NEA taking the past into the future


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  • 2022-11-29 12:12 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    New England Archivists is pleased to read and respond to the report on A*CENSUS II (A*CII), a massive survey of archivists from across the profession conducted by Society of American Archivists and Ithaka S+R. We are grateful for this investment in learning about the state of the archives field and look forward to the forthcoming Archival Administrators Survey report. What follows are the primary concerns NEA has as an organization in response to the A*CII results when viewed in concert with NEA’s Contingent Employment Survey (CES), and some resources for individuals, especially managers, who want to respond to these concerns through changes in their workplace.

    Salaries & Education
    According to A*CII, 61% of full-time archivists make $40,000-$79,999 in gross salary a year; 69% of part-time employed respondents make $29,999 or less. Broken down further, 42% of full-time archivists earn less than $60,000/year.

    New England is lagging behind. Our region has some of the highest costs of living in the country, with all six New England states in the top 25% cost of living indexes. CES respondents cited concerns about jobs paying a living wage for the area of employment. The most common net salary for archival workers in New England reported to CES is $30,000-$39,999, followed by $40,000-$49,999. A*CII’s most common salary range was $50,000-59,999; while AC*II uses gross (total) instead of net (take-home) salary data, the comparison still indicates New England archival worker pay is low. While these ranges are not broken down between full-time and part-time employment, the fact that only 10% of CES survey takers make $70,000 or more speaks volumes about the undervaluing of archival work. 

    According to A*CII, 86% of archivists have an advanced degree. How do archivists’ compensations compare to those colleagues in other fields with similar levels of education? Not well. Examining the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data on salary information by degree level is sobering. The median weekly earnings for Master’s-holding employees nationally is $1,574, or $81,848 annually; over 73% of archivists earn less than this. Furthermore, despite the high concentration of Master’s degrees in the profession, over 50% of archivists earn less than the median salary for workers whose highest degree earned is a Bachelor’s.

    Further information statistics on professions and salaries are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there is often institutional pushback against salary increases, salary is one of the areas where only managers and administrators can make a difference.

    Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access
    Discussions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion have become a mainstay of discussions in the field. However, A*CII indicates that there is a disagreement about the progress of those discussions. Responses indicate that 44% of respondents of color disagree with the statement “the archives profession has adequately addressed issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access,” compared to 35% of white respondents. Only 14% of people of color and 13% of respondents identifying as a person with a disability stated they felt included in the profession.

    We invite very, very careful reading of questions 40-50 of A*CII and reflection on differing perspectives of colleagues across identities. It is clear that the effectiveness of DEIA efforts are experienced and viewed in a number of ways, and that intent of such initiatives does not automatically result in improvements for everyone. Our efforts to create a more just and inclusive profession must be intersectional across each of our complex identities and needs, and we must listen to one another in order to advocate for one another.

    Participant Bias
    At the A*CII Forum at the SAA Annual Meeting in August, Ithaka Senior Analyst Makala Skinner noted that there is some bias in the results due to self-selection and other factors, but that at this stage, the researchers do not yet know exactly what or how severe this bias is.

    For example, over half of the AC*II respondents worked in college/university or government archives; this seems high given the results of the CES, which indicated a substantially smaller proportion of archivists working in those environments. It is possible that the two surveys did not capture significantly similar populations. This possibility is furthered by the limited responses from interns and students, suggesting that neither survey sufficiently captured their data.

    Future Analysis
    The A*CENSUS II data will eventually be available in the SAA Dataverse, allowing further research and analysis. Additionally, analysis is not yet complete on the Archival Administrators Survey conducted shortly after A*CENSUS II. A few questions are of particular interest:

    • How does education impact how memory workers identify professionally, if at all?
    • Are departments shrinking? Do retirements or departures from a department lead to replacements of the position?
    • One in five archivists are thinking of leaving the field within the next five years – what can we learn about those archivists?
    • Are the high salaries (over $100k) in A*CENSUS II correlated to PhD-level/curatorial positions and administrators?

    It is clear that while future analysis will illuminate particular nuances in the careers and perspectives of archivists, we need to work and make solutions to ensure the sustainability of our profession and to look after ourselves. Please use the resources below to have serious discussions with your colleagues about how to help both in the immediate future and in the long term to create a more sustainable, equitable field for all archivists.

    Archival Workers Collective,, Twitter:  @awefund2020
    Isabel Espinal, April M. Hathcock, and Maria Rios, “Dewhitening Librarianship: A Policy Proposal for Libraries,” in Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race Theory, ed. Sofia Y. Leung and Jorge R. López-McKnight, The MIT Press, 2021.
    Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies (full issue), Vol. 3 No. 2 (2021): Radical Empathy in Archival Practice.
    MIT Collections Directorate Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Task Force. Creating a Social Justice Mindset: Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice in the Collections Directorate of the MIT Libraries. Cambridge MA: MIT Libraries, February 9, 2017.
    Rachael Woody, “How to Create Paid Internships” (free webinar), November 3, 2022, 12:00 noon PST. Registrants will receive a link to the recording after the webinar.
    Rachael Woody, “How Much Am I Worth? Summer 2022 edition.”  
    We Here collective.

  • 2022-08-09 9:04 AM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)



    Past. Present. Possibilities.

    New England Archivists (NEA) invites submission of session proposals for our Spring Meeting to be held March 31 - April 1, 2023, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

    The deadline for proposals is October 7, 2022.

    As we celebrate NEA’s 50th anniversary, this meeting offers us a chance to come together to reflect on the history of our field and the changes it has weathered. We urge members to think about archives workers in this current moment in time: about how our work affects our social, political, and environmental worlds. And as we look to the future, we are called to consider: what are the most important challenges and opportunities in the archival field taking shape on the horizon?

    We look forward to seeing you all in Portsmouth!

    Possible Session Types

    Standard Presentations

    Two or three speakers present on a common theme. May include a moderator to steer discussion and/or introduce speakers and theme.

    Open Forum

    Topical discussion with moderator leading discussion with attendees. May include additional moderator(s) to direct breakout conversations.

    Roundtable Discussion

    Three or four participants make very brief remarks, then discuss a topic together. Includes a moderator to steer discussion.


    Each presentation consists of 20 slides or images displayed for 20 seconds each, with comment, and lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Highest number of presenters possible is 12, fewer if leaving time for questions.

    Lightning Talks

    Like PechaKucha, but without a set format. May or may not include slides or images. Presentations may be from 3 to 10 minutes long, with a number of presenters depending on time allotted for each.


    Moderator announces the topic, and two other individuals debate.

    Note: standard AV (a projector and screen) will be provided for each session. Presenters are expected to provide a laptop for connecting to the projector, as well as any additional audiovisual equipment needs.



    To facilitate collaboration, the Spring 2023 Program Committee has created a space for NEA members to develop session proposals together:

    Please use this space to connect with your colleagues about potential session topics and formats. This collaborative space will be accessible until the deadline for proposals, October 7, 2022.


    Proposal Submission

    To submit a proposal, complete the form here:

    Please note that proposed sessions involving fewer than three presenters and/or covering overlapping topics may be grouped together.

    All submissions will be acknowledged by the Program Committee. If your proposal is selected, your acknowledgment will include instructions about next steps. All presenters are required to register for the conference upon acceptance, at the early-bird rate, and to fund their own travel expenses.


    Scholarships and Awards:

    Meeting and travel scholarships are available through NEA for those in need. Details may be found on the NEA website:

    Please also refer to the following pages for specific details on:

    Accessibility and Code of Conduct:

    NEA is committed to making the Spring 2023 Meeting welcoming and accessible to all presenters and attendees. Presenters are encouraged to ensure that their presentations meet current accessibility guidelines. Presenters are also required to abide by the NEA Code of Conduct, which can be found here:

    If you will need specific accommodations, such as interpretive services, to support your participation in this event, please contact the program chairs ( and

  • 2022-03-22 10:22 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    The New England Archivists Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021-22 election:

    Brett Freiburger, Vice-President/President Elect
    Michelle Farias, Secretary
    Sean Park, Treasurer-Elect/Treasurer
    Peter Carini, Representative-at-Large
    Abigail Malangone, Representative-at-Large

    Congratulations to our incoming Board members! Thanks to the voting membership for participation in this important process, and many thanks to all the candidates who put themselves forward to serve our organization.

    New England Archivists Nominating Committee 2021-22:
    Linda Hocking (Chair)
    Jamie Rice
    Monika Lehman
    Kris Kobialka

  • 2022-03-07 5:16 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    The New England Archivists Inclusion and Diversity Committee is pleased to announce the completion of the Contingent Employment Study and the publication of "Nothing About It Was Better Than a Permanent Job": Report of the New England Archivists Contingent Employment Study Task Force. Read the findings and recommendations in the report here.

    This report contains the study’s methodology, results, analysis, and recommendations for how NEA, workers, managers, and administrators can support contingent workers and advocate for sustained change in our field. The results, when taken together with data from NEA’s first Contingent Employment Study in 2016, indicate that contingent employment is still a pervasive force in the archival field that negatively affects the stability and growth of workers, institutions, and the profession. 

    Some of the study’s findings include:

    • 35% of survey respondents had been employed for more than 5 years over the course of their career. For nearly 17%, it was more than 8 years.
    • More than half of respondents had landed a noncontingent job at some point in their career, but 40% still ended up contingently employed afterwards.
    • More than half had taken a job outside the archival field because they couldn’t find a job in the field and/or needed the money to make ends meet.
    • 37% had considered leaving the field due to contingent employment, including 40% of new professionals.
    • Half of surveyed job postings were for contingent jobs, and more than 70% of term jobs lasted for a year or less.
    • 25% of survey respondents did not receive any job offers during their most recent job search, and many said that contingent employment was a necessity because they had no other choice.

    The Contingent Employment Study Task Force is planning an event to share the results and recommendations with NEA membership in the spring.

    Stephanie Bredbenner, Chair, Contingent Employment Study Task Force
    Jeanne Lowrey, Chair, Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

  • 2021-09-20 10:31 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    The New England Archivists Executive Board would like to thank everyone who responded by volunteering and providing feedback on our difficult decision regarding how to proceed with the Spring 2022 Meeting.

    During the information-gathering process, events overtook us. On August 20, the manager of the hotel we had contracted with for the Spring 2022 Meeting venue informed us that they would not be able to meet the terms of our contract. With this cancellation, we are no longer subject to a financial penalty, and the decision to move forward with a virtual meeting has been made easier. Although many respondents indicated that they vastly prefer the experience of meeting in person overall, the majority of responses indicated that the best choice would be to move to a virtual format. The ongoing uncertainties we face due to the fallout from the continuing health crisis leave us confident in our decision not to seek an alternative venue but instead to host a second virtual annual meeting.

    We are also pleased to report that we now have enough volunteers to fully form a Spring 2022 Program Committee. Once the committee membership has been approved, more information will follow, including new dates for the meeting and a call for proposals. If you have any questions, please reach out to Emily Atkins, NEA Meeting Coordinator, at

    With gratitude to our engaged and engaging community,

    The New England Archivists Executive Board

  • 2021-08-25 3:03 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    The New England Archivists (NEA) is dedicated to cultivating membership, participation, and leadership that reflect the broad diversity of our region and our profession. Inclusion and diversity are core organizational values at the heart of the NEA’s mission.

    The Inclusion and Diversity Committee (IDC) offers many ways for volunteers to get involved, including coordinating our newsletter column, chairing the Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship Committee, and supporting the meeting program committees with accessibility planning. In the coming year, we will support the work of the Contingent Employment Study Task Force, continue to work on establishing a racial justice honoraria fund, and engage in other projects that promote diversity, equity, and accessibility within NEA.

    You can learn more about the IDC’s work here.

    The IDC is currently seeking to fill several roles to continue our work:

    • IDC Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (2-year term) → one open role
    • IDC Member (2-year term)  one open role
    • IDC Members (1-year term)  → two open roles

    Joining the IDC is a great way to get involved with NEA. Students and new professionals are particularly welcome to apply. We look forward to working with you!

    Brief statements of interest (1-2 paragraphs) are due to by the end of the day on Friday, October 15th.

    Please see below for position descriptions and complete application instructions.

    Questions? Contact us:


    IDC Vice Chair/Chair-Elect → one open role

    Vice Chair/Chair-Elect → One 2-year position (November 2021-November 2023)

    The IDC Vice Chair/Chair-Elect serves for two years: a one-year term as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, immediately followed by a one-year term as Chair. The purpose of this structure is to distribute leadership responsibilities and workload evenly within the committee, to give the vice chair a year to become familiar with the IDC and NEA before stepping into the chair role, and to create a mentoring component for both positions. The duties of Vice Chair/Chair-Elect include:

    • Supporting the IDC Chair’s work to coordinate committee programming, events, trainings, and initiatives
    • Assisting with scheduling and creating agendas for monthly meetings
    • Serving as a point person for IDC initiatives as needed
    • Contributing to NEA Executive Board discussions on issues concerning inclusion, diversity, and social justice and serving as a non-voting board member
    • Attending (virtually or in person) quarterly NEA board meetings
    • Coordinating and contributing to the IDC’s ongoing column, “From IDEAs to Action,” for the NEA Newsletter
    • Estimated time commitment: 5-10 hours per month

    IDC members → three open roles

    Committee Member – 2-year term  → one open role (November 2021-October 2023)

    Committee Members – 1-year term  → two open roles (November 2021-October 2022)

    IDC members will serve either one- or two-year terms. This structure allows for continuity from year to year while also opening opportunities for involvement to those who may not be able to commit to longer terms. The IDC Chair and Vice Chair strive to connect committee members to the broader activities of NEA and to support their engagement with the NEA leadership and community.

    Duties include:

    • Attending (virtually) monthly IDC meetings
    • Contributing to the development of IDC programming, events, trainings, and initiatives
    • Performing duties related to IDC initiatives, such as chairing the Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship Committee
    • Coordinating and contributing to the IDC’s ongoing column, “From IDEAs to Action,” for the NEA Newsletter
    • Acting as an IDC representative on other NEA committees, such as meeting program committees or the nominating committee.
    • Serving as a point person for IDC initiatives, as needed
    • Estimated time commitment: 3-5 hours per month

    Application Instructions

    All applicants must be NEA members in good standing. Please indicate in your statement and in your email subject line the position(s) you are interested in. Applicants are encouraged to submit a statement that describes:

    • Your interest in serving on the IDC
    • Why equity, diversity, and inclusion work is important to you
    • Any thoughts you have about how the IDC can better serve the NEA community

    All applications will be reviewed by the NEA Executive Board, as well as the Chair, Vice Chair, and current members of the IDC.

  • 2021-06-11 12:20 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    The New England Archivists Fall Program Committee invites proposals for presentations for the Fall Meeting, Preservation: Save (It) Yourselves!, to be held virtually on October 22, 2021.

    Each talk will have 10-15 minutes to share a success story, completed project, specific strategy, or problem-solving approach to a preservation issue.

    Proposal topics of interest might include but are not limited to:

    • Writing successful preservation grants
    • Implementing a preservation grant (managing labor/timeline)
    • Handling preservation on a budget
    • Tips for preserving three-dimensional objects
    • Starting a born-digital preservation program

    Deadline for submitting proposals: Friday, July 2
    Notifications of accepted proposals: Monday, July 19

    Please submit your proposals via this Google Sheet. The sheet can also be used to connect potential speakers who may want to work together on a presentation proposal.

    If you have any questions, please contact the NEA Fall Program Committee via

  • 2021-06-10 9:22 AM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    Attention student members of New England Archivists: the NEA Newsletter Committee seeks submissions from NEA student members to recognize their achievement in archival writing. The winning work will be featured in the October 2021 issue of the NEA Newsletter, and the author will receive a prize of $150. This award is open to NEA student members in good standing; the membership status of applicants will be verified by the Membership Secretary. Regular and institutional NEA members are not eligible to apply.

    Applicants may submit one work for consideration. The length of the submission should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words. Complete applications will include:

    1. Cover sheet with

    • Applicant’s name
    • Applicant’s academic affiliation
    • Applicant’s mailing address
    • Applicant’s preferred email address
    • Applicant’s phone number
    • Date of application
    • Applicant’s signature

    2. One original and previously unpublished written work that advances scholarship in archives or records management (pieces originally submitted as part of coursework are accepted). Send applications by Wednesday, June 30, to

  • 2021-03-16 7:38 AM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    NEA Executive Board Meeting
    Friday March 19, 2021
    Virtual Meeting via ZOOM
    9am-1 pm

    All NEA members are welcome to attend the NEA Executive Board quarterly meeting on Friday, March 19. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to NEA President Linda Hocking at

  • 2021-03-09 5:30 PM | Julia Callahan (Administrator)

    Are you interested in adapting archives and special collections instruction to an online learning environment? Or perhaps you are already offering virtual instruction but would like to explore new strategies for collections-based learning?

    Consider registering for the NEA Spring Meeting webinar, Collections-Based Online Learning in the Digital Archive, on March 25. In this webinar about teaching and learning in the digital archive, instructor Amy Barlow will discuss teaching an online first-year seminar that uses collections-based learning as an approach for developing coursework and learning outcomes. The program will describe how students in the course developed academic skills and acquired subject knowledge through the sustained study of a digitized manuscript. Participants will gain theoretical and practical knowledge of collections-based learning with digital materials, which may be adapted to various instructional settings both online and face-to-face.

    For more information and to register:

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