A major part of a newsletter editor's job is to stimulate timely submissions on events, trends and issues. The ASA Newsletter is a fine vehicle for communicating some of these to a busy and geographically-scattered membership of archivists, institutions and supporters. I am truly grateful to those who have contributed to the newsletter over the years and many thanks to those who have made this issue possible.
Another editorial duty is to periodically write a commentary. Before I became editor, this was called "Editors Rant" and at various times other, sometimes less-than-complimentary, names. As I personally really have nothing valuable to say in this issue -- or, some would contend, in any previous or forthcoming issue -- here are a few topics I would like to see some of you cover in future issues.
Please check off the ones you intend to write about in the next year and send your list to me. Or, register your contempt for any of the topics proffered. However, you may only complain if you supply an alternate topic, agree to write about it and submit your written and illustrative pearls of wisdom on or before the next deadline, April 30, 2004.
Please consider the following possibilities:
- Write a profile on an archivist or conservator or ? whom you especially respect, or like to dance with, or both.
- Boast about a windfall archival donation -- collection, cash, in-kind, libation, etc. -- and gloat about how you made this happen or, better yet, say something constructive about how others might benefit from good planning or dumb luck.
- Question an archival fundamental, trend or practice and provide a more reasonable alternative without being long-winded (Note: please, please do not advocate the abolition of the concept of fonds, as resource allocators have only recently cottoned on to the concept.)
- Develop an institutional profile for a new institutional member or up-and-comer. You can write about your own organization, one you are welcoming to your neck of the woods, or one with clean bathrooms.
- Highlight a private sector archival activity or individual who actually ekes out a living in the shark-infested waters of private practice. If you are such a person, feel free to engage in crass self-promotion. Or, discuss someone who has moved on to a higher(?) calling.
- Review an ASA education course or program. What stuck with you and which colleagues do you still keep in touch with? Did you receive any good advice? Did a fire alarm require that the Brett fonds arrangement and description exercise be moved to the lawn beside the McKimmie Library?
- Vent on how Lucy Maud Montgomery and her legacy have complicated your life.
- Share your policy on reproduction. Please be more specific than "There shall be no reproduction in the Archives under any circumstances." Advance a common sense approach to photocopying, taking into account copyright and privacy legislation. Your colleagues would no doubt appreciate your thoughts on "bagging a few rays" by the photocopier.
- Muse on the daily reference work of the archivist. Do patrons and sponsors treat you like wait-staff? Would it appreciably boost your self-esteem if they did? Do restaurant servers make a lot more money than you do? Is service non-compris? Should it be? Have you ever said: "Will there be anything else at this table?" Have you been tempted to offer freshly-ground pepper? Or, is your job more like fitting Imelda Marcos with shoes? Or perhaps, working in the bottle depot?
I KNOW that you can imagine any number of potentially riveting articles for the newsletter! But you're shy, right? Don't be! As I already anticipate some difficulty getting people to use this item as a to-do list, I just may be contacting YOU directly, to plead or cajole or threaten.
Or, I may just have you settle the bill.
Best wishes . . .