Free virtual conference!
Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 9am to 4pm

Conference Registration via Zoom

Schedule at a Glance

Thursday, June 10 – Saturday, June 12, 2021

Lightning Talks and Poster Session

Friday, June 11, 2021

9:00-9:15 am Welcome
9:15-10:15 am Preserving Activism Between and Beyond the Gates: Collaborative Models for Archival Engagement in an Academic Setting
10:15-10:25 am Morning Break
10:25-11:55 am From One Institution to All: Documenting the Impact of COVID-19
11:55-1:40 pm Lunch Break, Lightning Talks, and Poster Session
1:40- 2:40 pm Humanizing Deaf Experiences and Studies by Divesting and Diversifying the Archives
2:40-2:50 pm Afternoon Break #2
2:50-3:50 pm OurStoryBridge: Connecting the Past and the Present
3:50-4:00pm Wrap Up and Thanks

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 Welcome

The New York Archives Conference welcomes you to our 2021 Virtual Conference! While disappointed we are not able to meet in-person this year, 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, University Products, Polygon, and the Archives Partnership Trust, for their support of this conference.


Nicole Westerdahl, 2021 Program Chair

9:15-10:15 am Preserving Activism Between and Beyond the Gates: Collaborative Models for Archival Engagement in an Academic Setting

When attempting to increase student’s engagement with university archives, archivists have to grapple with a long history of collecting efforts that prioritize the documentation of the school’s administration over students’ contributions. How do archivists and faculty increase engagement with the archives when the students don’t see themselves represented in the historical record? How can we foster an environment that welcomes the students into the archives, both as researchers and as records-creators?   

Archivists, faculty, and students from Pratt Institute, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and CUNY Queens College will demonstrate the ways in which they’re using student activism records in instruction sessions, course development, student employment, and research fellowships to foster civic engagement and develop students’ critical research skills while creating a historical record that is inclusive of student experiences and increasing awareness of university archives. This session will highlight practical approaches to archival engagement through collaborations between archivists, faculty, and students. These collaborations have helped the archives amplify existing records of BIPOC student-involvement, document current student-led social justice initiatives, and advocate for further access and outreach initiatives.


Rebecca Krucoff, Pratt Institute
Cristina Fontánez Rodríguez, Pratt Institute
Lindsay Anderberg, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Obden Mondésir, CUNY Queens College

10:25-11:55 am From One Institution to All: Documenting the Impact of COVID-19

Beginning in early 2020, libraries and cultural heritage institutions across the country focused on collecting archival materials to document the COVID-19 pandemic. This session will include a presentation on the rapid-response, digital archive project titled Documenting COVID-19: Stony Brook University Experiences and a discussion of the challenges of this type of collecting initiative in larger national contexts with LYRASIS’ 2020 report Collecting Archival Materials During the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Stony Brook University: Kristen Nyitray, Dana Reijerkerk, and Chris Kretz
LYRASIS: Katy Klettlinger, Tom Clareson, and Leigh Grinstead

1:40-2:40 pm Humanizing Deaf Experiences and Studies by Divesting and Diversifying the Archives

Archival literature is silent on the subjects of curating, managing, and creating access to Deaf history and culture. As professionals working with Deaf cultural heritage collections, panelists will convene for an exploratory dialogue around the opportunities and tensions of participatory community archives. Increasing awareness of Deaf culture and creating a baseline for Deaf cultural literacy are essential first steps in building relationships between Deaf communities and cultural heritage professionals. Some barriers that influence the work are lack of sign language fluency, and the interpretation of materials. There are also attitudinal barriers within academia, and entrenched prejudices that favor hearing over Deaf culture. As with existing community initiatives, we will investigate frameworks such as Deaf-Gain, archival theory, cultural capital, and archives decolonization to build an architecture of practice in developing Deaf cultural heritage collection guidelines. It is hoped that there will be active audience participation in what promises to be a lively and vital dialogue.

Please review the Interpreter Guidelines for Workshops and Events prior to attending this session.


Elizabeth Call, Rochester Institute of Technology
Joan Naturale, Rochester Institute of Technology
Ella Von Holtum, Rochester Institute of Technology

2:50-3:50 pm OurStoryBridge: Connecting the Past and the Present

OurStoryBridge: Connecting the Past and the Present ( is a free resource and tool kit for producing a crowdsourced, online community story project using audio stories and archival photographs. It helps communities replicate the success of the model, Adirondack Community: Capturing, Retaining, and Communicating the Stories of Who We Are ( in communities across the country, with an initial focus on New York.

The presentation will introduce the projects, highlight the role of archivists and archival resources, address questions about starting story projects on the OurStoryBridge model, and lead attendees to free resources. 


Jery Y. Huntley, MLS, Adirondack Community and OurStoryBridge Founder, Keene Valley Library
Elizabeth Rogers, MLS, Archivist, Keene Valley Library Archives

3:50-4:00 pm Wrap Up and Thanks

Thank you for attending the conference! Please remember to fill out the NYAC conference evaluation form. We appreciate your feedback.


Nicole Westerdahl, 2021 Program Chair

Lightning Talks

The American Jewish Congress Project: Completing the Narrative

The American Jewish Congress Records is one of the largest and most heavily used collections within the archives of the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), representing 100 years of the struggle for civil rights both at home and abroad, as well as Jewish civic life throughout the United States. While a majority of the collection was acquired and processed by AJHS beginning in 2006, an additional 100 boxes documenting the organization’s final years remained unprocessed and inaccessible to researchers. A recent NHPRC grant has now made it possible to process and digitize the remaining materials, completing the narrative of this culturally and historically significant collection. As the Project Archivist, I will discuss the unique challenges of incorporating a large backlog into an already established collection and the increased priority of digitization in the context of both preservation and accessibility.


Ruby Johnstone, American Jewish Historical Society

Be the Octopus: How a community coordinated a COVID-19 documentation project

In the middle of March 2020, the team of the Queens Memory Project made a collective decision. Facing the existential uncertainty of a pandemic, they got to work. They adapted their guidelines for volunteer interviewers recording from their homes. They overhauled their archival processing workflows, incorporating new technologies and dozens of new contributors. They leaned into social media outreach and developed a new audience. They partnered with technologists, journalists and media professionals to produce high quality web, podcast and television content. They engaged with researchers and direct service providers from the non-profit sector as well as their academic partners to develop in-depth discussion programs that they streamed live and then archived for thousands of subsequent views. And they remembered to engage with artists to produce programs that offered inspiration and delight. Hear from eight team members from different arms of this initiative; each arm a coordinated, but autonomous hub of activity.


Natalie Milbrodt, Queens Public Library
Meral Agish, Queens Public Library
Dacia Metes, Queens Public Library
Jordan Gass-Poore, Independent podcast producer
Lori Wallach, Queens College, CUNY
Sam Riddell, Independent podcast producer
Sam Addeo, Urban Archive
Jo-Ann Wong, Queens Public Library

The Digital Archiving of COVID-19

This presentation will look at the digital archiving of the COVID-19 pandemic from a macro-to-micro analysis, starting with a global view and moving to the United States, then looking at New York State, and ending with the examination of personal narratives within communities. In addition, this presentation will show some procedures and theories behind how these events are being archived. Researching this information will help archivists reevaluate their current methods and consider other ways to collect, evaluate, curate, and preserve history for posterity.


Amanda Greenwood (she/her), University at Albany, New York

Digital preservation for all! Building a network of training resources to help save our digital heritage

In 2018, the Library of Congress entrusted its pioneering Digital Preservation Outreach & Education (DPOE) program to Pratt Institute and New York University to further develop it into the future and foster a professional network that will endure. To build on this promise, the schools are building DPOE-Network (DPOE-N). DPOE-N is a network of training resources available to cultural heritage professionals nationwide to enhance their digital preservation knowledge with a significant focus on outreach and recruitment. Thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2020, work has resumed on this important initiative.

DPOE-N is motivated by the pressing need for cultural heritage institutions to collect, preserve, and provide access to born-digital materials. This lightning talk will highlight DPOE-N’s efforts to provide microfunds to archivists and other cultural heritage professionals for digital preservation training. It will also discuss DPOE-N’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic—allocating funding for emergency hardware support to small institutions in need of new hardware to ensure the persistence of their digital collections. You can learn more online at


Erin Barsan, Pratt Institute
Hilary Wang, Pratt Institute

Disruption, Transition, Adaptation: Archivists Working Under COVID-19

In this lightning round session, panelists will discuss how a small but spirited archive is adapting to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Queens College Special Collections and Archives (SCA) is managed by one full-time Head along with several part-time Assistants and Graduate Fellows. Two panelists will discuss how their project developing a Memory Lab has been disrupted; two panelists will discuss their transition from physical processing to digitally-based work; and two panelists will discuss the pros and cons of joining the team in a completely remote setting. The Department Head will address how the pandemic has impacted strategic goals and working styles for the unit as a whole. The panelists will also touch on their collaborative work to develop a statement on ethical and inclusive description. Since SCA is largely staffed by current and recent graduates of the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, this is a special opportunity to hear from a diverse group of emerging professionals during a challenging and rapidly changing time in the field.


Annie Tummino, Queens College, CUNY
Jeanie Pai, Queens College, CUNY
Victoria Fernandez, Queens College, CUNY
Kuba Pieczarski, Queens College, CUNY
Tom Gubernat, Queens College, CUNY
Patricia Reguyal, Queens College, CUNY
Caitlin Waldron, Queens College, CUNY

Highlighting Underrepresented Voices Within Our Collections

Archivists at Union College will present on highlighting underrepresented voices within the collections. As more collections have been processed and opened up for research, we have prioritized women’s collections to coincide with the 50th anniversary of coeducation at the College. Matthew Golebiewski will discuss the papers of poet Jeanne Robert Foster, and 46er, Kay Flickinger Dockstader at the College’s Adirondack Research Library. Andrea Belair will discuss her findings while conducting research for her exhibit, Pillars and Walls: Celebrating the Contributions of Women in the Making of Union College. The presentations will touch on ethics, arrangement and description, outreach and more.


Matthew Golebiewsk (he/him/his), Union College
Andrea Belair (she/her/hers), Union College

The Importance of Web Archiving, Web Crawling, and Web Appraisal

In the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives at the University at Albany, New York, I was granted the Anna Radkowski-Lee Graduate Assistantship in web archiving for the 2020-2021 academic year. My responsibilities were to preserve web content via web crawling programs such as Archive-It and Conifer, develop metadata standards and procedures for describing the web captures, and assist with web appraisal. I am interested in sharing my experiences of the things I have learned and utilized in order to collect, preserve, manage, and appraise web content.


Amanda Greenwood (she/her), University at Albany, New York

Mightier Than The Plough: The Modern Farmer Newspaper & Black Organizing in 1930s Agriculture

This presentation will highlight the serial, The Modern Farmer, one of the only publications published in the Depression-era United States for African-American farmers. Founded by the National Federation of Colored Farmers (NFCF), the newspaper was published monthly in Chicago and Tennessee, between 1929-1949. The president of the NFCF, James P. Davis, was also one of the founding editors of The Modern Farmer. Mann Library at Cornell University holds the only known surviving print copies. Despite digitization in 2016 the serial has remained largely unused.

This resource reflects themes of social activism, collective organizing and the struggles of Black farmers. Recognizing the newspaper’s interdisciplinary relevance, two librarians created an outreach plan centered on digital informational tools, namely a research guide and Wikipedia pages, as well as an associated Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon event. Through focus on building awareness of the resource, the expectation is that the collection can stand on its own as the driver of research engagement. The discussion will conclude with the impact of this approach and how it provided a successful and innovative path for collaboration with faculty and the wider community.


Deborah Cooper (she/her/hers), Digital and Special Collections Librarian, Mann Library, Cornell University
Selena Bryant, Teaching and Learning Librarian, Mann Library, Cornell University

The PUPS Model: Private Funding, University Staff, Public Records, and State Archives

The Robert Moses Collection Project (RMCP) is an ambitious venture to create widespread public access to historic records produced during the era when Robert Moses developed most of Long Island’s public parks and parkways. The project is a rare initiative under which state agencies and private entities have come together with a commitment to shed light on this previously hidden collection related to one of the most significant figures in New York history.

The “PUPS Model” project framework consists of four main elements (Private funding, University staff, Public records, and State archives) and focuses on the collaborative efforts of public and private institutions invested in the project. RMCP archivists will present a pre-recorded lightning talk detailing how through funding provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Long Island University archivists are using New York State Archives guidelines and procedures to inventory, process, digitize, and create access to a seldom-seen treasure trove of over 400 cubic feet of New York State Department of Parks records.


Jaime Karbowiak, RMCP Senior Archivist, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU Post
Emily Antoville, RMCP Processing Archivist, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU Post
Judi Yuen, RMCP Processing Archivist, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU Post

Social Media as a Tool for Empathy in Memory Institutions

Ideas of institutional empathy and activism have been gaining momentum in the archival and museum fields over the past several decades, but the precise role of these institutions in creating positive change in society remains in question. Many urge institutions to engage meaningfully with the public in order to serve their needs, both for moral and practical reasons. Meanwhile, social media has become widely adopted by all kinds of institutions, and many are discovering that the most successful social media is personal and authentically engaged. These trends suggest that social media can be used as part of a broader empathetic practice. This thesis project surveyed memory institutions (institutions that protect and provide access to primary source collections) in the United States to explore the extent to which they are using social media to benefit the public. The survey questions explore different empathetic uses of social media, as well as possible challenges and drawbacks.


Sarah Dutton (she/her), Queens College

Sing Sing Prison Museum & the Ethics of Collecting

As the Sing Sing Prison Museum has begun collecting objects, we have found ourselves encountering unique problems, including the intersection of privacy, power, and history. As an institution, we are committed to sharing the complex history of Sing Sing Prison, as a lens to better understand the criminal justice system. Collecting and preserving objects are an important part of this mission. However, as we rewrite the collections management policy, we are trying to balance the need to preserve history with deeper ethical concerns. How do we preserve the privacy of individuals? How do we return humanity to these incarcerated persons? How do we balance this with the sometimes-competing desires of victims and their families? These issues speak to a larger question: how can we ensure our museum practices uphold our museum values?


Nicole Hamilton, Sing Sing Prison Museum

When the world Zigs we Zag: Brief steps to manage a solo-driven archive during a Pandemic

In response to the Pandemic the SUNY Cortland College Archives, like many institutions, had to rethink routines for the upcoming semesters. Traditional practices involving teaching, internships, exhibits, and research took a new shape due to safety guidelines. This session will briefly touch on three areas where I (a solo archivist) could help with remote classroom engagement, manage distance interns, and take part in a campus wide time capsule for COVID-19.


Jeremy Pekarek, SUNY Cortland (he/him/his)

Poster Session

Anonymizing the Archive: On Responsibly Describing Activist Social Media Collections

This poster explores anonymization as a means for archivists to responsibly collect and describe activist social media. The goal is to collect such records without exposing their creators, subjects, or communities to further harm. The hows and whys of collecting social media – specifically Twitter data – are detailed first, alongside the privacy-related potential dangers of such work.

Following that, a survey of prevailing practices notes that successful activist social media collectors have relied, in varying degrees, on community collaboration and anonymization. The anonymization strategies of two projects, Documenting the Now and Proyecto #Cuéntalo, are highlighted for their privacy benefits and limitations. Finally, future research directions are detailed, such that activist social media archivists can ensure their work is responsible, compassionate, and does no harm.


Will Brown, New York University

Buckland and Otlet Walk Into A Bar: The Application of Document Theory to Misinformation

Misinformation has always been with us and with the rise of digital media and the age of misinformation, information science professionals must consider what misinformation is in the context of the information model as a way of clarifying our own positions and better understanding our collections.  

Paul Otlet and Michael Buckland’s theories on documentation state that an item is not defined by its medium nor its validity and instead an item should be judged as a document based on its value as a form of evidence or research.  Through application of their theories in documentation and information design, I explain the immediate need to preserve misinformation as archival materials and the requirements needed to build systems that house inherently false materials.


Eirini Melena Karoutsos, Graduate Assistant, Pratt Institute School of Information 

Pace: A Model for Gallery Libraries?

Art galleries in New York City are rapidly expanding into mini museums. Not only have these mega-galleries built extensive libraries, but they’ve also accumulated a wealth of primary source materials that document changes within the New York City art scene, the evolution of New York City itself, and the rise of the global art market. What is the role of large gallery libraries and archives today? How are they changing in terms of transparency and accessibility? Pace Gallery, which turns 61 in 2021, acts as a case study. 


Andrea Kutsenkow, Archivist, Pace Gallery
Ashley Levine, Archivist/Digital Resource Manager, Artifex Press

Web Accessibility Conformance: Evaluating Digital Access Points in Archives and Special Collections

“Web Accessibility Conformance: Evaluating Digital Access Points in Archives and Special Collections” will present the findings from a web accessibility survey I sent to the Code4lib and SAA section listservs, for an Archives and Management Course at Pratt Institute, Spring 2020. The poster will present summaries from 32 survey responses, highlighting the complex challenges professionals face in addressing web accessibility institutionally. It will discuss web accessibility considerations for different types of access points such as  repositories landing page (websites) and downloadable PDF finding aids. Lastly, this poster presentation will also share resources and tools available for archivists to assess their own institution’s web accessibility conformance.


Hilary Wang, Pratt Institute School of Information

New York Archives Conference Board Members

Kristine Boniello  (she/her/hers), Digitizer, NBCUniversal
Bridget Bower, College Archivist, Ithaca College Archives and Special Collections
John Diefenderfer (he/him/his), Archivist, Archival Advisory Services, New York State Archives
Autumn Haag, Assistant Director, Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, University of Rochester
Déirdre Joyce (she/her/hers), Head, Digital Library Program, Syracuse University
Laura Montgomery, Archivist, Digital Strategies, New York State Archives
Jeremy Pekarek (he/him/his), Archivist and Instructional Services Librarian, SUNY Cortland
Ryan Perry (he/him/his), Digital Collections Librarian, Central NY Library Resources Council
Nicole Westerdahl, Reference and Access Services Librarian, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
Mark Wolfe (he/him/his), Curator of Digital Collections, University at Albany, SUNY

Conference Sponsors

Thank you to our NYAC 2021 Conference sponsors! 


Call for Poster Presentation Proposals (due March 15, 2021)

Call for Session Proposals (due January 15, 2021)