General FAQs 

What is A*CENSUS II?
A*CENSUS II is the second major nationwide survey of the archives profession; background information and results from the first A*CENSUS (2004) can be found here. A*CENSUS II will encompass two large-scale surveys of the archives profession: the All Archivists Survey (launched in October 2021) and the Archives Administrators Survey (launched in early 2022).

Who is working on A*CENSUS II?
SAA and Ithaka S+R are working together to design, field, and document A*CENSUS II. Ithaka S+R is a non-profit research organization that has a long history of designing and executing rigorous research studies in partnership with academic and cultural communities. A working group of fourteen archivists across sectors are guiding the development of A*CENSUS II by providing conceptual framing, feedback, and review of the surveys.

How is A*CENSUS II funded?
A*CENSUS II is funded through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Where will A*CENSUS II results be shared?
Results of both surveys will be shared widely and freely with the profession. They will be publicized through the SAA and Ithaka S+R websites, social media, blog posts, webcast(s), and conference presentations and published on the Ithaka S+R website. The survey data will be available, too, for those who would like to analyze the data in future research.

Where will the collected data be stored?
The survey data and associated documentation for re-analysis will be deposited with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the SAA Dataverse for long-term preservation and access.

How will A*CENSUS II handle data privacy?
The surveys are fully anonymous; in other words, names and email addresses will not be linked to survey responses. We use names and email addresses for distribution of the survey only. Survey platform settings will automatically remove this information before creating the resulting dataset, so at no point will these personally-identifiable data be attached to survey responses. Neither researchers at Ithaka S+R nor project leads at SAA will have access to survey responses that are linked to names or email addresses. 

In addition, open-ended answers will be removed from the dataset before it is stored with ICPSR and deposited in the SAA Dataverse. Variables and response options where there is a high degree of risk of re-identification due to response numbers will be rolled up or removed.

All Archivists Survey

What is the All Archivists Survey?
The All Archivists Survey attempted to survey every self-identified archivist/archives and community memory worker in the United States to gather information about their demographics, educational background and needs, job placement and status, and salaries, as well as their perspectives on key issues in the field.

The All Archivists Survey was released October 19, 2021, and closed December 13, 2021, using the Qualtrics platform. There were 5,699 individual respondents. The data was collected and analyzed by Ithaka S+R, iteratively reviewed by the project lead team and working group, and shared in report form in August 2022. 

The survey included all archivists, memory workers, and every person in the US who works with archival materials in any capacity, regardless of employment status or title. The survey was promoted to nearly 45,000 individual emails, with a bounce rate of 8.3%. Additionally, the survey was promoted with an open-access link. Combined, the direct email and open access link resulted in 5,699 responses.  

What can I expect from the All Archivists Survey?
Via the report, the survey results have been given some analysis and graphing by Ithaka S+R. Some of the data has been stratified at a greater level in order to address specific questions or concerns from the archival community. At the same time, the report is not the total sum of information gathered, much of which requires in-depth analysis and research. 


Archives Administrators Survey

What is the Archives Administrators Survey?
The Archives Administrators Survey attempted to survey the most senior leader and decision maker for repositories in the United States, regardless of the size of the archives. An archives administrator may oversee a large archives organization, an archives unit situated within a broader institution, or a small community archives collection. An archives administrator may manage employees, volunteers or, in some cases, may be the sole steward of an archival collection. The survey will provide the profession with baseline data about institutional characteristics, resources, strategic directions, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access issues. 

The Archives Administrators Survey was released March 1, 2022, using the Qualtrics platform. The data was collected and analyzed by Ithaka S+R and iteratively reviewed by the project lead team and working group. It will be shared in report form in winter2023.

What comes next?

  • The All Archivists Survey is one half of the survey project that is A*CENSUS II. The All Administrators Survey data is under current analysis by Ithaka S+R and will be released in winter 2023. 

  • The data from both surveys will be deposited in the SAA Dataverse and Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) for long-term preservation and access. The data will be available open access in 2023.

  • The A*CENSUS II Working Group will continue to collaborate with SAA’s Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment (CORDA) and other relevant groups on future opportunities related to data reuse and analysis specific to A*CENSUS II data. 

  • Reporting and analytical articles on the A*CENSUS II survey will be published in American Archivist across a number of issues, starting with issue 86.1 (Spring/Summer 2023), in a special section for A*CENSUS II. 

  • SAA will explore additional opportunities to disseminate the data and promote research with the data, in partnership with CORDA and other SAA groups, to develop a sustainable research support program for A*CENSUS II. 

  • Formal completion of the IMLS grant is in February 2023.

  • Final reporting, including next-step recommendations from the A*CENSUS II Working Group will be shared with SAA Council and SAA staff.

I have a question that’s not answered here. Who can I contact?
Contact servicecenter@archivists.org with additional questions.