Austin, Here I Come

Next week will be my first SAA conference. Actually, it will be my first professional conference of any kind. I wish I could say something cool and cynical like “You know, I am just going for the beef brisket,” but I can’t. Truth is, I am really looking forward to it. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, my excitement level goes to 11.

Here are some reasons why:

1) Archivists, archivists, archivists I cannot wait to be immersed in a large group comprised almost solely of professional archivists and records managers. This is partly because I think it will give me a feeling of “I am now truly an archivist.” My wife put this into words the best when she said I am excited for the conference because I “will be around people who use the same terms and know the same acronyms, and will get your nerdy jokes.”

2) The continuing education of Lance I am looking forward to continuing my education outside of the formal school setting. My MSI program gave me some great tools, but I now want to see what professionals in the field have to say about the topics we learned in school. For me, digital preservation and web 2.0 technologies hold a special interest and I will be attending several sessions on those topics. Will they reinforce what I learned in school, or is the view different from the “trenches?”

3) Professional Engagement I will also be doing stuff at the conference that will provide me with several opportunities for shameless self-promotion to engage with other professionals. I have been providing some logistical support for the Research Forum, which will take place on Tuesday the 11th. This will feature posters and presentations highlighting research in the field. I have had a chance to see the proposals and the presentation look very interesting, I am sure I will get a lot out of it. Also, I will be presenting at the student poster sessions on a disaster planning internship I had last summer at ICPSR. I think these activities will help me meet more people, as I am absolutely terrible at networking. My awkward attempts at handing out my business cards are always good for a laugh or two.

Will not leave Texas without eating something resembling this!

Image courtesy of Flickr member athomson / CC-BY-SA

4) Austin I have only been to Texas once and it was a while ago with the family. I am really looking forward to exploring the city and seeing how Texas does a college town. I joked earlier about going just for the brisket, but I do plan on seeing what all the fuss is about, as well as checking out as much as I can of Austin (excepting the bats, not cool). The extras like going to a baseball game and attending the gathering for Michigan alumni will round out the social aspects of the trip [apparently there will be no Michigan reception, booooo ~ ed.]. By the way, for those also going to the conference, I have found the Austin Is for Archivists blog very helpful.

5) #saa09 I plan on going nuts with the web 2.0 at the conference. Hopefully, I will have time for some short posts here. I will definitely make time for numerous tweets from both my Twitter and TheNewArchivist Twitter as well.

There you have it. Like I said, I hope to add some more from the conference, but even if I don’t get a chance, I will write a post-conference-post and tell you if it lived up to my exciting expectations. Oh yeah, I will also give my review of Texas BBQed beef brisket.

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6 Comments

Filed under By-Lance

6 responses to “Austin, Here I Come

  1. Angelique

    Love the new blog! I cannot wait for what’s to come. It should be an interesting mix coming from the four of you. 😉

    Unfortunately, I will not be in Austin next week, but I will be lucky enough to listen/watch the Business Archives Section (BAS) meeting next Wednesday via the web/phone (if it works properly). This is the first time that such a thing is being offered, so I’m excited to take part in it. A lot of companies have cut their travel budgets, so many corporate archivists are not able to make the conference. Through the help of some generous corporate sponsors, BAS was able to set up this “virtual” meeting, allowing us to watch on the internet and to listen or ask questions over the phone. Hopefully it all works!

    Good luck at the conference next week and I look forward to your updates!

    • Lance

      First off, thanks for being the first commenter on NewArchivist. Secondly, that is too bad you will not be able to make it to SAA, but really cool that you will be able to attend that virtual session. Kate at ArchivesNext has a post on SAA wanting to make conference sessions available online by 2013, they must plan on it taking a while. Maybe if your meeting is successful they will speed up the timetable.

  2. I attended SAA in 2006 as a student and again in 2008 after I had been working as an archivist for about a year. They were two very different experiences, although both benefited me in the ways that I was hoping they would at the time. As a student it was inspiring to see the projects and developments at institutions around the country, but I felt very disconnected from the community aspect of SAA. In 2008 I knew more people in the field and so felt more involved and less of an outsider/newbie, and my experience with the sessions was a mixture of being overwhelmed by the limitations of my own institution and a renewed dedication to my job there. I hope you have a good time, and I’m looking forward to hearing your reactions!

    This is a fantastic idea for a blog!

    • Lance

      Thanks so much for the great comment and support, Lindsey. I think I am in the middle of your two SAA experiences, although I am no longer in school, I graduated so recently that I still feel a little intimidated and disconnected from the other participants. I think that feeling will dissipate, however, as the week progresses and I meet more colleagues. I will keep you posted!

  3. Emily S.

    Hey! The blog looks great guys. I totally identify with your above reasons. I’m sad that I won’t be going to SAA. It’s just a little too far away, maybe next year. I look forward to hearing about how it goes! Have a great time!

    • Lance

      Thanks for the reply Emily, I am so glad that you took the time to comment. I know what you mean about being bummed about missing SAA. I really wanted to go to last year’s conference, but just could not afford it. It is hard because you are so excited to be in the profession after your first year in school, but are also completely broke. Part of my plan this year was to present a poster then apply for the SAA travel scholarship. However, in between my application for the poster and scholarship, I was lucky enough to be hired at a place that was willing to help me with the costs associated with the conference. Because of that, I did not end up applying for the scholarship, but that is a resource to keep in mind for next year!