Student-Organized Archives Symposium a Success

ACA symposium logoOn Friday, February 8, the UBC student chapter of the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) held its 5th annual ACA@UBC International Symposium at the Frederic Wood Theatre. The theme for 2013 was “We Shape Our Tools, and Our Tools Shape Us”, focusing on the nature of various technologies used in the records lifecycle. Attendees and presenters from as far away as Sweden arrived to speak on the way these technologies influence records creation, maintenance, use, and preservation. Lectures touched on problems and opportunities surrounding big data (Richard Marciano), social media records (Bethany Cron), forensic tools in electronic document and records management systems (Eric Borglund), and more.

The student organized ACA@UBC International Symposium is a gathering of students and working professionals from a variety of archival specializations. The symposium has grown in size and reputation since its inception, with this year’s event welcoming more than 125 registered attendees. “Each year we’ve been fortunate enough to see an increase in the number of professionals registered, and similarly, each year we manage to bring out new speakers and new topics,” say symposium committee members Jessica Flank and Valerie Léveillé. A “unique educational opportunity for archival students to venture into the professional community, … the symposium allows students to look at practical and theoretical issues in the field from an international perspective,” explain Flank and Léveillé. And for the professionals in attendance, the chance to participate in a new dialogue each year “keeps the local professional community entertained and educated on various topics,” according to Flank and Léveillé. This was also the first year that the ACA@UBC chapter involved local chapters from ARMA and AABC (Archives Association of British Columbia), expanding the professional development network even further.

For the ACA chapter and the Symposium’s organizing committee, the experience of planning and facilitating an event of this size is an extremely valuable professional development opportunity. “Professional-events planning is a trait we will use throughout our careers, and being able to articulate how we planned and executed the conference is highly beneficial experience,” contend Flank and Léveillé. Beyond that, seeing an event come together in action can be a satisfying experience. “It was just nice to see all of our team’s hard work pay off. The topic, the speakers, the attendance – the whole symposium was a hit.”

For more details about the symposium, including PowerPoint presentations from the talks and the chance to provide feedback about the event, please go to

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