Saturday, March 27, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #12

Week 12: Check out the web sites for the Society of American Archivists (http://www.archivists.org/), ARMA International (http://www.arma.org/), and the American Library Association (http://ala.org/). Genealogists can benefit from the educational opportunities and publications of other information-based organizations. You may not be an archivist, records manager or librarian, but you share the same interests. Look at the events these associations hold. Find the books they publish and see if you can request them through your library via Inter-Library Loan. You may also want to check out your state’s (or country’s) library association. If you’re a genealogy blogger, write about your impressions of one or more of these organizations.

This challenge brought me completely new exposure to the SAA and ARMA associations, I am familiar with the ALA. This challenge brought to the surface, again, my love/hate relationship with education in a genealogy related field.

I have always had a curiosity about the educational and experience background of people. It's always surprising how varied the backgrounds of are people that are in the same field. I have a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and work in the marketing field. Not a big stretch, I took plenty of marketing classes during my education and now have 11 years in the marketing field. People in my field can pick just about any university (state or private) and receive a business degree. We are lucky to have a program that is so accessible, other degree seekers do not fair so well as this challenge points out.

The first site I visited was the Society of American Archivists. I immediately clicked on the Education and Events tab and looked at the Directory of Archival Education. There are only fourteen states listed that have university's that offer degrees relating to this field and my state isn't one of them.

I next visited ARMA, The Authority on Managing Records and Information. This organization is offering professional development and continuing education type of courses, most look to be available online. The online options make these programs easily accessible to all and generally I would not expect to find these courses offered at a university.

Finally, I visited the ALA, American Library Association site and selected the education tab. While their appears to be many options for education in librarianship, the options for an ALA accredited program are fewer. There are currently 62 ALA accredited master's degree programs across the United States with four options in my state! But there are several states with zero options. What does it take to offer this type of program? A library?

All three of these organizations hold an annual conference, which I am a big fan of. The ability to meet and network with others in your field is always a positive. These organizations appear to be very active and I hope they are working on expanding the educational opportunities to include all states.