Revised by the SAA Council, May 2010, May 2011, and January 2012.
[This preface was prepared by Peter Gottlieb, SAA President, 2009 – 2010, and was published with the Strategic Priorities document as of June 14, 2010. Changes made by the Council since then appear in the current Strategic Priorities (revised January 2012) (underline = addition, strikethrough = deletion), with the revision date in brackets following the change.]
At its May 2010 meeting, the SAA Council adopted this newest version of our current Strategic Priorities (revised January 2012), setting a future course for the organization that is guided by our members' needs and our shared values. Under development since February 2009, the plan draws on members' comments on earlier versions and on our collective experience with previous plans. Although the Council issues this version (2010 – 2014) in its completed form for the first time, SAA members and staff have already started working on goals that took final form some time ago. By flexibly and creatively focusing effort throughout our organization on work that has the greatest potential to improve the archives profession, the plan can help us realize long-held ambitions. Make no mistake: This new strategic plan aims high!
The plan carries forward the three priorities that SAA first adopted in 2005 – technology, diversity, and advocacy/public awareness – but tackles them with new goals ("desired outcomes") and actions. See below for the full plan, including implementation steps and timelines. Activities Associated with Strategic Priorities, FY 2006-2012 lists all SAA work toward the three priorities since 2005.
The plan describes each strategic priority as an issue with which SAA must engage on behalf of its members and the profession. For technology, the issue is rapid change that requires improved archival methods and better communications. For diversity, the especially complicated issue is one of strengthening archives' relevance to society, of increasing diversity within the profession, and of building a more complete documentary record. And for advocacy and public awareness, the issue involves increasing archives' and archivists' influence so that we gain the support we need as professionals and as repositories to improve our work.
Although the Council did not change the three strategic issues it had adopted for earlier plans, we did devise some new goals to pursue them. The plan presented below maps out each priority with a set of desired outcomes, activities, and implementation steps that are assigned to SAA staff, volunteers, or component groups, sometimes with assistance from consultants or external experts. This is the most detailed of all SAA plans in the past five years. The staff used it to construct SAA’s draft budget for FY 2011, proposing funds for each implementation step calendared from July 2010 to June 2011. By approving these resources for the beginning phases of work, the Council ensured that the plan takes off smoothly and that progress on work already started continues without interruption.
The 2009–2010 Council has taken a fresh look at what we must do to address long-standing issues and fulfill our dreams. These are ambitious goals that raise the bar for SAA and the archives profession. While there is no proven route to success, we can make long strides by using this plan flexibly and creatively. We must treat it as a living document and continually assess its targets and our work toward them. If we are willing to keep examining the plan's basic assumptions and to change its mechanisms in light of our experience, we will move in the right direction – toward a better future for archives and archivists.