I’ve worked on the IDNA project since the Fall of 2016. Last November, Kate Eminhizer (another student who worked on the project) and I attended the meeting of the Forum of National Archivists (FAN), and the ALA-ICA Annual Conference 2017, in Mexico City. FAN is a special group associated with the ICA that consists of the national archives from around the world. The meeting took place at the National Archives of Mexico (Archivo Generales de la Nacion de Mexico (AGN)).
I visited AGN a couple of days before the meeting. It is housed in a huge facility that was once a prison and is considered a National Historic Monument. You can still see the cells in the side hallways where the records are now kept. The staff there were very friendly and helpful and allowed me to look around—after we broke through the language barrier.
The FAN meeting began with the President of ICA, David Fricker, introducing the interim President of FAN, Jeffrey James. Kate and I later had the opportunity to interview each of them. There were about fifty or sixty attending the FAN meeting, and we met and talked with a number of them, including the head archivists (directors) of Fiji, Cameroon (where the next ICA meeting takes place in 2018), Benin, Mali, Australia, Canada, Jamaica and The United Arab Emirates (the location of the 2020 ICA Congress). There were many more—too many to mention. The one thing I noticed was that each and every one was enthusiastic about their own archives.
A special thank you to Dr. Ian Wilson, former National Archivist of Canada (1999-2004) and current advisor to the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates, for facilitating all interviews and for helping us make arrangements to attend both the FAN meeting and the Annual Conference.