Celebrating the Inaugural American Archivist Online Supplement

This post was written by Bill Landis, member of Council and editor of the first  American Archivist Online Supplement.

The American Archivist Online Supplement to Volume 74 celebrates SAA’s 75th anniversary by capturing selected content from nine sessions offered at the 2011 SAA Annual Meeting in Chicago. As the guest editor of this inaugural supplement issue, I was pleased to experiment with SAA in the publishing of an electronic-only issue of The American Archivist that featured additional reviewed and copyedited articles as they were completed (rather than waiting for all to be ready simultaneously). The publication of this supplement represents:

  • A thematic collection, selected by the 2011 Program Committee, celebrating a significant SAA milestone;
  • Free access to nearly three dozen articles written by new and veteran voices;
  • An experimental new product that builds innovatively on one of SAA’s strongest brands—The American Archivist.

The supplement represents a means of leveraging Annual Meeting and other content to accommodate more timely access. Two-thirds of the 75th Anniversary articles were available online within eight months of the 2011 conference. Although the entire supplement took longer than anticipated to coalesce, additional planning could enhance production in the future.

One way to ensure timelier production could be additional requirements for presenters who wish to publish their session content. These presenters could submit their materials in advance of the Annual Meeting. There’s currently a seven month period between the Program Committee’s selection work and the Annual Meeting itself, time that could be leveraged to aid a more dynamic editorial process.

Second, we can encourage participants to take an active role in shaping the content of their session as a singular article for publication.

Are you willing to break with tradition to have your Annual Meeting content published? I dare you!

In the meantime, I invite you to explore the wealth of SAA- and archival profession–related topics explored in The American Archivist Online Supplement to Volume 74. While you’re doing that, I also dare you to identify topics that could be the focus of the next supplement and to send your ideas to The American Archivist Editor Greg Hunter (AmericanArchivist@archivists.org). While there’s no guarantee that another online supplement will be published, it can’t hurt to keep the conversation going if you have good ideas!

I’d also like to give a shout out to the forty authors who made this supplement possible and for helping to bring it to fruition, to Mary Jo Pugh for her willingness to experiment with an online supplement during her tenure as editor of The American Archivist, to Teresa Brinati and Anne Hartman from the SAA Office for the behind-the-scenes work they tirelessly do, and to Roxanne Dunn from Southeast Missouri State University for her assistance with transcription and copy editing on several of the articles.

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