From the Chair

Greetings, colleagues, from the first blog edition of Views!

In these times of decreased staff and budgets, and increased workloads, I find it challenging to be engaged professionally beyond the demands of my current position. Maybe it’s just me, but something tells me I’m not alone there. I hope the flexibility of the new platform proves less taxing on our dedicated editorial staff and encourages more of us (myself included) to contribute content. The ongoing success of Views going into the future depends on it.

A belated thanks to all of you who made the Section meeting a great success. Patrick Cullom’s presentation, which addressed the challenges of processing a newspaper photo morgue, and Elliot Williams’ presentation, which addressed the challenges of creating metadata for large collections, were informative and thought provoking. Both generated lively audience discussions, demonstrated the collective experience of Section members, and created an atmosphere of comradery. An especially big thanks goes to Sandra Varry for organizing and running the meeting, her leadership throughout the past year, and preparing me to assume the office of Chair. For those of you who attended the preconference tour of the Wittliff Collection, tasted Tex-Mex fare at the Section dinner, or shared pastries, ramen, or Israeli street food at one of the meetups, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. And if you took pictures of any of the Section activities, please send them along so we can update the website.

Following the flurry of activity surrounding the Annual Meeting, I returned to work inspired by the presentations and sessions, excited to have met new colleagues, and utterly exhausted. Now, nearly three months later, it’s time to get back to VMS business and focus on the future.

2020 marks the end of the Section’s current Three-Year Plan that laid out core activities and specific initiatives. It also marks the start of SAA’s Strategic Plan 2020-2022, approved by Council in May, that asks the question, “What will constitute future success?” The plan defines four specific goals and provides strategies to achieve them with the intent of answering the question. Over the next several months, leadership will review the Section’s current plan and begin drawing up a new one with an eye towards incorporating elements of SAA’s plan. But to create a robust plan that truly reflects the Section’s membership, leadership will need your input. Next month I will convene leadership to begin strategizing, and minutes of the meeting will be posted on the VMS website. Of course if you’re already champing at the bit to participate, by all means send me an email. Otherwise, stay tuned for future communications.

Mary Alice Harper

Head of Visual Materials Cataloging

Harry Ransom Center

The University of Texas at Austin

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