Nancy P. Beaumont 2014-02-10 17:33:09
My friend Chuck has lots of theories, one of which I agree with: You never see the tire ads in the sports pages until you’re shopping for tires—and then you realize how many ads there are. I’ve been shopping for good news lately. We’ve always paid attention to what members have to say. I receive between two hundred and four hundred emails a day (not all of them from Council members!), and it’s common for me to speak or correspond with three to five members I’ve never met during the course of a week. Our Service Center staff speak with dozens of members each day. Teresa and Solveig and their staff engage with members daily to assist them in finding information and contributing ideas. We’re all following our Twitter and Facebook accounts. And Jackie and several other Council members are very active on social media and are expanding our database of anecdotal input. But in the past year SAA has been, well, consumed with asking you what you want and need and think about things. More than 2,100 members completed the 2012 Member Needs Survey, and that feedback has informed pretty much everything we do or are considering. The Annual Meeting and Communications task forces have continuously sought your input as they have crafted their recommendations to the Council. And most recently we have fielded for member comment the draft Strategic Plan 2013–2018—and received twentyfour (compiled) pages of comments that the Council is combing through as it continues its work on the plan. (You can find the Compilation of comments on the SAA website at: http://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/0513-II-C-2-StratPlanComments.pdf.) The vast majority of comments— whether positive or negative about the ideas presented in the draft plan—were constructive. (Thank you!) And then there’s this (from Anonymous) in response to a strategy about “fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation”: “SAA leadership has always come across as conservative. Short of adding either lobotomies or coup d’etat to the list, I’m not sure there’s any way to really bring about those changes.” I get it. This person is disenchanted. (Lobotomies? Really?) But how about offering up an idea that might address the concern? I got a little depressed after reading that comment. And so I’ve been shopping for good news. • As of April-end, SAA has 6,157 members—a new all-time high! This is an increase of 44 members since Marchend (a new month-to-month record) and an increase of 140 members since April 2012. • Joint Annual Meeting registrations are looking strong: At thirteen weeks out, we have double the number of registrants as at the same time last year. We’ll have free wireless and a new app to help attendees navigate the meeting and New Orleans. We’ve just expanded the floor plan for the Expo Hall because the original is sold out. And you’re going to love the all-attendee reception site. Laissez les bon temps roulez! • More than six hundred individuals are now pursuing a Digital Archives Specialist certificate, and fifteen members already have qualified to sit for the first comprehensive examination in August (i. e., they have completed the requisite nine courses/webinars). We’ll be offering ninety courses and webinars—on digital archives and an array of other subjects— in FY 2014. • The Publications Board is cranking! In the works are three new “clusters” of modules on Digital Preservation Essentials, Rights in the Digital Era, and Implementing Descriptive Standards. Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition by TS-DACS is freely available via the Standards Portal and a print version will be available in June. Just in time for the Joint Annual Meeting in August: Perspectives on Women’s Archives: A Reader edited by Tanya Zanish-Belcher with Anke Voss; Exhibits in Special Collections, Libraries, and Archives by Jessica Lacher- Feldman; and revised versions of the donor brochures. And to be released this fall: Conceptualizing 21st Century Archives by Anne Gilliland and Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion edited by Mary Caldera and Kathryn Neal. SAA’s vast cadre of volunteers—section and roundtable leaders and committee chairs and task force members and Council—and paid staff are doing some thing(s) right. And, with your input, we’re setting a new course to ensure that we continuously improve in meeting your needs.
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