Christopher J. Prom 2014-02-10 17:14:45
My own history demonstrates the incomparable value that SAA publications bring to our profession. Full confession: I became an archivist more by happenstance than by forethought.In 1998, I had serious need of a steady income, having recently received the happy news that my wife Linda and I were expecting a baby (Andy, now 14).I applied for the first job opportunity that presented itself: visiting assistant archivist at the University of Illinois. It seemed natural, since I had just spent nine months digging through documents left behind by British mutual aid societies, while researching a doctoral dissertation.How difficult, this green graduate student reasoned, could it be to take care of documents like that? In retrospect, I didn’t understand that the skills I was using to interpret the historical record were very different from— though complementary to—those used to appraise, acquire, arrange, describe, preserve, and provide access to that same record. With no formal training to rely upon, I turned to SAA publications. They constituted one of the primary means that I used to acquire the specialized knowledge and skills that allowed me to succeed in my new profession. For this reason and many others, I feel both humbled and proud to begin a three-year term as publications editor on March 1. I have big shoes to fill. Under the leadership of former Publications Editor Peter Wosh, the Publications Board and the Director of Publishing Teresa Brinati helped authors publish no less than twenty well-reviewed books—not to mention top-notch (and free) Internet resources—during the past six years. Their success leaves SAA in an enviable position, one ripe for additional growth. Four key values will guide the work that the Publications Board undertakes during the next three years: 1. Excellence. Above all, SAA will provide publications of the highest quality, reviewed by your peers and edited and designed to top standards, resulting in a substantive and attractive product. We will make authors proud of the Society’s efforts to enhance their work, and we will provide readers with a product they feel honored to own. 2. Practicality. SAA’s publications will push archival theory and practice forward, in the light of new needs and techniques. SAA will help you develop your full potential as an archivist, inspiring you with essential knowledge, new ideas, and fresh thinking. 3. Flexibility. Our literature will be current and agile, responding to new needs and supporting your professional development.We will strive to present information in the form you want, when you want it, and at a price you can afford. 4. Collegiality. We will reflect and shape boundary-stretching conversations currently taking place in the library, archives, and museum community. We welcome ideas and perspectives from new authors, from those in related professions, and from our international colleagues. We will collaborate deeply with all comers. The principles of excellence, practicality, flexibility, and collegiality are reflected clearly in the Publications Board’s newest initiative: the Trends in Archives Practice series. The series features brief, authoritative treatments that fill significant gaps in the archival literature. The works, written and edited by top-level professionals, are available in both print and electronic (PDF and EPUB) formats. Many modules are planned, and you will be able to mix, match, and combine modules to best satisfy your needs and interests. Three outstanding modules launch the series: • Module 1: Standards for Archival Description by Sibyl Schaefer and Janet M. Bunde. Untangles the history of standards development and provides an overview of descriptive standards that an archives might wish to use. • Module 2: Processing Digital Records and Manuscripts by J. Gordon Daines III. Builds on familiar terminology and models to show how any repository can take practical steps to process born-digital materials and to make them accessible to users. • Module 3: Designing Descriptive and Access Systems by Daniel A. Santamaria. Provides implementation advice regarding the wide range of tools and software that support specific needs in arranging, describing, and providing access to analog and digital archival materials on the Internet. The modules are an excellent value, at a member price of $9.99 each, or $24.99 for all three modules bundled in the 230-page Archival Arrangement and Description. It was my good fortune to coedit Archival Arrangement and Description with Tom Frusciano. I learned much from each author and am already using the modules to train new students and staff members, with excellent results. It is my firm conviction that Archival Arrangement and Description should sit on the physical or digital bookshelf of every professional who manages archives. Since the early 1970s, SAA has supplied archivists with an essential professional service, providing an expert literature, including handbooks, research studies, essays, books, and now modules. Through these works—many of which resulted directly or indirectly from activities undertaken within our association—SAA emerged as the premier publishing outlet for archivists in the United States. Over the next three years, I look forward to continuing that tradition by helping SAA, the Publications Board, and authors to develop more modules and books of outstanding quality and value
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