An important advocacy role for all of us is to let our government know what we want from it—either personally or as members of the archival community. Here is the opportunity to do that by contacting your senators to support an issue for which SAA has a clear position as described in the Advocacy Agenda and issue briefs developed by the Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy. Check out the action alert on the SAA website at
and then CONTACT YOUR SENATORS. You can accomplish this in 15 minutes or less—the action alert gives you the background, links you to the SAA Advocacy Agenda, and explains the improvements provided in the Leahy-Cornyn revisions to the FOIA and provides a link to the contact information for your senators. Do this by December 1, before this Congressional session closes down.
One of the people from whom I learned a lot about federal advocacy is Anne Georges, the legislative director for the recently retired NY Representative Maurice Hinchey. Something she regularly emphasized was: “Tell your colleagues they need to contact us on issues that matter to them. We work for them, and we want to hear from them.” Well, here is an opportunity for you to do just that—please take the time to contact your senators and let us know when you have (email firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can track the amount of “traffic” in each state. It is important not only on this issue, but to provide a continuing, persistent, authoritative voice from the archival community.
One of my favorite quotes is from the hockey player, Wayne Gretsky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So please, take a shot—make that call or send email on behalf of archives.
Archives matter. They are not just interesting facts and stories disconnected from current life. Whether for personal reasons, academic pursuits, educational uses, preserving rights, or ensuring transparency in government, the use of archival records have an impact. Every time a person uses archival records, something happens. Demonstrating the impact, the value, and the importance of archival records and the work of archivists is the focus of “The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives”. Continue reading
Peter Gottlieb, Chair, SAA Committee on Public Awareness
This year, SAA President Kathleen Roe dared SAA members to take on a “Year of Living Dangerously for Archives”—to do something to take action to raise awareness of archives. On October 30, at the tail end of American Archives Month, the Committee on Public Awareness challenged members to do just that: We asked archivists to take to Twitter to respond to questions from the public that included the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Continue reading
For the past and continuing year while I’ve been involved in SAA leadership and governance, the word “transparency” has been a regular refrain. At the joint annual meeting in Washington D.C., we had a few visitors during the Council meeting, and I hope in the future we will see that become a very regular experience. In between annual meetings, Council meets “live” twice in Chicago. The agenda, reports, and information for those meetings is posted on the SAA website: http://www2.archivists.org/groups/saa-council Continue reading
Posted by Sami Norling, Archivist, Indianapolis Museum of Art and SAA Committee on Public Awareness
It’s the final week of American Archives Month and archivists and archival repositories around the country are getting ready to take part in SAA’s newest initiative, #AskAnArchivist Day. For 24 hours this Thursday, October 30, archivists representing every type of archives imaginable are encouraged to head to Twitter to answer questions sent with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Questions of all kinds are bound to be asked, ranging from the practical—What can I do to be sure that my electronic documents and images will be accessible in the future?—to the fun—How many archivists does it take to screw in a light bulb? But regardless of where on this spectrum a question may fall, each will give us a valuable opportunity to connect directly with the public. Not only will this give archivists another venue in which to promote our collections, but it will also give us a chance to pull back the curtain and talk more about who we are, what being an archivist entails, and the why and how of what we do on a daily basis. Continue reading
Posted by Christopher J. Prom, SAA Publications Editor
During the fifteen years in which I’ve been a member of the Society of American Archivists, I’ve come to believe that the most important thing SAA does is to connect people and ideas to each other. We may not often think about where those connections lead us, but one of their most tangible fruits is the literature we publish. Many of us have used that literature to lay the foundations of our professional understanding, growth, and development.
For this reason, it gives me great pleasure to announce that SAA will be producing the Archival Fundamental Series III, which will provide the core knowledge needed by archivists to work effectively with records/archives and papers/manuscripts—both analog and digital—in the twenty-first century.
We’re in the midst of American Archives Month, and I hope many of you are involved in activities that you’ll share with us so we can keep track of your efforts to raise awareness of the importance of archival records. (check out Challenge #1 and the submission forms at http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/value-of-archives.) While that’s underway, it’s time to plan for Challenge #2, focusing on ways to connect to the commemorations of Veterans Day on November 11th and Pearl Harbor Day on December 7th. Continue reading