A few weeks ago, in a series of conversations with some of the smart people in our Research and Education division, we came up with the idea of a reading group that would allow all RAC staff to engage with professional literature, share methodological expertise, and in general exercise our critical reading and thinking muscles. We’ve since had our first session – which focused on the concept of original order – and will be holding the next one on April 29th. Overall, our readings will focus on methodology – rather than the history of a specific organization or more general field – in order to get us talking comprehensively about the what, how and why of our work.

We see this group as fulfilling needs in both the Research and Education and Archives divisions. On the Research and Education side, staff are often called on to speak for the RAC as a whole at public events, so a deeper understanding of archival functions, principles and practices will help instill confidence and allow for more in-depth discussion of what we do as an organization. On the Archives side, we often find it difficult to make time for ongoing reading, particularly if it’s theoretical in nature. In addition, a more thorough understanding of trends in scholarship might help us think creatively about the reference services we offer, perhaps adding or removing tools, processes and services to match the current landscape of scholarship.

We’ve also set up a Zotero group for this project, so you can follow along with the readings for each of our sessions. That group’s library will continue to grow as we hold additional sessions. Stay tuned for further updates!