Second Workshop (Washington D.C., 2018)

Call for papers

Date: 13 & 14 August 2018
Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, D.C.
Organized by: Committee on the Contemporary Archives of Science and Technology (C-CAST) of the International Council on Archives/Section on University and Research Institution Archives (ICA/SUV)

Proposals are now being accepted for the Second Workshop on Scientific Archives, organized by C-CAST of the ICA/SUV. The aim of the workshop is to explore topics in the area of the contemporary archives of science and technology.

Possible themes for papers include (but are not limited to):

-    Collaboration between scientists and archivists to best capture contemporary material
-    Appraisal of science and technology archives
-    Curating and making accessible science and technology archives to support both humanities research and scientific reuse
-    Describing specialist collections from a non-scientific perspective
-    Archives and scientific data management and usage
-    Public outreach and communication: who are scientific archives for?

The First Workshop on Scientific Archives was hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg (DE), 1-2 November 2016. (Scroll down for more information on this workshop.)

The organizing committee welcomes proposals from archivists, historians, scientists, engineers, data specialists and curators.

Papers are to be 20 minutes. Please submit a 400-word abstract using the following form: by Thursday 29 March 2018.

Registration will open in April 2018.

Papers will be selected by the organizing committee by Friday 20 April 2018, at which point selected speakers will be notified. The full program will be published in early-May 2018.

A limited number of travel bursaries will be available for students, new professionals and international presenters. These will be distributed by the organizing committee.

C-CAST looks forward to receiving your abstracts and seeing you in August in D.C.!

On behalf of the C-CAST:

Bethany Anderson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)
Anne-Flore Laloë, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany)
Melanie Mueller, American Institute of Physics (USA)
Jonathan Pledge, British Library (UK)
Ron Brashear, Science History Institute (USA)

First Workshop (Heidelberg, 2016)

On 1 and 2 November 2016, the EMBL Archive hosted a workshop on scientific archives which brought together 40 archivists from 8 countries to discuss how to best capture, preserve and share contemporary scientific material.

Event poster

The sessions examined practical issues linked to cataloguing and making accessible collections whose content and origins are complex, the place of archivists in institutions and their relationship with scientists, and how archivists or their institutions can use archives for advocacy and outreach.

In addition, two keynote addresses presented how collections are made and managed, and how different approaches to collecting can shape collections in the long-term. Jenny Shaw’s lecture provided a wide-angle view from the Wellcome Trust. The collection there originates from Henry Wellcome’s passion for collecting items pertaining to the history of medicine. The Trust then consolidated and developed these over the years: it is now one of the world’s most comprehensive collections in its area. Giulio Superti-Furga's lecture provided the point of view of a scientist: he advocated for scientists to be more involved in archiving their work, encouraging his colleagues to ensure that evidence of their successes and failures is recorded and preserved in institutional archives.

A roundtable with EMBL scientists focused on what the working relationship between scientists and archivists can look like. What information do scientists need from archivists in order to best prepare the transfer of their work to archives? What is the best time to meet with scientists to talk about archiving? Having realized that scientists and scientific archivists share the same ultimate goal of preserving and sharing science, archivists had as many questions for scientists as the scientists did for archivists.

Plans are being made to repeat this event on regular basis, as the exchanges were rich and many questions remain to be addressed.


Session 1: Practical archiving
"The National Institute for Medical Research Archives Project" - Frank Norman, Francis Crick Institute, UK
"Once Upon a Time in the West: The experience of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, Bath" - Tim Powell, The National Archives, UK
Postscript by Anne Barrett (Imperial College): "The Centre for Scientific Archives Update: Action in The UK STAG: Science and Technology Archives Group"
"Materiality, Decay and Overload" - Klaus Nippert, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Session 2: Acquiring collections - I
"Challenges in the implementation of an Information Management plan in EUMETSAT" - Kathryn Roswell and M. Eugenia Noheda, EUMETSAT, Germany
"Beyond the data: acquiring and preserving the personal archives of Canadian scientists" - Creighton Barrett, Dalhousie University, Canada
"Making Oral Histories of Science Accessible to Diverse Audiences" - Sally Horrocks, University of Leicester/National Life Stories, UK

Session 3: Acquiring collections - II
Introduction to EMBL and the EMBL Archive - Iain Mattaj and Anne-Flore Laloë, EMBL, Germany
"Building subject collections in the molecular biology field and disseminating knowledge" - Ludmila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA
"Finding the Best of Both Worlds: Bridging Research and Archives at ETH Zürich" - Marion Wullschleger and Ana Sesatic, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Session 4: Keynote lectures
Jenny Shaw, Wellcome Trust, UK
Giulio Superti-Furga, CeMM, Austria

Session 5: Roundtable discussion with scientists
Matthias Hentze, EMBL, Germany
Theodore Alexandrov, EMBL, Germany
Nick Goldman, EMBL-EBI, UK

Session 6: Engagement and outreach
"Advocacy and Archival Value" - Melanie Mueller, American Institute of Physics, USA
"In two minds about outreach" - Anita Hollier, CERN, Switzerland
"Collaboration and cloned sheep: engaging with animal genetics archives" - Clare Button, University of Edinburgh, UK