Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award: Katherine Fisher

Katherine Fisher, head of digital archives at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University, is the 2021 recipient of the Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in SAA’s journal, American Archivist.

Fisher is being honored for “Copyright and Preservation of Born-digital Materials: Persistent Challenges and Selected Strategies,” which appeared in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of American Archivist (vol. 83, no. 2). Her article addresses the complex topic of US copyright law as it relates to long-term preservation of born-digital records, an area of broad interest and concern in the archival profession. Fisher provides clear, concise explanations of preservation-inhibiting constraints in current copyright law, including outdated understandings of copying, murky publication statuses, multilayered rights, and barriers imposed by Digital Rights Management technologies. Fisher offers advocacy and procedural strategies that are relevant for organizations and repositories of all sizes. 

The SAA Awards Committee commends Katherine Fisher for compiling “so much information, some of it quite recent, in such a cogent and approachable fashion” and noted that this article is “an important tool that can be used by a wide variety of professionals” in understanding the challenging, evolving copyright issues relevant to preserving born-digital records.

Established in 1982, the award is named for Ernst Posner, an SAA Fellow and former president as well as a distinguished author.