From May 31st through June 2nd of 2006, The National Archives, the Arizona State Library and Archives, and the Society of American Archivists hosted a colloquium to consider the question “What are the practical, technical skills that all library and records professionals must have to work with e-books, electronic records, and other digital materials?”. The website for the New Skills for a Digital Era colloquium already includes links to the eleven case studies considered over the course of the three days of discussion as well as a list of additional suggested readings. As mentioned over on The Ten Thousand Year Blog, the pre-print of the proceedings has been available since August, 2007.
As announced in SAA’s online newsletter, the Official Proceedings of the New Skills for a Digital Era Colloquium, edited by Richard Pearce-Moses and Susan E. Davis, is now available for free download. Published under Creative Commons Attribution, this document is 143 pages long and includes all the original case studies. I have a lot of reading to do!
The meat of the proceedings consists of a 32 page ‘Knowledge and Skills Inventory’ and a page and a half of reflections – both co-authored by Richard Pearce-Moses and Susan E. Davis. The Keynote Address by Margaret Hedstrom titled ‘Are We Ready for New Skills Yet?’ is also included.
I am very pleased with how much access has been provided to these materials. These topics are clearly of interest to many beyond the 60 individuals who were able to take part in the original gathering. As an archival studies student it has often been a great source of frustration that so few of the archives related conferences publish proceedings of any kind. It is part of what has driven me to attempt to assemble exhaustive session summaries for those sessions I have personally attended at the past two SAA Annual meetings (see SAA2006 and SAA2007). I think that the Unofficial Conference Wiki for SAA2007 was also a big step in the right direction and I hope it will continue to evolve and improve for the upcoming SAA2008 annual meeting in San Francisco.
The course I elected to take this term is dedicated to studying Communities of Practice. This announcement about the New Skills for a Digital Era’s proceedings has me thinking about the community of practice that seems to currently be taking form across the library, archives and records management communities. I will share more thoughts on this as I sort through them myself.
Finally, a question for anyone reading this post who attended the colloquium: Are you still discussing the case studies with others from that session two years ago? If not, do you wish you were?
Image Credit: The image at the top of this post is from the New Skills for a Digital Era website.