First organized in 2003, the ICHORA (International Conference on the History of Records and Archives) returned in late October 26-30, 2020, with its 9th biennial incarnation, hosted by the University of Michigan School of Information. ICHORA 2020 was spectacularly well-attended (over 270 people registered!) and remained thoroughly engaging throughout its five half-days of programming. As might have been expected from previous meetings, ICHORA provided once again an amazing forum for advancing new ideas in the study of the archives profession, as well as developing critiques which advance the field of archival history.
Focused quite appropriately on “Archives and the Digital World” — given its all-online format due to the global pandemic of 2020-2021 — ICHORA 9 brought together scholars and practitioners from six continents for 22 presentations arranged in eight panels, as well as three keynote addresses, and one book launch, all smoothly and civilly moderated in synchronous and closed captioned Zoom sessions. Each Zoom presentation featured approximately 80-100 “participants” constituting an attentive audience which was often prepared to ask useful and critical questions in either the chat or after during what were lively Q&A sessions. All 12 videos recorded by the University of Michigan’s School of Information were first made available for digital re-use on YouTube in November 2020. The Chair of the Program Committee, Ricardo Punzalan (University of Michigan), along with the staff and students of the University of Michigan’s School of Information, must be given a great deal of credit for making this online ICHORA effectively reach new audiences.
In order to fully report on the intellectual contributions of ICHORA 2020, the co-editors of Archival History News (AHN) recruited members of the Steering Committee of the Archival History Section to write short news stories which communicate some of the important findings of last year’s ICHORA conference. Each of the individual presentations was reviewed independently (and those authors are given at the bottom of each blog post). The opinions of the author-reviewers are entirely their own. However, the entire series of blogs posts (labeled ICHORA 2020) — which follow this one — has been edited by the AHN co-editors for uniformity of style, grammar, and length.
Eric C. Stoykovich, AHN co-editor
Natalie Worsham, AHN co-editor