So I’ve ignored this blog for far too long. Truth — SAA Council takes a good amount of work but being on Council while you’re the University Archivist planning a massive yearlong 125th anniversary celebration is a bit much. But our anniversary celebration is done. So I’m going to try to pick this back up as a way of keeping folks informed with my work as a member of SAA Council.
Please keep in mind that, in this blog, I’m speaking for me and not for SAA or SAA Council as a whole.
The 2018 annual meeting was action packed, of course. It kicked off on Monday, August 13th with a 9am Council meeting. As always, the agenda and background materials are made available to Council members and anyone else on the SAA website a week in advance of the meeting (technically, most of it is available two weeks in advance). You’ll see that we reviewed a lot of reports from various staff members, officers, and other groups. But a few items resulted in key talking points (that you may have heard a Council member read at one of the section meetings during the annual meeting):
- SAA Council (finally) endorsed Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, a document that had initially come to Council for consideration in 2008. All of the documentation and member comments from 2008 as well as a second round of discussion can be found on this Information and Resources page. Much of the discussion was rooted not in the interest of Native American record creators but on trying to force traditional archival practice on them. It was inappropriate, to say the least. In endorsing the Protocols, Council also issued a statement that “acknowledges that endorsement of these Protocols is long overdue. We regret and apologize that SAA did not take action to endorse the Protocols sooner and engage in more appropriate discussions.” It also calls out much of the original criticism of the Protocols as “based in the language of cultural insensitivity and white supremacy.”
- We approved revisions to the “Principles and Priorities for Continuously Improving the SAA Annual Meeting” that include the addition of two bullets:
- “We will strive to meet in locations governed by laws, regulations, and practices that support the values and ethics of SAA” and
- “We expect panels to be diverse and inclusive. This includes bringing balance to the panels, such as individual diversity (gender, race, age, length of time in profession, ability, access to financial resources), institutional diversity (academic, government, corporate/business, non-profit, large, small), and geographic diversity.”
- We also agreed to form a six-member task force to develop guidelines for staff use in considering vendor exhibits, sponsorships, and advertising. Personally, I was shocked that we didn’t already have something in place to address this. A petition concerning HP as a vendor brought this issue to light — but this task force will give us the opportunity to look at the issue holistically, identify the key issues, and provide SAA staff with guidance in future sponsorship decisions. The task force will be asked to produce a report for consideration at the November 2018 Council meeting, so the work will be done quickly. Details on the appointments are still to come.
As I’ve mentioned before, Council meets at the beginning and the end of the annual meeting. In a few days, I’ll update with news from the SAA Council meeting that took place at 7:30am on Saturday, August 18th. As always, feel free to email/message me if you have any questions!!
As I mentioned in the last post, SAA Council met in Chicago earlier this week. I wanted to pass along some highlights of what happened there. At the meeting, Council:
- Approved public policy issue briefs on declassification and federal funding of archives programs. Returned to the Committee on Public Policy an issue brief on police mobile camera footage to address concerns raised by several individuals.
- Approved the revised Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning as proposed by TS-GRD and the Standards Committee.
- Approved formation of a new student chapter at the University of Missouri.
- Approved minor revisions in the description of the DAS Subcommittee, extending terms to four years and creating the positions of vice chair and immediate past chair as a means of ensuring continuity.
- Reviewed SAA’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, made several refinements in plan-directed activities, and made a number of suggestions in advance of the fuller review of the plan scheduled for the November 2017 Council meeting.
- Approved a budget for FY18 (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) of $2,627,416 in revenues, $2,623,767 in expenses, with a net gain of $3,649.
- Agreed to create a task force to explore the feasibility of forming a standing body within SAA to conduct, facilitate, and/or evaluate research/data that is practical, useful, and meaningful for SAA and the archives community. The task force report date is November 2018.
- Approved an Archives and Archivists of Color Section recommendation to create the Brenda S. Banks Travel Award to support attendance by an archivist of color at her/his first SAA Annual Meeting.
- Elected Kris Kiesling to serve on the 2017-2018 Executive Committee and Amy Cooper Cary and Bergis Jules to serve on the 2017-2018 Nominating Committee.
- Disbanded the Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums–with thanks.
If you would like more information about the full agenda (including supporting documents), those are available here: http://www2.archivists.org/groups/saa-council/may-16-17-2017-council-meeting-agenda. The meeting minutes will also be made available as soon as they are completed and approved.
And as always, if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them (or, if can’t answer them, I’m happy to pass you along to the person who can!).
Just as a heads up — SAA Council will be meeting in Chicago on May 16th and 17th. If you are a component group leader with an item for the agenda, please contact your group’s Council liaison with your concerns. April 25th is the deadline for putting items on the agenda. The SAA President, as the presiding officer at Council meetings, approves all agenda items. But your Council liaison can help you craft the language and ensure that your item is on the agenda.
If you’re an SAA member who isn’t a component group leader, but you have an item that you would like to bring to Council for action or discussion, please feel free to reach out to me or any other Council member. We want to make sure your voice is heard!
A quick update … this semester is rough already and is only going to get rougher, but hopefully I can continue to throw out some brief updates on Council activities as we go along….
As most of you know, SAA Council meets face-to-face in November, May, and at the annual meeting (both at the beginning of the annual meeting and at the end). But in between, there’s of course a ton of stuff to do and discuss. Yesterday afternoon (February 6th), we had a Council conference call with a few key items on the agenda. You can see the agenda and related materials here: http://www2.archivists.org/groups/saa-council/february-6-2017-council-conference-call-agenda. But here’s a summary of what happened during that call:
- Approved an issue brief, prepared by the Committee on Public Policy, on “Confidentiality of Private Information Held in Records of the Federal Government’s Executive Agencies.” (The issue brief will be added to the Public Policy Agenda by tomorrow.)
- Approved $11,000 in funding for the Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard to meet in mid-March, along with a group of invited experts, to prepare a draft revision of the DACS Principles. (Background: The descriptive rules in DACS are based on a series of principles about the nature of archival holdings, the relationship between arrangement and description, the nature of archival description, and the creators of archival description. Because archival theory and practice have changed significantly since the original principles were approved in 2004, the Council agreed with TS-DACS that it is important to revise them.)
- Approved minor changes in the TS-DACS description to allow for a co-chair as needed, to add a “regular” member to the group, and to ensure that each member of the technical subcommittee has significant knowledge of and experience with archival description generally and DACS specifically.
- Elected three Fellows to serve with the five most immediate past presidents on the Committee on the Selection of SAA Fellows. (The names are embargoed until consent is obtained from each individual.)
- Extended to four years the terms of members of the Digital Archives Specialist Subcommittee of the Committee on Education in acknowledgment of the amount of time required to become familiar with all aspects of the development and maintenance of this important program.
- Heard updates from SAA President Nance McGovern, Vice President Tanya Zanish-Belcher (on the 2017 appointments process), Treasurer Cheryl Stadel-Bevans (on SAA’s December-end financial status), and Executive Director Nancy Beaumont (on headquarters activities since November 2016).
Also, for anyone who might have missed it, last week SAA Council issued a statement on the current Administration’s Executive Order Restricting Entry into the United States by Individuals from Seven Muslim-Majority Countries. Please note that an SAA Council statement requires a consensus (not unanimous, but majority) of Council members’ approval before it is officially issued.
And as a final note, there will be loads of information about the annual meeting coming soon. The schedule (at least as it’s proposed right now) is significantly different from in years past. As soon as details are firmed up, you will get that information. But for now, you might not want to book your flight to Portland just yet….
The minutes from the November meetings of both the SAA Foundation Board and the SAA Council are now available: http://www2.archivists.org/november-meeting-minutes-adopted-for-saa-foundation-board-and-council.
A few points to highlight from the SAA Council meeting minutes:
- Adopted a revised information brief on the Freedom of Information Act focused on access to federal records as well as transparency and accountability of government agencies.
- Revised the description of the Committee on Education to create a Graduate Archival Education Subcommittee.
- Agreed to form a Committee on Research and Evaluation (CORE) “that is responsible for conducting or facilitating research that is practical, meaningful, and useful for SAA and the archives community.” A committee charge and addition creation plans are still to come.
- Approved the work plan for implementing Member Affinity Group proposed changes, including the changing of all affinity groups to “sections” (no more roundtables).
- Annual meeting site selection updates — currently working on contracts for a 2019 meeting in Texas (either Austin or San Antonio — both of which offer excellent tacos, so I’m pleased!) and 2020 meeting in Chicago.
If you want to see any of the documents referenced in the notes, you can find links to everything in the agenda here: http://archivists.org/groups/saa-council/november-14-16-2016-council-meeting-agenda.
As always, let me know if you have any questions!!
I wanted to pass along some quick talking points that came out of the November Council meeting that was held earlier this week (Monday-Wednesday). I will highlight the next-to-last bullet point, which includes a link out to the member affinity group transition work plan that was approved. If you are a leader of a roundtable (soon to be a section), you should be hearing soon from Felicia Owens with additional details very soon.
So here’s what we did during the Council meeting —
- Participated in a half-day session on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Involvement with facilitator DeEtta Jones.
- Discussed possible revisions in the Strategic Plan 2014-2018 strategies and activities, particularly in light of the facilitated session. A small group of Council members and staff will incorporate suggested changes for full Council review. (III.B.)
- Adopted “SAA Statement Reaffirming Our Commitment to the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion.”
- Approved the following consent agenda items:
- Referred to the ALA/SAA/AAM Joint Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums (CALM) a recommendation from the Committee on Public Policy that SAA reconvene a joint working group with the American Library Association to revise the Joint Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries, last revised in 2009. (IV.B.)
- Adopted a revision of the Committee on Education description that includes a newly created Graduate Archival Education Subcommittee. The subcommittee will ensure that SAA is positioned to address critical issues associated with graduate archival education even as the Committee itself continues its focus on continuing education. As noted in the description, due to resource limitations, SAA and the Graduate Archival Education Subcommittee do not address accreditation issues. (IV.C.)
- Referred back to the Technical Subcommittee on DACS some questions from the Council about the group’s request for funding to hold a meeting. (IV.D.)
- Adopted the member affinity groups transition work plan as presented, and adopted “section” as the name for all groups formerly known as a “section” or “roundtable.” The staff and Council liaisons will be reaching out to the groups (via the Leader List and individually) with more information throughout the coming months. (V.B.)
- Reviewed and discussed the 2016 annual reports of all sections and roundtables as well as several appointed groups. (VI.F. – VI.R.)
Full meeting minutes should be available in a few weeks. But if you have any questions at all, please let me (or if you’re a group leader, your Council liaison) know!
For those who haven’t seen it yet, the agenda and supporting documentation for the SAA Council meeting that will be taking place in Chicago November 14-16 is up on the SAA website. I’m currently reading through the documentation, and there are a few things that I wanted to point out:
- The transition work plan from the Member Affinity Working Group is up. Council will be discussing the proposed work plan and timeline as well as the needed revisions to governance documents.
- The compilation of annual reports from all of the various sections/roundtables is available. It’s a 116 page document, so you probably aren’t going to read cover to cover. But there is an increasing interest and emphasis on collaboration between the various SAA component groups. And it’s hard to collaborate if you don’t know what the others are doing! At least give this full document a skim just so you have a better sense of what’s happening across the organization. You never know where you might find a common ground for an interesting collaboration!
- COPP (Committee on Public Policy) has submitted a new issue brief on “Confidentiality of Private Information Held in Records of the Federal Government’s Executive Agencies.”
- Immediate past president Dennis Meissner has submitted a proposal to form a new Committee on Research and Evaluation (CORE). From the proposal, “CORE gathers quantitative and qualitative information of strategic value for advocacy, awareness, relevance, audience service, and community engagement. CORE evaluates this information and surfaces it to members in dashboards, reports, and data sets that members can use to better understand and act upon their environments.”
Additionally, the Council meeting will actually begin on Monday afternoon with a workshop on diversity and inclusion, led by DeEtta Jones. We will continue the conversation on Tuesday with an update from the Council Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion and a discussion of ways in which SAA – and us as individual professionals and organizational leaders – can advance diversity and inclusion within SAA and the archival profession. This is an area where I would love feedback from members. What are your thoughts?
Here are my personal thoughts — me as an individual and not anything “official” or decided by Council as a whole. One thing I would personally love to see is an extension of the cultural competency training that Helen Wong Smith has conducted. I would love to see a “train the trainer” system in collaboration with state/local archival organizations and RAAC (Regional Archival Associations Consortium). I would love this type of regional approach to ask people to question both inclusion within their own professional association/environment and within their collections/collecting work. I’m also hoping that we can more heavily highlight some of the important initiatives being carried out within SAA component groups that might serve as inspiration for others. Also — again this is me speaking as an individual and not as “Council” (the whole) — I want to see SAA more vocally speak out, frequently reaffirming the organization’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion in the profession and to its professionals, in both actions and words.
So, that’s what coming up next week. I’m going to be the somewhat odd position of participating in the Council meeting virtually. For those of you who haven’t heard, one of my corgis (Jasper) is facing the possibility of back surgery for a ruptured disk in his lower back. We went to a neurologist earlier this week for a consultation and an MRI, and we’re still in the phase of determining whether he will be able to recover on his own with strict crate rest and pain medicine or if he will need back surgery to remove the disk. He was given a 50-60% chance of recovering on his own, and he’s showing some early signs of recovery. But he’s got a long road ahead, and I’ll need to be here to keep a close eye on him throughout the next few days. Barring any emergencies, I should be able to participate fully in the meeting. It stinks, but, anyone who knows me knows that my corgis are my babies. I can’t leave when one is hurting.
So, please message me on Twitter (@barkivist) or email (elawrimore32 at gmail) with your thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. I genuinely want to hear from folks because I want to be a representative for you….