In 2001, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) designated the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM) as its official archival home, and named the head of its Archives Department as SAA Archivist. SAA’s archives dating from the Society’s founding in 1936 are described in an online finding aid and open to researchers in the UWM Archives’ reading room. Recognizing that a significant portion of SAA’s current records are now shared via the Society’s website, in 2014 the UWM Archives, with Council’s approval, initiated a web crawling program, still in its early experimental phase, to capture, preserve and provide access to SAA current born-digital permanent records. At the same time, SAA’s Records Retention Policy was overhauled to establish a framework for more transparent and more intentional records management at SAA. A 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and long-term preservation of permanent SAA records in all formats to create a continuum of rich organizational and historical content that bridges the paper based, the digitized, and the born digital.
Records from committees, boards, working groups, and task forces and from roundtables and sections that are 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 to members and others, for posting all records of importance to these groups and to the broader membership of SAA.
Questions about records retention for SAA groups should be directed to Executive Director Nancy Beaumont (email@example.com).
(Read the full policy here.)
Scope: The RRP contains records schedules that identify official SAA records of permanent value and provides direction for their retention and disposition either by the SAA Office or by the SAA Archives. It also identifies non-permanent records that can be kept as long as administratively useful or legally necessary and then destroyed. It applies to records in the existing SAA Archives as well as to current records, and to SAA staff, elected and appointed leaders, component groups, and members.
Retention Period: The RRP in most cases deliberately avoids suggesting specific retention periods for temporary records, as SAA records creators are in the best position to determine how long to keep materials before discarding them. For records scheduled for permanent retention, the SAA Office staff and SAA leaders should work out the best arrangements in collaboration with both the designated records liaison in the SAA Office and the SAA Archivist.
Disposition: The RRP avoids identifying the manner in which records identified for permanent retention will be transferred to the SAA archives. Most permanent records will be harvested by UWM during an annual crawl of the SAA website. In other cases, transfer may be accomplished by shipment of physical records or delivery of electronic records to a file-sharing site, the details of which will be worked out between the SAA Archives and the designated records liaison in the SAA Office.
Revisions, Additions, and Review: The Council delegates to the Executive Committee ongoing authority to review and approve retention and disposition schedules for SAA records on behalf of the Council. Changes to this RRP--discussed by the appropriate SAA leaders, the designated records liaison in the SAA Office, and the SAA Archivist--may be recommended to and approved by the Executive Committee at any time. If ten years have passed from the most recent RRP revision date, or if a determination is made that the general policy statement contained in this RRP requires revision, the Executive Committee will initiate a review of the RRP, to be undertaken, at minimum, by the SAA Archivist, the SAA Office’s designated records liaison, and representative members of the Council.
Roles and Responsibilities
SAA Archivist: Develops records schedules in consultation with the records creators including staff, officers, and component group leaders; works primarily with the SAA Office’s designated records liaison. The responsibilities and authority of the SAA Archivist are defined in the 2001 agreement between SAA and UWM and include appraisal, processing, preservation and outreach.
Designated Records Liaison: A member of the SAA staff who serves as the point person for managing the records of the SAA Office, communicating with the SAA Archivist, referring questions to the Archives, and facilitating transfer of records to the SAA Archives as indicated by the records schedule.
(Download all schedules here.)
Society of American Archivists Records Schedules
Society of American Archivists Foundation Schedule