Call for Proposals: Disaster Planning for Archives

One of the things that can really impact local businesses, cultural institutions and residents after a disaster is the loss of paper and digital records. Loss of vital records can delay all sorts of recovery: Imagine trying to get emergency loans without any poof of identification, contacting clients without contact information, just accessing your digital records, or recreating old family photo collections. Records managers and archivists are the natural specialists to help institutions, businesses and individuals adequately prepare to protect vital information and valued archives from disasters like Sandy. The A.R.T. is planning a symposium to look at what worked post-Sandy (and other disasters) and what more could be done. They are looking for participants to present at the October 7th, 2013 event in New York City. Proposals are due August 1st. See excerpts from their site below… I included some suggested topics that planners and their ilk could take on. I suggest re-reading the Brooklyn Historical Society’s post on documenting Sandy for understanding why this is all so very important.

Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (ART)
Disaster Planning for Archives and Their Communities: Call for Participation
As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, train service has been restored to the Rockaways and City beaches have opened for the summer, however many archives, libraries, museums and homes have only just begun to get back to “normal” and others are still a long way away. In the spirit of Archives Week it is appropriate to take time to look back at what happened, what went wrong, what went right, and what can be done differently next time.

The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, in conjunction with the Center for Jewish History, is organizing a one-day symposium with the aim of bringing together archivists, records managers, librarians, museum professionals, emergency responders, disaster recovery professionals, volunteers and the general public to address how professional and citizen archivists as well as related professionals can both better protect their collections from disaster and also become a resource for the larger community in disaster situations.

Possible areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Navigating FEMA and other disaster relief assistance
  • Archivists as volunteers — fostering a culture of giving and creating a network of archivist volunteers
  • How archives and cultural institutions fit into the larger emergence response picture, especially post-Katrina.
  • Keeping up morale, resources and volunteer support weeks and months after a disaster

Date: Monday, October 7, 2013
Location: Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

All individual presentations will be 20 minutes long (10 page paper).

Submissions must include a title, name of author and institutional affiliation (if applicable), abstract (250 words max) and indication of technological requirements.

Individual papers or entire panel proposals accepted.

Proposals should be emailed to: by August 1, 2013.

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