Beth Kaplan and Bill Landis 2014-07-22 11:30:10
The Council accomplished a goal at its May 2014 meeting that has been hovering on various to-do lists for years: adoption of a new Records Retention Policy (RRP) and program for SAA. The rapid growth of the SAA website as the go-to venue for members, groups, and staff to share information about their activities, coupled with the Council’s decision in August 2010 to use the website, rather than The American Archivist, as the location of record for Council meeting minutes, meant that something needed to be done to ensure long-term preservation of SAA’s web content deemed to have enduring value to the organization and its members. Drafting the RRP Discussions about this goal and related issues over the intervening years led to a realization that addressing the capture and preservation of web content was contingent on having a robust records management program in place for SAA records. In January 2013, the Council tasked a working group—SAA Archivist Michael Doylen, Records Management Roundtable representative Brad Houston, Council members Beth Kaplan and Bill Landis, former Council member Donna McCrea, and SAA staff member (and chief records wrangler) René Craig—to draft an RRP and accompanying schedules for SAA records. Seventeen conference calls and several interviews with key records creators resulted in the RRP http://www2.archivists.org /governance/handbook/appendices/app_a/Records_Retention_Policy, which includes ten individual record schedules for SAA and a separate schedule for the general records of the SAA Foundation, recently approved by the Council. The general policy outlines the scope for SAA’s records program; assigns responsibilities for records management within the SAA office and for the transfer of records scheduled for long-term retention in the SAA archives; charges the Executive Committee of the Council with maintaining the records schedules over time; and identifies specific types of records for capture by web crawls being undertaken by the staff at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) Archives, the repository for SAA’s archives. Schedules for Component Groups Records schedules for Council-appointed groups (e.g., committees, boards, working groups, and task forces), external representatives (e.g., SAA’s representative to the International Council on Archives Section on Professional Archival Associations), and member-affiliation groups (roundtables and sections) may be of the broadest interest to SAA members. Records from these groups scheduled for transfer to the SAA archives will be captured by web crawls of their SAA-supplied microsites. These microsites should be used, in the interests of transparency and good communication with members and others, for posting all records of importance to these groups and to the broader SAA membership. Craig currently serves as the designated records liaison for the SAA office, and questions about records retention for SAA groups and representatives should be directed to her (firstname.lastname@example.org). Working with UWM The approval of a new RRP for SAA represents an important new phase in its collaboration with UWM Archives. UWM Archives’ use of the fee-based Archive-It web archiving service and preservation and storage costs for audiovisual files, such as SAA Annual Meeting session recordings, may necessitate an annual contribution from SAA for the long-term maintenance of records of enduring value to the organization and its members. The new RRP—together with the records schedules, undertaking periodic web capture, and appointment of a dedicated records officer at the SAA office—establishes a framework for more transparent and more intentional records management at SAA. This new suite of tools and processes will enable more systematic identification, capture, and long-term preservation of permanent SAA records in all formats to create a continuum of rich organizational and historical content that bridges the paper based, the digitized, and the born digital.
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