My Presidential Address

As I finish my term I wanted to let you know that you can view my presidential address here. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps get some ideas you can use now and in the future.

I have tried to do my best to support the Society, its members, leaders and staff. I hope I have done some things that will help us move forward.

Now I turn Off the Record to Kathleen Roe, who has some amazing ideas for her year of advocacy and living dangerously with archives. She will be a spectacular leader and I look forward to seeing what she does with her 525,600 minutes.




Improving SAA’s Affinity Groups: Your Chance to Contribute to the Change

This post was written by the members of the Task Force on Member Affinity Groups. I hope you will attend their forum during the conference or respond to this post in the comments.

Since last year’s SAA Annual Meeting, a task force has been working to determine how the Society’s member affinity groups (that is, its Sections and Roundtables) can better serve the membership as a whole. While nothing has been finalized, the task force has been exploring several recommendations largely based on a survey completed this spring. The task force would like to take this opportunity to share some of these findings and to ask for general feedback on preliminary recommendations.

A large percentage of the costs to SAA to administer affinity groups go to providing meeting space and audiovisual support during annual meeting times. We wondered if rather than guarantee meeting space and technology for each group’s gathering at the annual meeting, could affinity groups be asked to demonstrate a need for physical space before each annual meeting? If groups are only holding elections and conducting a brief business meeting, perhaps those matters might be more efficiently resolved with online communications. Priority would then be given to groups planning official programs. Similarly, could priority for annual meeting space be given to groups that are collaborating with one another for a joint program? (We were delighted to see the Google Hangout event jointly held by the Records Management Roundtable and the Web Archiving Roundtable, and we wonder if SAA ought to explore ways to incentivize such collaboration.)

Another factor that emerged in the survey was what support can and should be provided to section and roundtable leaders. Overwhelmingly, members would like additional support for component group leaders; it was noted that groups are only as active as their leaders are engaged and activity can vary widely from year to year. Would additional leadership resources provide more consistency? Asking leaders themselves to help develop the training sessions at SAA is one idea under discussion, with the hope that by becoming more involved in the training, leaders can share their knowledge and strategies for effective leadership, as well as deepen their commitment to their respective component groups, enhancing the return on time and resource investment for all involved. Furthermore, remote training sessions, for those unable to attend SAA, are among the recommendations the task force’ is currently considering.

Initial ideas regarding the organization of sections and roundtables center on the idea that many members see little meaningful difference between sections and roundtables. Should groups be organized according to a common affinity—such as collection type, audience, or function? While many existing groups are already organized around specific purposes, feedback from surveys indicated that some groups are unclear about what work they should undertake. The task force is taking this feedback into account as it explores how important the section and roundtable distinctions remain.

While these ideas are preliminary, we hope that sharing them with you has allowed you a glimpse of what we think SAA’s member affinity groups can support the Society. Our involvement with SAA is often through the sections and roundtables. Member participation is often filtered through these smaller groups, making them a vital part of the organization and the primary way that SAA interacts with its members. Enhancing and enriching members’ experience within their affinity groups will result in a better membership experience for all. With that in mind, we welcome your comments about the ideas we’ve brought up and would like to hear any ideas you might have. Please post your feedback in the comments —we’d love to hear from you! We also invite you to share your thoughts in person with the task force during the SAA Annual Meeting. Pencil us in your calendar for Thursday, August 14th. We’ll be holding a discussion from 12PM-1:15PM in Suite 8228 of the conference hotel—hope to see you there!

-The Task Force on Member Affinity Groups

Shawn San Roman, Chair

Rachel Dreyer

Rebecca Goldman

Francine Snyder

Jordon Steele

Mark Duffy, ex-officio

William Landis, ex-officio

Planning for D.C.

It’s only two weeks to the joint CoSA/NAGARA/SAA meeting and we are thrilled to announce that this will be our largest meeting ever. My compliments to the Host and Program committees for creating excellent programs and activities for conference attendees.

Here are a couple of quick suggestions to insure that you have a great time in D.C. Continue reading

The Library of Congress presents Recommended Format Specifications

I hope you will take a look at the new Library of Congress Recommended Format Specifications. These specifications focus on both analog and digital acquisitions and recommend the best formats to use to collect items to insure preservation and access. You can learn more about these specifications from the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program’s Signal blog.

I’d also like to put in a plug for the Signal blog itself. It is full of information on digital preservation and includes interviews with digital pioneer and digital innovators and is written by some of the coolest people I know including this year’s winner of the Archival Innovator Award, Trevor Owens.

Happy reading and have a good weekend.

Your Chance to Comment on the Archives and Archivists List

I have been in awe of all the comments following my post on the Archives and Archivists list. Now here is your opportunity to make comments. The committee studying the list (incoming SAA Vice President/President-Elect Dennis Meissner, new archives professional and SAA member Samantha Winn, long-time SAA and listserv member Christine Di Bella, and SAA Web and Information Systems Administrator Matt Black.) have put out a request for comments as well as a survey to learn more about list users. You can see their announcement and request for comments here.

Here is your opportunity to express your feelings about the Archives list. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

The De-Evolution of the Archives and Archivists List

Back in the late 1980’s I made the decision to leave archives for a bit and start working reference at a college or university library. I’ve always loved reference and had I not discovered archives while in library school I think I might be working reference at a college or university. However after a couple of years the desire to go back to archives hit me hard. The university where I worked did not have archives and I made it my goal to start the university archives. I did take a few courses at another college but the thing that got me excited about archives again was the Archives and Archivists list. Continue reading

Insuring a Safe Place to Share Diverse Opinions

This post was written by SAA Council Members Terry Baxter and Lisa Mangiafico.

The Society of American Archivists Council has discussed a code of conduct for meeting and online spaces at its most recent two meetings. The resulting draft is available for comment and comments will still be accepted until June 22, 2014. The intent of the Council is to revise the draft based on member comments, discuss and vote on the revised draft, and, if adopted, have an official code of conduct available by the annual meeting in August. Continue reading