Archivists and others in history-related careers aren’t always known for being overly interested in embracing emerging technologies. A good many of us regard social media only as a fun diversion in our personal lives, with no obvious application to our professional goals. With that narrow mindset, we might as well cede the point to the chorus of naysayers proclaiming that the internet will eventually make libraries and archives irrelevant.
And yet somehow, Dale Dulaney, one of those “I refuse to ever join Facebook” guys, knew that social media could be the perfect tool to ignite an interest in and respect for archives and the work of archivists. He knew that the Library of Virginia (like so many other cultural institutions) had to make its relevance obvious in a time when crippling funding cuts are always a possibility. He knew that archives are often misunderstood or completely overlooked by the public at large. He also knew that the LVA’s archives housed all kinds of unique research treasures, records ranging from poignant to hilarious, to just plain useful. And he knew that we had at our fingertips a fast and low-cost way to show an often oblivious world that archives and archivists – what we have and what we do – matter.
I’ll spare you the details of the exhaustive work Dale invested to get this blog off the ground, and to keep it running. But I can guarantee you that if you have derived any enjoyment from the blog, it more or less directly traces back to Dale’s tireless efforts and enthusiasm. We’re selfishly sorry to see him take a new job in Roanoke, but are excited for him and his family as they make this transition. Roger Christman and I, Dale’s co-editors, are also happy to welcome his successor at Out of the Box, Bari Helms. The three of us will try not to mess this thing up too spectacularly, Dale! We’re so grateful for the excellent work you’ve done here and we truly wish you all the best.
-Jessica Tyree Burgess, Senior Accessioning Archivist