Anthropology Discussion Group

ALA Annual Meeting 2019 – Washington D.C. ANSS Anthropology Discussion Group Meeting Notes

Date: Sunday, June 23
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Washington Hilton
Room: Columbia 09/10
Co-Conveners: Tom Durkin and Brooke Troutman

Title: Gina Rappaport discusses The National Anthropological Archives: History, Collections, and Research.

The Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group meeting was held on Sunday, June 23rd. We welcomed 12 attendees to our discussion.  We were pleased to invite archivist Gina Rappaport of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives (, to discuss the collections, processes, and history of the NAA.

Gina Rappaport is the Archivist for Photograph Collections and Head Archivist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives. Before joining the Smithsonian in 2009, Gina worked as a project archivist for a variety of individuals and institutions, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Washington, The National Park Service, and the Winthrop Group.  Gina received her BA in history at the University of Washington and her MA in history and archives management from Western Washington University.

Gina Rappaport began the discussion by explaining the relationship of the NAA to the Smithsonian. The NAA is part of the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology, which is administered by the National Museum of Natural History. The National Anthropological Archives (NAA) is the oldest archives in the Smithsonian, dating back to the 1879 founding of the Bureau of American Ethnology by John Wesley Powell. Powell consolidated other existing records at the Smithsonian with some records from the US Geological Survey, and the BAE records. The BAE and the Department of Anthropology merged in the 1960s. The combined NAA archival collections were relocated to the Smithsonian Archives Support Center in 2001.

Gina Rappaport further explained that the NAA collects materials related to the history of anthropology. A significant portion of the collection is related to cultural anthropology but archival materials from the other branches are also represented. The archival materials that the NAA collects primarily originate from two sources. One broad group of records were created by anthropologists as a part of the fieldwork, research, and analysis that anthropologists have performed. The NAA currently holds the papers of more than 300 anthropologists. Anthropological associations, such as the American Anthropological Association or the Society for American Archaeology are the second source of records. The NAA currently holds the records from over 40 anthropological associations. Within those collections, the NAA manages over one million photographs, 20,000 works of art, 5000 audio recordings, and many video recordings. In the U.S., The NAA is the largest ethnographic film archive, the largest indigenous linguistic archive, owns the largest collection of Edward Curtis photographs, and has the largest Native American ledger art collection.

Researchers from around the world use the collections of the NAA, and the archivists answer a significant number of research questions for patrons. Each year, staff answer approximately 1800 questions, with about 500 of those questions asked in person at the archives facility, and the remainder asked via email and other communication channels. Gina Rappaport encouraged attendees to visit the archives and make use of their online materials.

ACRL ANSS Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group Forum
Midwinter Meeting Discussion

Co-conveners: Brooke Troutman and Tom Durkin
Date and time: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 11:00am – 12:00pm CST
Forum title: Anthropologist Ashley Lemke Discusses New Research in Underwater Archaeology

Forum recording:

For our virtual Midwinter meeting, the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group was pleased to invite anthropologist Ashley Lemke to speak about her recent research into submerged prehistoric archaeology. We welcomed thirteen attendees to our forum conversation.

Ashley Lemke is on the forefront of submerged prehistoric archaeology – a new field that explores ancient archaeological sites that are now underwater due to past climate change and rising sea levels. While most people think of shipwrecks when they hear underwater archaeology, in addition to wreck sites we are discovering more and more sites of great antiquity that are submerged.  Since 2013 she has studied 9,000 year old caribou hunting sites 100 feet underwater in Lake Huron (Great Lakes, USA). Caribou hunting structures, stone tools, ancient trees, and other remains have been preserved intact by the cold and fresh water. Dr. Lemke is currently finishing her book which documents these sites in addition to hunting sites, or hunting architecture, all over the world. She has worked on archaeological projects across the United States, and in Germany, Spain, and Romania. Overall her research seeks to explore the complexity of what we often call “simple” hunter-gatherer cultures.

The presentation went very well.  Dr. Lemke discussed her ongoing research in the Great Lakes.  She highlighted new research and new technologies she is working on to help students study the ancient landscapes she and her team are researching.  Virtual reality is one such technology.   She also briefly spoke about her new and forthcoming book in which myself, (Brooke Troutman) have been assisting her with copyright permissions for her images that she would like to use in the publication.  Questions at the end pertained to her actual research in the field and its impact on the environment.  She commented on the work as being more friendly to the environment than other forms of archeological research.  Another question and comment was about some new ideas to use CC license with some of the images for her new book.  Finally, a question was asked about my work with Dr Lemke as her liaison librarian.  I spoke about our metrics consultation service we provide here at UTA.  I have worked very closely with Dr. Lemke in preparing her metrics and advising her on journals and grant funding, as well as promoting her research to increase her digital identity and scholarly impact.

ALA Annual Meeting 2018
ANSS Anthropology Discussion Group Meeting Minutes

When: Saturday, June 23, 2018
Time: 10:30 – 11:30 am
Where: Morial Convention Center, Rm 350-351

Rachael Muszkiewicz
Tom Durkin

The Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group held their meeting on Saturday, June 23rd, where we welcomed 15 attendees to our conversation.  We were pleased to invite anthropologist Rachel Sian Breunlin of the University of New Orleans, to speak on The Neighborhood Story Project (, a nonprofit organization that has turned collaborative ethnography into publishing opportunities since 2004.  She detailed the history of the project, and how it grew from working with high school students, to working with various community groups and individuals who have published 16 books.  Rachel also spoke on the huge influence that Hurricane Katrina had on both the Neighborhood Story Project and the city as a whole.  Her interactive talk dove deep into examples of the books, where we were able to hear audio clips, see pictures and hear about the ethnographic methods used.  Attendees were able to look at several of the books as well.  We would encourage any ANSS members who would like to purchase these books for their collections, to do so directly through the Project ( as it allows more money to go directly to the Project.

ACRL ANSS Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group Forum

Midwinter Meeting Discussion

Co-conveners: Tom Durkin and Rachael Muszkiewicz

Date and time: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 11:00am – 12:00pm CST

Forum title: Anthropologist John Hawks Discusses Research and Libraries

Forum recording:

For our virtual Midwinter meeting, the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group was pleased to invite anthropologist John Hawks to speak about his recent research into human evolution at Rising Star Cave in South Africa. We welcomed thirteen attendees to our forum conversation.

John Hawks is the Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor in the University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Anthropology. Since 2013, he has been working with Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand as a member of a team that has recovered more than 1200 hominin specimens from the Rising Star Cave system in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. Dr. Hawks is an expert in population dynamics and the process of natural selection on both genes and morphological traits. His research has demonstrated the potential of open science approaches during paleoanthropological fieldwork.

During the forum, Dr. Hawks discussed his use of libraries, their collections and services, and gave his thoughts on Open Access publishing, scholarly blogging, and his experiences with online teaching. He spoke on how making the project available to the public affected both public and academic perceptions of paleoanthropology. The Homo naledi research team published their research in the OA journal eLife, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust. The 3D scans of the original Homo naledi fossils can be found at  Dr. Hawks has a popular and well-known blog where he discusses issues relevant to his research and publishing. In 2014, he also worked to develop a new massive open online course called “Human Evolution: Past and Future” through Coursera.

Discussions at the end of the presentation focused around open access and its impacts on academia, and the value academic culture places or does not place on citizen science.

Anthropology Discussion Group at ALA Annual 2016, Orlando

Visual Anthropology

Date: Sunday, June 26, 2016
Time: 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Venue: Hilton Orlando, Room Lake Louise

Put this in your schedule!:


  1. Call for meeting recorder
  2. Welcome and Introductions
  3. Speaker – Richard Freeman, PhD
    Assistant University Librarian/Anthropology Subject Specialist
    University of Florida
    Richard Freeman, PhD, Assistant University Librarian/Anthropology Subject Specialist at the University of Florida, will present on visual anthropology – from its founding as a subdiscipline to what it encompasses today. He will also highlight his own work on photography and ethnography. Questions and discussion are encouraged.
  4. Group Discussion
  5. Adjournment

— Posted 6/21/2016 —