New York Archives Virtual Conference

Save the Date!

NYAC will be having its annual (free) virtual conference Friday, June 7th, 2024 and registration is now open!

Conference Registration via Zoom

The NYAC Board is also excited to announce a new pilot project to bring NYAC members together during the virtual conference: NYAC Watch Parties!

The Regional Connections Committee is pleased to provide seven dedicated “Watch Party” locations (listed in the form linked below) where you can view the conference with others from your area, including time for networking and discussion.

Watch Party Registration is now Closed.

If you register for a Watch Party, you do not need to separately register for the NYAC conference. Everyone registered for a Watch Party will receive an email with links to the conference recordings afterward.

Schedule at a Glance

Friday, June 7th, 2024

Poster Sessions

9:00 – 9:15 AMOpening Remarks
9:15 – 10:00 AMKeynote
10:00 – 10:15 AMMorning Break
10:15 – 10:45 AMMaking the Center for Brooklyn History: Reflections on combining two major institutions
10:45 – 11:15 AMThe eba Legacy Project
11:15 – 11:45 AMBuilding Community: Sharing New Stories through Innovative Manuscript Collections Initiatives
11:45 AM – 12:45 PMLunch
12:45 – 1:15 PM Converting legacy finding aids through Empire ADC
1:15 – 1:45 PMWorking with Undergraduates to Diversify Collections
1:45 – 2:00 PMAfternoon Break
2:00 – 2:30 PMImplementing Digital Preservation at a Small Institution
2:30 – 3:00 PMLinked Data for Local History: An Art Colony Case Study
3:00-3:05 PMClosing Remarks

Zoom Tips 

Before the Conference

  • Make sure you have installed the latest version of Zoom
  • Check that your computer is working. NYAC board members will not be able to troubleshoot technology issues for attendees during the conference

During the Conference

  • Your microphone and camera will be disabled for the conference
  • Use the Q&A module to ask questions of current panelists
  • Change your Chat settings to direct messages to “all panelists and attendees” if you are making a public comment
  • Remember to be courteous and abide by the NYAC Code of Conduct

Program Schedule Details

9:00-9:15 am Opening Remarks

The New York Archives Conference welcomes you to our 2024 Virtual Conference! We are pleased to once again offer our conference virtually and are grateful to our presenters and attendees for their willingness to participate in this format. Thank you also to our sponsors, the Empire State Library Network, Polygon Document Recovery, and University Products, for their support of this conference.


Autumn Haag | 2024 Co-chair
Cara Dellatte | 2024 Co-Chair
Jaime Karbowiak | 2024 Co-Chair

9:15-10:00 am Keynote Speaker


Gabriella Leone, History Archives Manager at the Staten Island Museum

10:00 – 10:15 am Morning Break

10:15 – 10:45 am Making the Center for Brooklyn History: Reflections on combining two major institutions

In February 2020, Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Historical Society announced that they would merge to create the Center for Brooklyn History (CBH). The very next month, New York City went into COVID lockdown. It was only the first, albeit perhaps the most arduous, hurdle to the historic merger of these two major cultural heritage institutions. Two members of the CBH collections team will share insights and reflections about the work accomplished so far and the path ahead.


Dee Bowers, they/them/theirs
Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library

Natiba Guy-Clement, she/her/hers
Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library

10:45 – 11:15 am The eba Legacy Project

The eba Legacy Project is a multifaceted, long term endeavour whose aim is a permanent home for the extensive eba archive; a touring and online exhibition and an accompanying catalogue that gives the history of eba. Electronic Body Arts, Inc. (eba) emerged as an artist collective in Albany, New York in 1972. The collection of material covering fifty years of operation, currently in storage, is in the process of being archived with the creation of an inventory. The purpose of creating the archive is two-fold; to preserve and make accessible the history and activity of eba and to inspire and seed creative communities for the future. Ultimately the legacy project will demonstrate how a creative community can be sustainable while highlighting the importance of performing arts archives for small not-for-profit organisations. For this presentation eba founder Maude Baum and historian Dr. Marianne Schultz will discuss the ongoing process of creating the eba archive and plans for its future.


Brooke Hill
Electronic Body Arts, Inc.

Maude Baum, she/her/hers
Electronic Body Arts, Inc.

11:15 – 11:45 am Building Community, Sharing New Stories through Innovative Manuscript Collections Initiatives

This presentation shares recent initiatives by the Albany County Historical Association (ACHA) to recognize and include new stories in our manuscript collections. The program will have 2 parts: (1) an overview of the ACHA’s Community Digitization Program which worked with diverse local community members to digitize records which were still held by local families, while providing a supportive environment for obtaining the digital records, with appropriate legal consent. (2) The ACHA’s work with the NYS Library and New Netherland Institute on a grant initiative funded by the National Archives to survey small, often rural, historical societies and provide training programs in identifying historical records from 1664-1827, the year of final manumission in NYS. ACHA and NNI staff will be working with local community members to identify and translate Dutch records related to Native Americans and African Americans in their collections, with a digitization program with online exhibit.


Kathryn Kosto, she/her/hers
Albany County Historical Association | Ten Breock Mansion

Aaron Bradt, he/him/his
Albany County Historical Association | Ten Broeck Mansion

11:45-12:45 pm Lunch

12:45-1:15 pm Converting legacy finding aids through Empire ADC

This session will discuss the Oskar Diethelm Library’s project to convert its legacy finding aids using the Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative. In 2020, the finding aids for the library were only available as typed PDFs, many of which were from the 1980s that could not be searched or easily viewed. Through the Empire ADC, the library has now converted 68 finding aids, which are all available and searchable on their website. This has greatly improved access to the collections and increased the number of visitors and reference requests for the library. The librarian will go over the process and benefits of this project so that other libraries can be made aware of this resource available to New York repositories.


Nicole Topich, she/her/hers
Oskar Diethelm Library, Weill Cornell Medicine

1:15-1:45 pm Working with Undergraduates to Diversify Collections

At the Binghamton University Special Collections, we have been approached by various community organizations to digitize or collect their history. Despite clear community interest, understaffing has forced us to document the community through ad hoc projects. We hope that in the near future we can start to collect community materials in a more programmatic and active way, with the specific goal of diversifying the collection. In the Spring 2024 semester, Binghamton University Libraries will pilot an undergraduate research fellowship. The Special Collections has asked for one student researcher to write a white paper exploring contemporary practices of community archiving as a method for diversifying collections in university special collections. The research project will focus on finding models and techniques that we can apply to document a richer local history. This presentation will explore the design and outcomes of this pilot project, both for the archive and for the student.


Madison White, she/her/hers
Binghamton University

1:45-2:00 pm Afternoon Break

2:00-2:30 pm Implementing Digital Preservation at a Small Institution

This presentation will share my experience developing a digital preservation implementation plan at my small organization. With a small staff and a small budget, there had been no previous concerted effort to address the preservation and management of digital archival records. Following a repository-wide survey of digital records and legacy media, I’ll discuss how I used the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s (NDSA) Digital Preservation Matrix and the Digital Preservation Coalition’s (DPC) Rapid Assessment Model to conduct benchmarking activities and draft a report that detailed out a 5-year digital preservation implementation plan. I’ll share successes, failures, and the particular challenges of digital preservation work at a smaller institution.


Amanda Garfunkel, she/her/hers
Medical Center Archives of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine

2:30-3:00 pm Linked Data for Local History: An art colony case study

I began using Wikidata after joining a group that was researching a nearby, under-documented artist colony (in advance of an exhibition at the Ulster County Historical Society). The results were surprising and encouraging. I created basic Wikidata entries for individual colony members (with birth, death, and education claims and source citations). I then watched as international contributors made new connections (with citations) to those original, simple entries: A museum in New Zealand added the name of an artist in their collection who had studied at our artist colony. Other contributors connected international authority records to the artist entries I’d created – including VIAF, Find a Grave, WorldCat Entity, Benezit, Library of Congress authority, and FamilySearch – IDs. Each contribution gifted us with previously unknown information (and new research rabbit holes to fall down)! This case study provides an overview of Wikidata concepts from a local history perspective.


Leslie Melvin, she/her/hers
Independent researcher

3:00-3:05 pm Closing Remarks


Autumn Haag | 2024 Co-chair
Cara Dellatte | 2024 Co-Chair

Poster Sessions

Aspirations and Realities of Shared and Equitable Collecting at Columbia University Libraries 

Against the backdrop of the 2020 Uprisings, we developed a Shared Equitable Collecting pilot to interrupt extractive collecting practices, redirecting funds from acquiring new materials towards developing access strategies for reparatively sharing materials with impacted communities. Actions included: updating the archives’ acquisition form to require curators to consider the ethical impact of collecting from historically marginalized communities and articulate how acquisitions will be made accessible to the collection’s community of origin. A sample collection’s description was critically re-evaluated for exclusions, found to be lacking key contextual and provenance information,  and reprocessed with an eye to inclusive descriptive practices. A subset of materials were then digitally repatriated in collaboration with the donor’s family and activist collective, and opportunities for greater access created via the Internet Archive and Columbia’s digital platform. Our presentation critically evaluates whether the pilot, in fact, inspired more and better accountability from staff to creators and their communities.


Kimberly Springer | she, her, hers
Oral History Archives at Columbia University Libraries /Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Celeste Brewer | she, her, hers
Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University Libraries

Enhancing Preservation and Access to Cold War Era Czech Glass Design Drawings: Reimagining a Digitization Workflow at the Rakow Research Library 

In July 2023, the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass embarked on a large-scale project to digitize approximately three thousand design drawings by Czech glass artists; the drawings date from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, a period in which artistic expression was severely limited by Czechoslovakia’s communist government. Before the project began, the library developed a new digitization workflow involving members from several different teams to ensure long-term preservation and promote access to the collection. From digitization, rehousing and relabeling, updating individual item records, and creating a collection-level finding aid, we prioritized clearly defining roles and maintaining open communication among everyone involved. We’ll share what we learned, what worked well, and what could be improved in the future. Please see the Steinberg Foundation Collection of Czech Glass Design Drawings to view the digital collection. A collection-level finding aid will be available in the Rakow Library’s ArchivesSpace database this summer.


Joe Schill | he/him/his
Corning Museum of Glass

Kylie McKenna | she/her/hers
Corning Museum of Glass

Utilizing 3D Printed Models to Safeguard Archival Treasures and Enhance Visitor Experience

In recent years, advancements in 3D printing technology have made it easier than ever to safely create accurate representations of fragile objects. This presentation will demonstrate real world examples of how 3D printing is being used to provide greater accessibility to delicate archival objects both through exhibits and through hands on interactions with students and visitors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Both the 3D models and the scans can be valuable tools in expanding accessibility to fragile objects and encouraging greater integration of archival objects in student learning. By combining the use of 3D object with their digital representation’s students are granted much greater access to archival collections while reducing handling of the original artifact.


Aaron Pahl | he/him/his
University of Alabama at Birmingham