Society of American Archivists
Online courses


The Central New York Libraries Resources Council (CLRC) Professional Development Award funded an educational opportunity for me to take two online courses offered by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). They are part of a series of courses that will lead me to, eventually, earn an Arrangement and Description Certificate through the SAA.
The first course was titled, “Appraisal for Arrangement and Description”. The information they presented was incredibly beneficial and relevant to my work as the Director of Archives and Special Collections at the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA). I learned some immediate take-aways for how best to handle some recent donations and also some things I will use down the road. They discussed how to appraise a donation, not in terms of its monetary value, but its collection value. They reviewed how to determine what should be accessioned from within a donation, taking into account physical space limitations and what is already in the overall collection. One suggestion that I found particularly useful was to only keep samples of certain types of items, such as cashed checks, rather than keeping all of those items that were donated. The presenters explained the various schools of thought about what an archives should accept, how that has changed over the years, and why it has changed. This led me to re-evaluate some of the ways I am currently doing things and to really think through what would be best, and also sustainable, for OHA in the long run.
The second course, “Encoding Standards Overview”, was helpful in that it went over the different systems used for encoding descriptive metadata and the pros and cons of each depending on what they are being used for. While I was somewhat familiar with a couple of the ones mentioned, it was useful to gain an understanding of the others and even to compare them to each other. As our organization looks into changing our archival database, this course has given me some insight into how we need to proceed with determining what information is important to include in that new system. It has given me a reference point when deciding what would be best for our collection, our organization, and those wanting to use our collections.
Thank you to the CLRC for supporting this opportunity for me to further my knowledge and education in the field of archives and, ultimately, in assisting me in creating a better and more accessible archives for OHA.

Sarah Kozma

Director of Archives and Special Collections, Onondaga Historical Association

Are you interested in being our next Professional Development Award recipient? Check out the award page for the rules & requirements!