documentation.

Nich Worby discussed how a lot of provincial and municipality web archiving is missing in Canada. However, thanks to a change in Canadian copyright law, universities can now archive government websites for educational purposes. Because this information is considered government documentation, FOIA requests are sometimes needed to obtain what was once freely available on the web. Still, one major challenge for them is defining what constitutes a government document in the context of the web.

Ian Milligan pointed out the need to make web archives more easily accessible and searchable. Due to the overabundance of electronic records and the nature of the web, it is typically easier for a researcher to browse through paper files than the Wayback Machine. Groups such as Web Archives for Historical Research and the Archives Unleashed Project are working to make web content more accessible and easily searchable. Currently, many tools are available but are difficult to use because they are command line based.