Minnesota Archives Symposium

The Minnesota Archives Symposium is a local educational opportunity for archivists, librarians, records managers, curators, and other information management professionals. We seek to broaden the opportunities for Minnesota information professionals to share knowledge and insights amongst peers at a local level.

6th Annual Minnesota Archives Symposium

Back to Basics

Monday, November 6th at Minneapolis Central Library

As the role of the archivist and the nature of our work has evolved steadily over time, the foundation of our profession will always remain the same. The ways in which we process collections has evolved, but we still process. Our backlogs expand and contract, but we still have backlogs. This year we’re going back to the basics — discussing those universal issues that we all have year in and year out. Learn from the experiences of your colleagues, and join the conversation!

Registration for this event is FREE.

Schedule of Events:

9:00am – 9:30am: Optional Tour of Digitization Operations, Minneapolis Central Library (max. 15 people)
9:30am – 10:00am: Registration and coffee, mingle with vendors
10:00am – 10:10am: Welcome to Symposium
10:10am – 10:30am: TCART Business meeting
10:30am – 10:45am: TCART Member sharing
10:45am – 11:45am: Session One
11:45am – 12:45pm: Lunch, mingle with vendors
12:45pm – 1:45pm: Session Two
1:45pm – 2:15pm: Discussion regarding Session Two presenters
2:15pm – 2:30pm: Break
2:30pm – 3:00pm: Session Three
3:00pm – 3:15pm: Break
3:15pm – 3:45pm: Session Four
3:45pm – 4:15pm: Optional Tour of Digitization Operations, Minneapolis Central Library (max. 15 people)

The symposium will take place on Monday, November 6th at Minneapolis central Library. Directions and information on where to park can be found Parking Instructions. Because of the limitations and cost of parking, we strongly suggest people park elsewhere and take the Blue or Green Line light rail train into downtown. More information on the light rail can be found on the Metro Transit website.

Registration Information:

Registration is FREE, but we ask that participants complete the registration form by Monday, October 30th. On-site registrations will be accepted.


Please contact TCART at tcartmn@gmail.com  or for day of  information, contact Kate Dietrick at diet0134@umn.edu.

Minnesota Archives Symposium Full Schedule

  • 9:00am – 9:30am: Optional Tour of Digitization Operations, Minneapolis Central Library (max. 15 people)
  • 9:30am – 10:00am: Registration and coffee, mingle with vendors
  • 10:00am – 10:10am: Welcome to Symposium
  • 10:10am – 10:30am: TCART Business meeting
  • 10:30am – 10:45am: TCART Member sharing
  • 10:45am – 11:45am: Session One: Interns and Volunteers

More than Zines & Cereal Boxes: Using Students, Interns, and Volunteers to Clear the Backlog

Many institutions lack the resources to hire long term staff members to complete archival processing. Because of this, archival institutions often rely on volunteers, students, and interns to process large amounts of backlog. Several collaborative partnerships, including organizations like the St. Catherine’s Library Science Program, have helped minimize backlog and get items processed into the collection. Elissah, Elizabeth, and Jessica will discuss the struggles and successes of managing different types of work in the archives to significantly minimize large backlogs of their collections.

Presenters: Elissah Becknell, Zine Librarian, Minneapolis Community & Technical College Library; Elizabeth Bastyr, Zine Intern & MLIS Graduate, Saint Catherine University; Jessica Faucher, Corporate Archivist, General Mills

  • 11:45am – 12:45pm: Lunch (provided), mingle with vendors
  • 12:45pm – 1:45pm: Session Two: Processing and Collection Management

What do We Have Here?  Shaping Archival Inventory Metadata into a Usable Library Catalog

Steve Penick and Jessie Storlien from the Stearns History Museum (SHM) in St Cloud would like to share an overview of their archival inventory project and how it will shape the future of its library.  The first phase of the project, funded through a Minnesota Historical Society’s Historical and Cultural Heritage grant, started in January 2017 and will be completed by July 2018.  The presentation includes a brief discussion of the inventory’s goals from improved access, upgraded collection management practices, and enhanced metadata. SHM staff will then develop a conversation about using our inventory data for a new catalog.

Presenters: Steve Penick, Head Archivist, Stearns History Museum; Jessie Storlien, Archivist, Stearns History Museum

Taming the Beast: Processing One of the Largest Collections Received by the University of Minnesota

Former project archivist Amanda Wick and the processing team will share the story behind the massive two year project to make the Carlson Companies Corporate Records and Family papers collection accessible at the University of Minnesota. Presenters will touch on critical factors for successful processing of such an immense collection, obstacles that were overcome, workflow and processes utilized, and project management tools and approaches. Significant time for open discussion will be provided for session attendees.

Presenter: Amanda Wick, Archivist, University of Minnesota

  • 1:45pm – 2:15pm: Discussion regarding Session Two presenters
  • 2:15pm – 2:30pm: Break
  • 2:30pm – 3:00pm: Session Three: Access and Space

New Foundations

In 2015 the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis entered bankruptcy.  As a result, the buildings that had housed the archdiocesan archives since 1961 were sold, and the corporate headquarters of the organization moved across town to East Saint Paul.  The archives staff scrambled to design a new space for 5,000 boxes of archival collections, artwork, and cultural objects on very short notice.

The already daunting task of relocating the archives was further complicated by the fact that the historical materials were in very heavy demand by attorneys and senior staff.  These important stakeholders relied on the archives for their work in responding to the sex abuse crisis and the hundreds of lawsuits it spawned.  The collections had to be accessible and available throughout the entire process.

The move, and the events that precipitated it, ushered in a period of both extreme turmoil and unprecedented opportunity for the archdiocesan archives.  The three members of the Department of Archives and Records Management will explain the impact of these events on the physical space, the organization of the collections, and the processes that govern information management in the archdiocese.

Presenters: Sehri Strom, Records Manager; Allison Spies, Archivist; Heather Lawton, Director of Archives and Records Management

  • 3:15pm – 3:30pm: Break
  • 3:30pm – 3:45pm: Session Four: Outreach

Outreach As Access: Finding the Method That Fits Your Madness

Increasing access to archival material depends as much on outreach and promotion as it does processing and description. This presentation will highlight two Legacy grant projects at the University of Minnesota Libraries that prioritize outreach to increase access. Though the projects are happening (literally) next door to each other at the same institution, project staff are utilizing different outreach strategies, highlighting the importance of finding outreach methods that allow repositories to make the most of their unique resources, partnerships, and audiences.

The archives of the Weisman Art Museum document the history of the collection and museum in all its iterations and provides the means to better understand and contextualize the art collection, the exhibits and the importance of an art museum at a land grant institution. The current project is designed not only to process the collection but publicly highlight various parts of the museum collection and the archival process through blog posts. During an earlier processing project in 2011 processing archivists created the blog “The WAM Files” to document discoveries and track progress. This blog continues to be an entry point and resource for students and researchers alike.

The Upper Midwest Literary Archives’ Prairie Poets and Press project is aimed at increasing access to key literary manuscript collections through processing and outreach. Without an established network for outreach, the UMLA decided to utilize a variety of methods, capitalizing on existing partnerships and happenings in the community. Initiatives have included everything from social media takeovers with partner organizations to pop-up archives at small-town festivals.

Presenters: Heather Carroll, Processing Archivist, University of Minnesota Archives and Weisman Art Museum; Kate Hujda, Assistant Curator, Upper Midwest Literary Archives and Performing Arts Archives, University of Minnesota

  • 3:45pm – 4:15pm: Optional Tour of Digitization Operations, Minneapolis Central Library (max. 15 people)

Vendor Information:

Vendors will be joining us during the Symposium: Hollinger Metal Edge, Micrographics Inc., and Indus International. Thank you as well to our sponsors Saving Tape, Midwest Art Conservation Center, and University Products.


Past Symposiums

2016 – Archives in Conversation. 2016 schedule.
2015 – Bridging the Gap Between our Digital and Physical Collections. 2015 schedule.
2014 – Inviting Interaction: Building Digital Access and Connections in Archives, Special Collections. 2014 Program
2013 – Making Connections: Advocacy, Awareness and Archives. 2013 program.
2012 – Reaching Your Audience: Marketing and Outreach Efforts. 2012 program.

Presentation slides

2014 – Promoting archives by creating digital collections using Islandora
2014 – Digital Arts Sciences + Humanities (DASH) and the Archives
2014 – Digital Tools and Access to Collections
2013 – Advocating Within: Demonstrating the Value of Archives and Archivists.
2013 – Using Interns and Volunteers to Improve Your Community Relations and Promote Future Librarians and Archivists (While Still Supporting Your Operations).
2013 – Making Deeper Connections: How Community Outreach Can Strengthen Support for Special Collections and Create More Meaningful Programming.