Changes coming to the SAA Annual Meeting!

     If you read this week’s In the Loop e-newletter, you know that Council will be discussing its priorities for taking action on the many recommendations of the Annual Meeting Task Force at our meeting on the evening of Monday 12 August. Take a look at the document we’ll be discussing—I’d be happy to hear any comments before then so I can feed your reactions into the Council discussion.
     And for those with more reading time and interest in the full—and really fantastic— AMTF report, which we discussed at the May Council meeting, take a look at that too. Lots of detailed information, including on all the research they did to inform their work. Really impressive.
     The AMTF will be hosting a forum at the Annual Meeting on Thursday 15 August at noon. Watch this space next week to see the agenda.
     See you all in New Orleans!

4 responses to “Changes coming to the SAA Annual Meeting!

  1. I’m glad that SAA Council is moving forward with thinking about new ways to ‘do’ the SAA annual conference. What I have hoped for – and advocated for in other venues (including this blog) – most especially are the tenets of:

    – Social Responsibility – most especially that it’s key to be putting in the most effort to not contract the conference hotel whose union(s) may be on strike. * My Recommendation: I’d like to see this particular point explicitly noted.

    – Considering so-called ‘second tier’ cities. I see that Council may be finding that – in some cases – this may not lower costs. But: I believe that, depending on location, it well may. Further: Importantly – it offers more diversity to SAA attendees for places to visit and experience the SAA annual conference.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment here!

    – Alison Stankrauff
    Archivist, Indiana University South Bend

  2. Second tier cities – yes – move forward with this for a full cycle before judgment – so many benefits – possibly trial and error at first – cost is not everything. Experiencing context is important – we don’t all work in DC, Chicago, Cali.
    Wifi – universal acclaim
    Plenaries – can be largely discarded, for me. I do think the prez speech is important – often more long term than at the meeting. I like the plenary panel idea to start. Unless we get REALLY big names (we most usually don’t) then it isn’t worth the time or cost. They can be invited to speak at subject based sessions.
    Business meetings – Perhaps the necessities of the biz meeting can be split up like the awards are.
    Shorter sessions – ditch Q&A – most sessions “leave time for questions” which should be good, but no. Listen to a CD full of sessions – 1 or 2 gems that add to the discussion, 80% someone not on the panel holding forth. Put slides, contact info, etc. online with a post-conf discussion section.
    Related note – we really need ALL speakers to sign off on recording, slide submission, contact info, bio, etc. before the session is accepted.

  3. The voting idea is worth pursuing–check out DLF for more guidance on how they do it. I wonder, though, if having the members vote on all proposals would be too unwieldy.

    Experimenting with networking opportunities: maybe encourage this kind of experimentation with roundtables or sections, which are more agile. ERS is doing this this year; their experience should be highlighted and encouraged. Seems logistically difficult for the program committee to bring all manner of conference sessions under one master schedule.

    If adding wifi is going to make the conference rate more expensive, I’d urge Council to take this into consideration. But yeah, we want wifi.

    I don’t agree with the previous comment that Q and As should be ditched. You’re right that it’s sometimes boring if you’re listening to a session on a CD, but for at least symbolic reasons we need to give attendees the opportunity to react, and I’m sure there are other benefits, too.

    I don’t care where the conference is if it means it’s the cheapest option that can accommodate the crowd. (It doesn’t surprise me that there’d be no change in cost if we moved it to smaller cities.) The main point of the conference is to gain knowledge about archival issues, not to site-see. Have the conference in a barn for all I care–I’ll bring my overalls.

    Good report!

  4. When I first started coming to SAA, I found the half-day education sessions/half-day section & roundtable meetings format frustrating and cumbersome; now that I’m more involved and actually enjoy going to some of the section & roundtable meetings I do find it useful. I think the scheduling could be played with more, though. I don’t think fewer education sessions is the answer–weren’t almost half the proposals sent in for this year’s meeting rejected by the Program Committee? Experimenting with shorter sessions sounds like a better idea.

    Online content accessibility: high value sessions (perhaps this is where voting could take place, once the Program Committee has selected the sessions; I think voting on all proposals would quickly get bogged down), possibly the business meeting. Asynchronous would be fine for the sessions–synchronous would probably be better for the business meeting?–if that would be a more inexpensive avenue to explore.

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