You may already have an organization in mind. Or you may be considering a workshop in conjunction with an event such as the annual AMIA conference. If you’re looking for an organization to partner with, we recommend that you:
- Gather a list of possible organizations in the area
- Contact the organizations to see if they would:
- Have any collections that fit the workshops’ scope
- Would be willing to participate in such a workshop
- Can provide adequate facilities for the workshop
- Arrange for a site visit
What makes a good potential site?
You are looking for a not-for-profit organization that has a small-to-medium collections of audiovisual media—say, from 200 to about 5,000 items, and that has a defined unprocessed or minimally processed collection that needs attention. Based on past experience a six-hour workshop involving 15 archivists and 15 volunteers can result in inspection and basic cataloging for about 200-300 unprocessed items. The workshop is intended to provide basic information about the collection to enable the group to: understand risks to the items and item condition; identify the items of greatest research value and quality; set priorities for preservation and access; and communicate to others––for example, funders––the content and status of the collection.
You also want an organization that already has an existing network of volunteers who can be counted on to show up for the workshop—and are likely to want to continue with the work afterward. The organization should also be able to provide the necessary space (detailed below) free of charge.
If you’re holding the workshop in your own community, start by asking your personal contacts for possible organizations, of course. Other possible sources are:
- AMIA’s Independent Media Interest Group
- The Directory of Organizations of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC)
- Society of American Archivists’ Directory of Archival Organizations in the United States and Canada
- Regional or local networks for historical societies, archives, museums and libraries
- Local Indy media or community media groups
As you compile the list, create a spreadsheet to which everyone in your planning group can add possible organizations and information as they collect it. The spreadsheet should include:
- Name of organization
- Location (especially if its a master list compiled over past and for future workshops)
- Website URL
- Contact person and information
(A sample inquiry letter is included as an appendix.)