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Introducing the MLA Archives Task Force

Task Force Members: Brandon T. Pieczko (chair); A’Llyn Ettien, AHIP; Stephen J. Greenberg, AHIP; Susan Lessick, AHIP, FMLA; Amy Gische Lyons, AHIP, FMLA; Lindsay Million, AHIP; Steven J. Moore, AHIP; Meredith I. Solomon, AHIP; Janna C. Lawrence, AHIP, FMLA (board liaison); Mary M. Langman (staff liaison)

The MLA Archives Task Force was established by the board of directors in 2021 as part of the Building a Better Future strategic goal to understand MLA’s 125-year past in order to build a better future inclusive of all communities. The primary charge of the MLA Archives Task Force is to define MLA’s strategy for developing an online repository of MLA historical records to enhance member access to the association’s history.

To that end, the task force’s activities will include

  • Performing an environmental scan of archival records (including those held by chapters and caucuses)
  • Creating a vision and plan for the digital project
  • Identifying potential partners (e.g., for technology)
  • Collaborating with the National Library of Medicine (official repository for the MLA archives)
  • Determining costs and providing the information necessary to make a fundraising case for the project

Last summer, the task force sent a survey to all MLA chapters requesting information about their archival holdings, whether or not they have an existing relationship with an archival repository to preserve their records, and what types of records they would like to see included in the digital project. We then organized a subgroup of task force members to begin inventorying all MLA archival records held at the National Library of Medicine, MLA headquarters, and on the MLA website. Once completed, this inventory will help the task force prioritize the selection of materials for digitization and inclusion in the digital collection.

The task force’s planning efforts during the next year will inform future work in creating an online digital collection that provides a more inclusive history of MLA and the diversity of its membership. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility concerns will also help guide which archival materials are selected for digitization and inclusion in the digital collection.

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