There are many ways for both members and nonmembers to interact with and benefit from our AIC/FAIC Online Community platform. Some include:
- The community as the email digest that lands in your inbox each morning
- A portal for essential volunteer work within your officer community
- A communication portal for the member directory, a way to read or post blog articles, or find job postings
- A calendar for sharing information about a new event
We currently have 80 active communities in 7 categories. The wide variety of communities used as communication portals can be described by thinking of them as fitting within these seven categories:
Administrative communities are for specific leadership topics, such as outreach, positions, and IAG discussions.
Event communities include a specific-year annual meeting community, usually only active for one year, and communities for workshop participants to learn, discuss, and share as part of the course.
General communities are membership-based for dues-paying members.
Specialty communities are for specialty groups and networks that charge fees in addition to our base membership rate.
Leadership communities support officers, groups, committees, and working groups as they plan and move forward with activities and publications; they also contain libraries with their archives.
Professional Interest communities are our most public type.
- Connecting to Collections Care (C2C Care), the grant-supported forum that is managed by a contracted C2C Care coordinator – now Robin Bauer Kilgo – with assistance from volunteers in an advisory group: This community is part of FAIC’s cooperative agreement with IMLS to serve the small and mid-size museum and is just one part of the larger C2C Care project, hosted at https://www.connectingtocollections.org/. C2C Care hosts courses and webinars, a resource area, and the forum.
The coordinator works closely with volunteer moderators—many of whom are ECPN members—to outsource advice in support of approximately 2,700 individuals working and caring for small collections, such as historic homes or small community collections. While AIC members may join any of the free communities, they should direct their C2C Care advice to the coordinator at email@example.com before posting to this community.
- The Global Conservation Forum (Forum), supported by FAIC and sponsored by Tru Vue, replaced the ConsDistList that was hosted on CoOL: Scott Devine moderates this community, following the guidelines created by Walter Henry with a few modern tweaks. The Forum now has nearly 8,000 subscribers with a strongly international presence. Digests are daily rather than twice weekly, and conversations flow smoothly between users. Every post is moderated and typically will be approved by the evening for distribution the next morning. All are welcome to join and participate in this dialogue; it is not part of AIC membership but supports FAIC’s mission to “empower conservation professionals, strengthen cultural institutions, and engage stakeholders.”
- The Emerging Conservation Professionals Community, run by ECPN: This Online Community is intended to provide a forum for discussion amongst network members and the interested public. While all AIC members who indicate interest in ECPN, whether as early career professionals or those who mentor and work with them, are invited to participate in this community, it is also open to anyone with an interest in a career in conservation.
- FAIC projects are also supported by these communities and include our efforts to bring together emergency responders and cultural heritage professionals at the local level to prepare in advance for emergencies.
- Other professional interest-based communities include our member-only writing support group, online teaching group, and the open-to-all Equity & Inclusion and Website Testing Group communities.
Publications & Resources community types are for those working on postprints and the AIC wiki, and help coordinate these efforts.
We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s COHI grant, which gave FAIC the opportunity to expand our communication platforms by jointly funding (with AIC) the implementation of the Higher Logic platform in 2018. Luckily, both organizations are able to benefit from this online tool.
We recognize that membership use of these communities has exploded into a diverse and vocal forum for discussion; thinking about the wide array of platforms within these categories can help you figure out where to direct your conversations. We hope you gain insight and connection both locally and across the globe with our community platform.
--Originally published as the Back Page column, AIC News, May 2020, Vol. 45(3).