Academy seeks volunteer to direct creation of digital historical archive of our specialty

The Academy is seeking a member volunteer to serve as the AAD’s historian. The Historian will serve a three-year term, working with a trained archivist to oversee the preservation of our existing archives to a more accessible format. Member to Member discussed the position with Jean Bolognia, MD, chair of the Academy’s Council on Member Services.

MTM: Why is it important that the Academy preserve its archives?

JeanBolognia.jpgDr. Bolognia: The Academy’s Council on Member Services decided it was important to have a lasting record of the achievements of our specialty. Currently, the Academy’s archives are housed in our headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. For a member to have access to this collection would require that he or she travel to Illinois. By moving the archives to a largely digital format, all members who have an interest in the history of our specialty will have easy access.

We also thought it was important to have a project leader for the transition to ensure that the final result was of high caliber and user friendly. In addition, in order to minimize costs, we need someone who is well versed in the history of dermatology to prioritize the various components of the archives and determine what should be posted on the Academy website.

Therefore, we’re looking for a volunteer interested in prioritizing and organizing the contents of the archives so they can be digitized.

The Academy staff has helped us a lot because they found a graduate program in Chicago where the students are specializing in archiving. We're going to get the assistance of one of the graduate students as part of their course work to help us with the project.

MTM: What is the Academy looking for in a volunteer historian?

Dr. Bolognia: We feel very strongly that there should be an open nomination selection process, meaning that anyone can self-nominate or a member could nominate someone else with known passion for the history of dermatology.

We're asking candidates to complete a brief application form online that will tell us about their expertise in dermatology and interest in being the point person for this project as well as their willingness to commit the time and effort necessary to see this through, realizing that it's a multi-year commitment.

Our hope is that we'll have someone in place by the Academy’s Annual Meeting in Orlando in March 2017. The council will be meeting this fall to review the applications.

MTM: What will be included in the archive?

Dr. Bolognia:We have videos, public service announcements, program books, press clippings, and old textbooks. It’s quite an array of items.

However, we will be searching the web for existing digital files of historical dermatologic textbooks. We're not going to rescan what's already available digitally through various libraries, but rather cross reference those works. We will be focusing on what's unique in our archives. When complete, the digital archives will showcase the accomplishments of American dermatologists, not just for our members, but for everyone interested in the rich history of our specialty. That's our goal and we hope to accomplish it over the next three to five years.

Apply Now