The Virtual Experience
Published: November 6, 2020 by Kenna Wulker
Melissa Kemp is completing her first year in the MARA program. She is a former English professor of 28 years. She taught literature, composition, business and technical writing, and organizational communications. Melissa has been archiving for the past eight years for an international cultural organization. She has owned a professional writing and arts consulting business for 31 years, her current job, and she performs a variety of jobs for the archiving client. She aspires to help cultural organization archive and digitize their collections for long-term preservation and public dissemination.
Below is a summary of Melissa’s InfoCon experience in her words. Thank you for sharing with us, Melissa!
This year’s ARMA InfoCon 2020 four-day virtual conference was packed full of stimulating webinars on a variety of subjects. Generally beginning in mid morning, most session times offered multiple webinars to educate audiences five major subject areas:
- Creating Structure and Improving Process
- Advanced Information Concepts
- Legal and E-Discovery
- Information Fundamentals
- Business Partner Sessions
The latest innovations and technologies in these areas, as well as career and professional development subjects like avoiding burnout and emotional intelligence, offered useful content and immediate action steps to meet the archives and records management challenges faced in the age of COVID-19.
Perhaps due to the exponential growth in online operations to maintain business continuity during COVID-19, almost half the webinars covered information governance subjects (35 sessions), or Records and Information Management (RIM) and Retention (52 sessions). An obvious focus on fully functioning, record-producing online environments was evident in webinars focused on managing exploding records and big data, collaborative workflows and using software like Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Sharepoint and others. Some keynote speakers were Theo Priestley, Lakshmi Hanspal, Susan Bennett (Australasia Keynote), and Pradeep Sharma (EMEA Keynote).
Conference attendees had an opportunity to see innovations in action through case studies and other presentations. In over 30 webinars, significant attention was paid to digital migration and transformation and technology innovations like AI applications. InfoCon 2020 maximized discussions of discipline-specific issues in 18 industry webinars targeted at nine disciplines, like health, insurance, military, government, and others. Since many in our industry are facing disaster/risk/privacy and business continuity challenges, several webinars were devoted to managing these areas, especially in the intersections between privacy and information governance and between information governance and RIM. The conference wasn’t all business though as it offered several opportunities for networking and information discussions over coffee or at the virtual pub.
If you are a student currently enrolled in MARA 204 or MARA 284-10 (Information Governance courses), this ARMA InfoCon 2020 webinars brought theories of these courses into real-world focus. Among the many highly useful discussions were those which coupled information governance with leadership in ways that helped RIM and ARM professionals promote added value of their work to executive management. Several webinars presented tools to use in establishing value and planning ways to monetize archives and records collections; these subjects are often among the first skills new MARA students learn. Seminars on digital transformation and migration are timely for me as an archivist currently engaged in these activities.
InfoCon 2020 Virtual Conference was my first attendance of an ARMA Conference, but it will not be my last. It was both educationally interesting and enriching. I look forward to accessing the conference proceedings or webinar recordings to review content.