Archives & Archivists (A&A) List Terms of Participation

Instructions for the Archives & Archivists List

Please read the Terms of Participation below before subscribing to A&A. By subscribing, you agree to these terms.

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September 2006 to Present:


April 1993 to September 2006:



 Terms of Participation


The Archives and Archivists (A&A) Discussion List was established in 1989 by Donna Harlan and John Harlan as an open forum for all topics relating to archival theory and practice. Over the years, A&A has had various homes. In late 1993, the list migrated to Miami University. (To view the old list archives, see In 1998, SAA assumed sponsorship of the list as a service to the archives profession. It remained hosted at Miami University under the stewardship of Robert M. Schmidt until September 2006, at which time SAA assumed full ownership of the list and responsibility for its ongoing maintenance.



The principal audience for the list is archivists, special collections librarians, archival educators, and students enrolled in graduate archival education courses and programs. The list is open to all individuals with an interest in the archives profession, archival practice, and the preservation and promotion of archival materials. SAA membership is not required for participation in the list.


Responsibility of Participants

Participants agree to restrict their messages to the scope of the list, to follow SAA’s Code of Conduct ( and generally accepted principles of netiquette, to respect the interests and rights of other participants and of the Society of American Archivists, and to respect the law. Participants are solely responsible for their postings.

By subscribing to the A&A List, participants grant SAA permission to record essential contact information (e.g., names and email addresses) in its central database. Personal contact information will be administered in strict accordance with SAA’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy (

Anyone posting to the list grants SAA and the list subscribers a perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable license to display, copy, publish, distribute, transmit, print, preserve, and use such information or material in any manner without payment or any other compensation to the posting party.


Scope of the List

The purpose of the list is to foster discussion of archives and archives issues, including all aspects of the theory and practice of the archives profession. These terms of participation are not intended to constrain scholarly or professional presentation, discourse, or debate, so long as subscribers exchange information in a respectful manner.

Messages unrelated to the archives profession, such as the following, are off topic and prohibited:

  • General interest posts unrelated to archives.
  • Discussion of the listerv itself or the behavior of individual posters. (Direct complaints or concerns about the list or list netiquette to the List Coordinator.)
  • Commercial advertisements for goods or services. (Vendors may initiate messages or post responses to list messages, but such postings must not attempt to sell goods or services.)
  • Messages directed to specific individuals, except when these are responses to a posting and intended for the entire list.
  • Personal attacks.
  • Political speech unrelated to archival issues, including but not limited to endorsing or attacking a particular political candidate or party, or the views of any candidate or party.
  • Virus warnings.



Participants are expected to follow these core rules of listserv netiquette:

  • Keep in mind that readers may receive and interpret messages in a different context from the author’s.
  • Participate, but don’t dominate. Make space for everyone to contribute to discussion.
  • Ensure responses are long enough to be understandable and include enough of the original message to provide context.
  • Avoid inflammatory remarks of a personal nature, and be slow to take offense when reading a message. Assume that an individual has good intentions when posting a message but that the medium may make an innocent message seem insulting.
  • Consider whether a message is of interest to the list as a whole before posting it.
  • Ensure subject lines accurately represent the content of the message.


Specific Rules

All list subscribers must follow these specific rules to ensure the value of the list to all subscribers:

  • Post no more than five original postings to the list in any twenty-four-hour period. There are no limits to responses to postings.
  • When pointing to an online resource, always include the entire original URL, which allows subscribers to see where the link is sending them and which documents the original source for archival purposes. In addition, shortened hyperlinks (by, Google URL Shortener, TinyURL, etc.) may also be included for ease of use.
  • To help subscribers quickly evaluate their interest in a posting, include the following headings at the beginning of the subject lines of applicable postings:
    • “ANNOUNCE:” at the front of any announcement for a conference, workshop, exhibition, or other event or release
    • “JOB:” at the front of any job posting
    • “NEWS:” at the front of any news item

Subscribers may also create and use other short headings if they believe them to be helpful to others.

  • Delete extraneous text from a message when you are responding to make reading the message easier for other subscribers. (Given that deleting such text can be onerous in mobile environments, SAA will correct a poster for breaking this rule only in extreme circumstances. SAA currently does not have the technical capability to address this issue at its end. Once it does, SAA will re-evaluate this rule and consider its elimination.)
  • Avoid posting messages formatted with HTML code, if possible, as many email readers and the list’s digest readers are unable to read these messages easily.



As a professional association concerned with protecting intellectual property rights of authors whose works are held in archival repositories, SAA expects participants to set a high standard of respect for copyright. Copyrighted material beyond brief quotations must not be posted to the A&A List without first securing the appropriate permissions.



The Archives & Archivists List is a professional forum. If a subscriber breaks any of the rules of the list, the List Coordinator will remind that person of the rules off list. If a subscriber breaks the rules persistently, the List Coordinator will send the individual subscriber a warning. All enforcement of the rules of the list will be conducted off list.

SAA reserves the right to block or permanently remove participants if off-topic or abusive messages threaten to disrupt the functioning of the list. SAA may also block or remove participants for violating the copyright of others or for any other actions that do not conform to these Terms of Participation.

Punitive action is rare and generally follows wanton and/or persistent disregard for these Terms of Participation. In order to ensure due process, punitive action shall take place only after formal notification of an infraction and initiation of a 90-day probation period. Upon additional misconduct within the 90 days, an individual may be banned by approval of the Council. Misconduct after the 90 days will result in a one-year probation. (Upon misconduct within this longer probationary period, an individual may also be banned by approval of the Council.)

A banned subscriber may petition the Council for reinstatement after one year. Such appeals must be accompanied by a written and signed statement agreeing to comply with the Terms of Participation.


List Ownership

The Archives & Archivists List is owned by the Society of American Archivists. The SAA Council is charged with setting policy on the list. Two Council members are assigned the responsibility of monitoring the list and making recommendations for responses on behalf of the Council when issues arise. The A&A List Coordinator, reporting to SAA’s Executive Director, oversees the daily operations of the list, including assisting participants with their subscriptions and enforcing the Terms of Participation.

A&A List Coordinator: Melanie Mueller (



The opinions expressed on the Archives & Archivists List do not necessarily represent those of SAA and are not endorsed by the Society.


Revised and approved by the SAA Council, August 1, 2006. Revised August 10, 2009; May 16, 2013; August 12, 2014; August 17, 2015