January 7, 2017, Ft. Worth, TX

  1. The committee approved the minutes from the previous year.
  2. Attendance /Membership:
    • Those in attendance were: Sara Rivers-Cofield (Chair), Timo Ylimanu (SHA Board liaison), Jenn Ogborne, Mary Petrich-Guy, Marybeth Tomka, Jennifer Melcher, Norine Carroll, Alasdair Brooks, Joe Bagley, Robert Chidester, Leigh Anne Ellison, Beth Waters Johnson, Alicia Paresi, Brad Jones, and Mike Polk
    • Committee chair Sara Rivers-Cofield made a general statement that membership is really open to anyone who wants to serve, and put a question about whether attendees wanted to be a member (or continue as one) on the sign in sheet. Everyone in attendance said ‘yes’ to this.
  3. Presentation of projects: Sara RC reported on the Committee’s efforts for the year, which were primarily focused on having curation-themed activities at the annual Conference. The Committee sponsored:
    • A Curation roundtable, which was full and turned out to be a good venue for those interested in curation to share ideas and discuss common concerns
    • A thematic session titled “Boxed but not Forgotten: The significance of collections-driven research in historical archaeology,” co-chaired by Mark Warner and Sara RC
  4. Update on the Archaeological Collections Consortium (ACC): The ACC is a curation-focused group bringing together members of SHA, SAA, and ACRA collections committees to work together on collections concerns in archaeology. The SHA representatives on the ACC are Mark Warner, Julia King, and Sara Rivers-Cofield. The ACC worked on two main projects in 2016:
    • Putting together a new edited volume on curation/collections management
    • Drafting guidance for “no-collection” fieldwork projects which seem to be a growing trend in the western U.S. but currently lack regulation
  5. Plans and goals: Sara RC started with a preliminary list of plans and goals formed out of the 2016 meeting’s conversation, and put them out for comment and volunteers to help. Sara RC added the disclaimer that her involvement would be more supportive than active in 2017 with her first baby due in May.
    • Conference presence: Plans for the upcoming 2018 conference in New Orleans were discussed with two ideas rising to the top of the list:
      • Workshops: The committee discussed having a curation workshop (or two?) to cover things like best practices and standards. Also discussed was the idea of gearing a workshop towards students who are not getting trained in collection responsibilities as they embark on projects and could use guidance on how to plan ahead before generating a collection in the first place. Mary Petrich-Guy suggested talking to the Academic & Professional Training Committee and its student sub-committee about working together on this. Marybeth Tomkin, Brad Jones, and Norine Carroll expressed willingness to help with the workshop. [In the meeting of committee chairs Saturday afternoon, SRC did bring this up and Carolyn White, Chair of the APTC was interested so there may be potential for co-sponsorship there. It was also suggested that the Ethics Committee would be a good co-sponsor for the student workshop on planning for collections.]
      • 3-Minute Forum: Sara RC said that the idea of a 3-minute forum featuring collections-based work had been floated for 2017 but hadn’t come to fruition, and she hoped to revive the idea for 2018 now that Alasdair Brooks had joined the committee and he had successfully organized such sessions in the past. Alasdair could not commit to attending the 2018 meeting but said he was willing to help the committee get such a forum organized even if from afar.
    • Compiling resources on standards, box fees, funding sources, etc.: In the 2016 CCC meeting there was a general interest in SHA being a resource for compiling standards, box fee information, curation tips, etc., and Sara RC reported that she had followed up on this by getting a list of repositories and their standards that had been compiled fairly recently at the NPS; the next step is to get permission from the NPS for SHA to use this unpublished information. The NPS no longer has someone on staff who regularly compiles repository info like they have in the past—the last box fee list update was published in 2008—so there is a need for professional organizations to help take this on. The SAA Curation Committee is also working on compiling resources/standards/box fees, so Sara RC and Danielle Benden (SAA’s committee chair) will coordinate to share info and prevent overlap in the work. Potential products discussed include:
      • Adding resources to the SHA website: Members in attendance asked how this would be structured and maintained to keep links and information current, which will be a big concern. Sara RC said she had no answers on this because at this point the information isn’t compiled yet; the first step is to gather the info we want to disseminate. [In the meeting of committee chairs Saturday afternoon, Mark Freeman, Chair of the Communications Committee reported that the website is much more flexible now and each committee can have a page and have editorial control over it, it’s just a matter of getting content. This was good news considering the CCC’s hopes for adding online resources.]
      • Updating the conservation FAQ: Emily Williams mentioned this at the 2016 meeting but was not present to discuss it, so follow-up with her is needed.
      • Updating the SHA Curation Standards: Since one of the suggestions in the 2016 meeting was for SHA to have a set of curation standards, Sara RC investigated and discovered that one already exists; it was written by Bob Sonderman in 1993. There was general agreement in the 2017 meeting that it’s time to update this.
      • Develop webinars or YouTube videos: How-to videos and webinars on basic curation tasks like labeling, bagging, etc. were discussed, but this would be more on the ambitious side since it requires willing ‘actors,’ video editing, etc. This could be another case where getting together with the APTC and its student sub-committee could be helpful.
    • Newsletter Content: The CCC had discussed trying to have more of a presence in the newsletter but dropped the ball on actually generating content.
      • Alasdair Brooks, the Newsletter Editor, is now on the CCC and said they would be very amenable to having more curation content in the newsletter, which can include lots of photos and even video now that it’s all digital.
    • Collections Award: In the 2016 meeting, Giovanna Vitelli brought up the idea of creating an SHA award for exceptional work with collections, so Sara RC floated this idea again for comment. The SHA officers in attendance, Timo Ylimanu (the CCC’s SHA Board liaison) and Alasdair Brooks, both indicated that SHA is not currently favoring appeals for new awards. Also discussed was whether having a “collections” award would perpetuate the notion that collections-based work is somehow different than the archaeological work that awards are already available for, in which case having a separate award could backfire in terms of normalizing collections-based research as good practice. By general consensus the attendees thought that the CCC would be better served by putting its efforts into regularly nominating exceptional collections work for the awards that already exist, and Sara RC said she would coordinate with the Awards committee to understand the deadlines so she could e-mail the CCC members reminders when nominations were needed.
  6. Discussion/New Business from attendees
    • Leigh Anne Ellison mentioned that in the technology room she talked to Chris Webster who is always looking for content the podcast Arch365. This could be another way for the CCC to get the word out about curation and collections work.
    • Although not present because of a conflict with another meeting, Mark Warner reiterated an offer from the University of Idaho to do free bottle residue analysis (sender pays shipping). Just e-mail him at mwarner@uidaho.edu.
  7. Adjournment