Archival Practice: discussing real-world applications of archival theories and practices in the modern archival repository

Welcome to Archival Practice!

Welcome to Archival Practice!

Welcome to the first release of Archival Practice, a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal. Archival Practice provides a scholarly forum for discussions of real-world applications of archival theories and practices in the modern archival repository. This may include archival acquisitions, processing, reference, outreach, instruction, preservation, or management in any archival setting (special collections library, government archives, university archives, corporate archives, etc.).

Archival Practice features peer-reviewed research articles, case studies, and position pieces related to all aspects of archival practice. The non-reviewed "From the Field" section allows archivists to share newly-developed policies, procedures, web resources, documentation, or other tools which contribute to the development of archival practice. For more information on the individual sections, see the "Focus and Scope" portion of the journal website.

In order to expedite the publishing process and ensure that information is made available to readers as soon as possible, Archival Practice will publish on a rolling basis. As soon as a submission has completed the peer review and editing processes, it will be made available. Registered readers will be able to comment on published pieces, providing a venue for continued discussion beyond the publication itself. You may register as a reader and/or author using the journal's registration page.

Archivists from across the United States are volunteering their time and efforts to ensure that Archival Practice grows as an open-source resource for our profession. Included are archivists with academic, government, private, religious and corporate archives backgrounds. Without the hard work of the editorial team, this journal would not exist. On behalf of this team, Editors in Chief, Courtney Chartier (Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library, Emory University) and Erin Lawrimore (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) would like to tell you more about why they are focused on the growth of Archival Practice and why they feel this journal is important to the profession.

Erin Lawrimore (Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

I am extremely excited to see Archival Practice launched. Conversations about the need for this type of journal started in late 2012. In mid-2013, we moved forward with establishing a founding editorial board and developing a journal and journal sections that will serve as a venue for publication on practical applications of archival theory in the modern archival repository.

To me, the journal has the potential to be an important site for conversations about current issues faced by archivists in a variety of settings. Blog-like commenting features allow for comments on published pieces, fostering discussion beyond publication. This allows readers to ask questions of authors, and allows authors to immediately respond to these questions in a public setting.

Additionally, article publication in Archival Practice will move at a quicker pace than most traditional print journals. We acknowledge that archival practice is a rapidly-changing field, and a rolling publication basis will allow information to more readily flow to the professional community. As soon as a submitted piece has undergone peer review by two members of the editorial board (typically within five weeks of submission), the author will receive notification of the review outcome. Upon acceptance, a submission moves to the editing phase, and is typically published within four weeks of acceptance.

In addition to the benefits of an online journal with a rolling publication schedule, Archival Practice benefits from its status as an open-access journal. All pieces are made freely available immediately upon publication. No professional memberships, license fees, or paid subscription are necessary to access the journal, and there are no publication embargoes that might limit access to journal content upon initial publication. This is particularly important to archivists who cannot afford (or work at an institution that cannot afford) membership costs or additional journal subscription fees. As a site for professional conversations, we want to ensure that the audience is as broad as possible.

Authors who submit pieces to Archival Practice will retain their copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. This allows authors to freely submit the published version of their work to an institutional repository or for publication as a chapter in a book, as long as it is acknowledged that the piece was first published in Archival Practice.

Finally, we want to stress the broad focus of Archival Practice. The journal hopes to publish pieces related to all aspects of modern archival practice. This broader scope allows more exploration of connections between different aspects of archival practice. Archival work (typically) isn't siloed, so we don't want the journal content to be. We hope that archivists from all backgrounds and institutional types will participate in this journal, as readers, commenters, authors, etc.

Archival Practice is a forum for sharing, learning, and discussing our work, and our hope is that other archivists will find it helpful in assessing and developing their professional practice. Thank you for reading our initial published pieces, and we hope that you will continue to read (and comment) as future articles and published. If you ever have questions about the journal, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Courtney Chartier (Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library, Emory University)

It's always been my privilege to know archivists of the highest caliber, in their creativity, in their enthusiasm, and in their desire to contribute to the profession. In some instances, such as the creation of this journal, I have the good luck to call my partner not just a colleague, but a friend.

Erin Lawrimore first suggested Archival Practice to me in June 2013, when we were both attendees at the Archives Leadership Institute. In the heady atmosphere of collaboration that those kind of retreats encourage, Erin proposed the idea of an open-access journal specifically dedicated to archival practice, and welcomed feedback from the other attendees. You should not be mistaken: despite the feedback of others and my title as co-Editor in Chief of this publication, it is entirely Erin's creation. From conception to implementation, Archival Practice carries the mark of her own particular kind of creativity and enthusiasm for this profession, best defined by a desire to make it more open.

I joined Archival Practice as co-Editor in Chief because of the many reasons outlined by Erin in her introduction. This journal is another way to continue opening up our profession. It's another place for archivists to take the fruits of their labor, receive feedback from peers, and publish their work. By allowing for comments on specific articles, it allows readers an open forum to ask questions of authors, or compare their own experiences.

In many ways I see this journal as a way to continue the good work that often occurs in hallways and bars at the annual meetings of SAA and regional organizations. We've all had exciting conversations with colleagues at those times, about new ideas, recent projects and possible collaborations. The open-access format and rolling publication schedule of Archival Practice has the power to move those conversations to a place where they can be kept fresh, rather than dying on the vine after the flight home and the return to the burdens of day-to-day work.

A focus on the actual "practice" of archives is another feature of this journal which I am particularly excited about. There is a great need in the literature for practical writing. In too many instances the case study, which is truly the meat of writing about the profession, is overcome by theoretical research, in publishing and perceived value. Will "too many" open-access journals somehow cheapen the act of publishing in our profession? I do not see how having multiple opportunities for archivists to publish and publicly discuss their work, as cheap. Some journals will continue to primarily honor theoretical research, which has an important place in our profession; others will chose to broaden the conversation.

I, for one, am excited to see how the conversation progresses. Into the breach, dear friends.