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Getting involved with SAA

In the past few weeks, my Council and leadership colleagues and I have had a number of conversations with members about how one goes about getting involved in SAA.   We’re delighted that people care and are willing to pose that question–thanks to all of you who did, and to all of you who share that interest.   The call for appointments by Vice President Dennis Meissner will go out in October, but that’s not the only way to be professionally engaged with SAA.    Council member Tanya Zanish-Belcher, who is both welcoming and great about getting people involved, has provided some thoughts on the subject.   And if you still or in the future have questions, please follow the suggestion on the button that Terry Baxter and the Membership Committee were passing out at the recent Joint Annual Meeting:  “Ask me.”

 

Now for Tanya’s good advice:

Tanya Z-BThis topic has certainly been discussed before (most notably on the SNAP blog: http://snaproundtable.wordpress.com/ and http://www.archivesnext.com), but I thought I would draft my own Top Five list, based on my own experiences over the past 15 or so years.

5. Show Up. Amazingly, time and time again, this has proved valuable in what I consider to be my professional “service” career. Especially in the very beginning, when I was first starting out, being at the table put me ahead of the game. I began by attending the Sections and Roundtables where I had an interest (specifically the Oral History Section, the Science, Technology & Healthcare Roundtable, and the Women’s Collections Roundtable). Simply by being in the room, I met others interested in the same things I was, and when the opportunity came to volunteer, I spoke up. I ended up serving as co-chair and on steering committees, and it is a really good way to network with other archivists and learn about how SAA works. And once you are a leader, I would highly recommend attending the Leadership Forum at the annual meeting—another opportunity for networking and connecting. Continue reading

In the beginning….there is gratitude.

What’s the first thing I should say after assuming the presidency? I can think of no words more important or more heartfelt than “Thank you.” As my predecessor, the amazing Danna Bell said in her first blogpost, “We are SAA”. The fabric and nature of SAA is woven from strong, colorful, and unique threads that are our members, our leaders, our staff, and our supporters. Acknowledging all the ways in which people contribute to SAA could become a dissertation-sized post and even then likely only skim the surface.

It would be an interesting exercise to estimate the amount of contributed time that members give and even more so to consider the “cost-sharing” it represents. Begin with service on roundtables, sections, committees, boards, council and officers. Then add on the time and energy members give to preparing sessions for the annual meeting, writing articles for Archival Outlook or The American Archivist. Now add the mentoring, navigating, and informal advising that goes on between us at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year. Our membership is the mother lode of professional generosity.

The dedication of the SAA staff is priceless in their responsiveness to members, their skill in navigating the management of our association, and in the gift of their positive attitude toward service. The more I have been involved in leadership, the more they dazzle me with their ability to simultaneously juggle balls, dishes, axes, fruit, and the occasional flaming torch.

As the year goes forward, there will doubtless be times of challenge, accomplishment, bafflement, contention, energy, and maybe a few hearty chuckles. We will be what we make of ourselves and I am grateful for your contributions to the amazing patchwork quilt that is the Society of American Archivists.

Many, many thanks to all of you for all you do.

Kathleen

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. Continue reading

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.