A year in review …

Wrapping up a year that has included many wonderful things and some challenges, I wanted to note a few highlights.

In case these slipped past, the SAA staff working with members of Council and other SAA groups accomplished some amazing things, including:

  • SAA website: A complete re-do of the SAA website, a vast resource for our Society that evolves and grows every day of the year. This was a huge and successful effort.
  • SAA Groups: An expansive reorganization of SAA’s groups with all of the associated documentation and other updates those changes required – this shift will enable SAA to more easily evolve and adapt as we move forward. (see Member Affinity Groups: Transition Work Plan)
  • American Archivist Editor: Filled the vacating position of Editor of The American Archivist – with thanks to outgoing Editor Greg Hunter and the 2017 search committee (Chris Prom, Erin Lawrimore, Jennifer Meehan Teresa Brinati, and Nancy Beaumont). We had a wonderful pool of candidates. Watch for opportunities to get involved with special issues of our journal. Congratulations to incoming Editor, Cal Lee!
  • Fundraising: As part of SAA’s efforts to grow and expand the effort of the SAA Foundation Board, consolidated SAA’s accounts to maximize the impact of our fundraising efforts – not a glitzy activity, but essential and beneficial as we ramp up to serve SAA members in known and new ways.

to name a few…

This year, as you’ve seen, I have focused on the connections among archives, history, and technology with a cross-cutting emphasis on diversity and inclusion. These are some of my favorite things, as you heard if you listen to my address, either in-person at the Annual Meeting or in the recorded version (available on the SAA website by the close of the Annual Meeting – look for it with Plenary 2 in the online program). Here are some examples:

Diversity and Inclusion

Professional Collaboration and inclusion: It was my pleasure to reach out to representatives from allied professional associations to attend our Annual Meeting this year (See: Inviting Other Organizations to the Annual Meeting and Archival Outlook May/June 2017). Nancy Beaumont, SAA’s Executive Director, and I contacted the executive directors and leaders of two dozen organizations – we shared our wish list with the SAA Council to ask for their ideas. The organizations that accepted our invitation and designated a representative from their leadership are:

  • Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) – Cheryl Middleton / Oregon State University
  • Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) – Jordan Bass / University of Manitoba in Winnipeg
  • AMIA – Teague Schneiter / Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Association of Research Libraries (ARL) – Mark Puente and Judy Ruttenberg
  • Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) – Cassie Findlay / San Francisco
  • CLIR – Pedro Gonzalez-Fernandez and Nicole Ferraiolo
  • Digital Library Federation (DLF) – Rachel Mattson / La MaMa Archives
  • International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) – Tre Berney / Cornell University Library
  • Middle Eastern Librarians Association (MELA) – Sharon Smith / MIT
  • Open Repositories Steering Committee (OR) – Sarah Shreeves / University of Miami
  • Oral History Association – Doug Boyd / University of Kentucky
  • RBMS – Athena Jackson / Penn State University

Through the SAA leadership listserv, we encouraged SAA’s groups to connect with these representatives during the Annual Meeting and hopefully many attendees were able to connect with one or more of our guests.

One specific event we invited these representatives to attend was the SAA Leadership Town Hall on Thursday of the Annual Meeting. Having these representatives attend our annual meeting is an opportunity for SAA to discuss possible collaborations with other associations, with a particular focus on digital practice and diversity and inclusion. This is particularly timely as the SAA Council begins working on SAA’s next strategic plan beginning at the November 2017 SAA Council meeting.

SAA members should be aware that this is a one-time meeting for leaders of SAA and other professional associations to discuss opportunities and challenges. Nancy and I will follow up with representatives – all of whom expressed interest not only those who were able to attend – in a post-Annual Meeting call. We will share the results of the Town Hall and the follow up call and the SAA Council may decide to continue the discussion in some ways.

Watch for a special session at the 2018 SAA Research Forum – we will be inviting representatives from these, and possibly other, professional associations to participate.

Archives

SAA Digital Practice and Metadata Review: I was very pleased that Mark Matienzo agreed to complete, as approved by the SAA Council, a review of digital practice and metadata across SAA with an eye towards examples from other organizations that might inform SAA’s discussion about how to maximize our efforts in these areas. Mark presented an update at the 2017 Research Forum (his slides will be included in the online proceedings) and he attended SAA’s Leadership Town Hall.

Task Force on Research (Data) and Evaluation: You may recall that during last year’s Presidential address by Dennis Meissner, he called for the creation of a Committee on Research and Evaluation (CORE). Dennis worked with Council on a charge for a task force to provide recommendations about establishing such group. You will have seen the call for volunteers and the appointments to the task force will be announced soon. (see Proposal to Create Task Force on Research (Data) and Evaluation).

History

Milestones – 50 years for electronic records at NARA: This is just an example of the kind of milestone to embrace and celebrate. As a proud former member of the Electronic Records staff at NARA and given the sense many members have that digital practice is new, this was particularly significant for me to note. (see Archival Outlook Jan/Feb)

SAA Archives: I really enjoyed visiting and coordinating with Abbi Nye, our very able and amiable SAA Archivist and her team. We are very fortunate to have such a resource and one that has so many riches to be tapped for possible articles, exhibits, collaborations, and insights. Dive in! (see Archival Outlook Jan/Feb 2017)

Technology

Try 5: Just after our 2016 Annual Meeting, I launched #SAATry5, an initiative to encourage SAA members at all levels of experience to try 1) Try 5 technical thigs, 2) share your experience to encourage others, and 3) help someone else do something technical. I heard from many of you about your experiences and your local efforts (some organizations launched Try5 in parallel with our SAA efforts). Along the way I realized that lots of people were working on their 5 technical things (step 1) and helping someone do something technical (step 3), but sharing their experiences was harder for many people, understandably. The initiative isn’t officially ending – people are continuing to Try5 and help others. Please do continue and share your experiences if you have an opportunity!  (see Archival Outlook Sep/Oct)

It has been an amazing year. Best wishes from me to all SAA members and friends for your future adventures!

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