Responses & Retrospectives: Rachael Woody Reflects on 2019 Issues

Uncategorized Apr 30, 2021

Responses & Retrospectives: Rachael Woody Reflects on 2019 Issues


Rachael Woody (photograph courtesy of Rachael Woody).

This is the latest post in our series Responses and Retrospectives, which features archivists’ personal responses and perspectives concerning current or historical events/subjects with significant implications for the archives profession. Interested in contributing to Responses and Retrospectives?  Please email the editor at [email protected] with your ideas!

As the end of the year approaches we begin to take stock and reflect. The ArchivesAWARE! Responses & Retrospectives (R&R) series began December 19, 2018 and what could be more fitting than a retrospective piece on what the R&R series held for us this year? This post will provide a reflective summary on the response piece issues we covered.

Responses & Retrospectives: Rachael Woody on the Decline of History Majors and Its...

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Fundraising: why grant prospect research should be your first step

When you’ve started a nonprofit or thought of an exciting project idea, the next thing you think is, “Where will I get the funding?” Fundraising for nonprofits, museums, libraries, and archives is typically within the top three priorities for any organization, and especially so at the beginning. There are a number of ways to fundraise, and I’ll get into those in a future blog post. For now, we’re going to focus on grants, as they’re typically the branch of fundraising that requires bringing in a grant writing consultant. 

If you already have a list of grants you know will fit your organization and proposed project – great! We can move on to the grant writing process. But if you’re new to grants, and/or are launching a new program or project you’ve not previously sought funding for, it is highly advisable that your do your research. Otherwise known as grant prospect research.

Why you should do grant...

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How to be Prepared for when a Natural Disaster Strikes – Save Your Family Treasures

The last few weeks have been full of deadly natural disasters across the United States. There was Hurricane Harvey, we’re bracing for Hurricane Irma, and my home state of Oregon is on fire.

When you listen to the accounts of devastation you hear the universal grief over loss of life, loss of home, and loss of family treasures. While loss of life isn’t always in our control, and loss of home can partially be recovered through insurance or other avenues, it’s the loss of family treasures that is perhaps the easiest to prevent and the hardest to recover. Now is a good time to prepare for when a natural disaster strikes, and below I provide suggestions and resources on how to do it.

The two most common disasters to prepare for are fire and water. In either scenario you will most likely need to evacuate your home. If you have the luxury of time to prepare for a disaster, you can use these tips to be ready for evacuation:

  • Purchase a...
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Digital Backup: No More Excuses

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discussed how the Obama Presidential Library would be used for forums, workshops, and programs. “Where’s the papers?” one reasonably asks? Well, the papers will be online, because everything (almost) is digital.

If you don’t have a digital backup plan in place for your business and personal papers (digital records) then you might be tempting the universe to break your computer, and I hope you don’t live in an area prone to natural disasters. If you’ve never implemented a digital backup plan for your digital records it can be overwhelming to vet an appropriate system, determine how much digital storage space you need, create a digital infrastructure for your digital file system, and set an appropriate backup mechanism. But don’t worry – I’m here to help. First, you need to choose a system, and I have two recommendations for you that can scale to your needs and...

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Digital Backup: Space and Infrastructure

Earlier this month, we explored digital backups and how to choose a tool that’s right for you in the post: Digital Backup: No More Excuses. The next two steps go hand in hand: 1. establish or fine-tuning your digital file structure; and 2. calculate how much space you need in a digital backup tool.

1. Establish a Digital File Structure: Determining how much space you need (and setting up the file synching function) will be so much easier when your digital files are organized. Are your digital files splashed across your desktop for easy access,? Or, are they meticulously filed in multiple layers of sub-file folders? Depending on your work, what files you create, what they’re for, and how often – will lend itself to different organizational schemes and is something to seriously consider. However, the best approach for the majority of digital file owners is to have a file folder system with limited use of sub-folders. Consistent naming of...

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Digital Backup: Setting Up the Backup

February 21, 2018

This is the third and last post of the introductory Digital Backup series. If you’re reading this post, make sure you’ve read Digital Backup: No More Excuses, and Digital Backup: Space and Infrastructure.

Now that you’ve determined the size of the digital space you need, selected a digital backup tool, and your files are organized, you’re ready to setup your backup mechanism!

The backup mechanism for many digital platforms are roughly the same. You can elect to have all of your files synched to your digital backup platform, and anytime you access the file the synched version will update within seconds of any changes you make. Automated synching anytime there’s a file change is ideal as it will guarantee every file change is documented. Other backup platforms can offer incremental backups and it depends on your individual needs as far as how often that should happen. I recommend you backup actively used files regularly, and...

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FAQs for Peers and Students

faq peer student Apr 30, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions…

This post isn’t for clients. This post is for those who want to interview me about how I became an archivist. It’s also for my fellow archivists interested in how I setup my consulting business and how I became a consultant.* Before you reach out with your query, read the previous Q&A’s, blog posts, and other resources I’ve created.

For Students:

1) Do you have an area of specialization within your field?

I specialize in launching emerging archival programs in institutions that have never had a formal archive before. I also specialize in digital infrastructure (DAMS, CMS, etc) for publishing collection content online in a sustainable and pragmatic fashion. Finally, I specialize in grant acquisition strategy — because so many of us need outside money to fund our work. A lot of my clients don’t have a ton of resources or dedicated staff so I have to build them something they can...

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How to Reject Grant and Job Applicants with Compassion During This Time

A couple of weeks ago, it was my responsibility to deliver bad news to a couple dozen people. This is an already challenging time for many and I was very sensitive to how I was about to make them feel. You see, the Archivist-in-Residence (AiR) program, received 10 highly qualified joint applications and we could only pick one. (Joint meaning a new professional and host site applied as a team = 20+ people). This meant that not only were we rejecting grant applications, we were also rejecting job applicants.

Prepare Your Compassionate Rejection Ahead of Time

The AiR team is comprised of highly emotionally intelligent people and we decided a couple months ago (pre-COVID) that we wanted to offer support to the applicants who weren’t selected. This decision is in keeping with our mission which is to advocate for new professionals in the field and support the institutions who are working to build paid internships. When I sent out the bad news I was prepared...

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A Letter to My Congressional Representatives on Our Failure to Support Small Businesses

Headshot of Rachael Woody.

The following is a letter I wrote to my congressional representatives. As someone who encourages archives, museums, and cultural heritage organizations to write to their representatives, I felt it was only fair I share this letter with you.

April 21, 2020

Dear [Representative],

You may know me as the consultant who helped Astoria Public Library win a $17,000 award from Oregon Cultural trust and a $50,000 award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; which led to a $250,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Or, as the consultant who brought in more than $750,000 from the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and local Portland foundations to Portland’s historically designated Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church to help preserve and share their Civil Rights history.

I’m a small business owner of a certified women-owned business. I provide services to archives, museums, and...

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Action Alert: Preserve the Oregon Heritage Commission and Support Oregon Arts and Culture

advocacy Apr 30, 2021

Oregon colleagues, it’s time to write our representatives again.


For those who are free to do so, I’m requesting that you join me in writing OPRD Director Lisa Sumption, Governor Brown, and your local Oregon legislators to fund the OPRD department and preserve the Oregon Heritage Commission. I’ve copied a version of my letter below–you are welcome to copy and adapt. I’ve sent this letter to the Oregonian, OPRD Director Lisa Sumption, Governor Brown, Senator Burdick, and Representative Doherty.

Contact Information

Director of OPRD, Lisa Sumption’s email: [email protected]
Gov. Brown:
Find your Oregon legislator:

Letter to Director Lisa Sumption of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Dear Director Sumption,

I can only imagine how challenging this time is for you. I know you...

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