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 (launching in October 2021) and the Archives Administrators Survey (launching 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 14 member working group of 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 will survey every self-identified archivist/archives and community memory worker in the U.S. 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.

When is the All Archivists Survey launching? 

Mid-October 2021

Who should take the All Archivists Survey?

Every person who works with archives or memory work in any capacity is encouraged to take the survey. 

  • I do not work directly with archives materials, but I support or manage archivists; should I take the survey? 


  • My primary position is not “archivist,” but I do sometimes work with archival materials; should I take the survey? 


  • I volunteer my time to work with archives, but it’s not a paid position; should I take the survey? 


  • I am studying to become an archivist, but I haven’t had an archives job yet; should I take the survey? 


How can I take the survey?

SAA is partnering with several organizations to build a confidential contact list of archivists and memory workers. This will allow us to directly invite many archivists and memory workers by sending an email invitation with a unique survey link to their inbox in October. Survey links sent directly to an email address are unique and should not be forwarded to any other person.

Our goal is to include as many archivists and memory workers in the U.S. in the All Archivists Survey as possible. Since the contact list we are building with partner organizations precludes individuals outside of those organizations, we will also make an open-access survey link available. The open-access survey link will be posted on this page when the survey is launched in October. We encourage anyone interested to share the open-access survey link with their network.

Can I stop and later continue the survey from the same point?

Yes, though the functionality depends on how the survey was initiated. 

  • For respondents who use the survey link sent to their email address: If you use the survey link sent to your email address, your response will save on a page-by-page basis, and you will be able to leave the survey and resume at a later time provided you use the same link to access the survey.

  • For respondents who use the open-access link: If you use the open-access link, your responses will be saved automatically, as long as you use the same internet browser, so you may exit and re-enter the survey as many times as you wish. You will not be able to start the survey on one device and continue on another.

Can I back up and change my responses?

No. Because the survey may branch based on your responses, allowing you to back up and change your responses may cause undesired behavior in our survey software. Thus, there will not be a back button located in the online questionnaire.

Can I skip survey questions if I don’t want to answer them?

Yes, you can skip almost any question on the survey that you don’t want to answer. The only exceptions are filter questions at the beginning of the survey that confirm you are part of the population who should take the survey. Filter questions help keep the survey secure by preventing bots from taking the survey and making sure not to waste the time of respondents who should not be part of the survey sample. Data that you do provide will be used to make recommendations for improvements, but each respondent can choose how much information they are willing to share.

Can I skip answering the demographic questions?

Yes. You can skip any question on the survey that you do not feel comfortable answering. Additionally, for each demographic question, you will have the explicit option to select that you prefer not to answer.  

How long is the survey?

The estimated time for completion is 30 minutes. The length of time to complete the survey will vary depending on how you answer certain questions. For example, there are certain skip patterns built into the survey that will activate depending on individual responses to specific questions. The skip patterns may decrease the time it takes to respond to the survey for some participants.

Is the survey compatible with mobile devices?

Yes, the look and feel is responsive to device type. The survey platform is able to detect your device and automatically adjust the questionnaire into an appropriate format.

How can I help share the survey with others?

Share information about the All Archivists Survey with archivists and memory workers in your network by sharing the open-access link with them or posting on social media. Do not forward the unique link sent to your email address. When posting on social media, use the hashtags: #ACENSUSII and/or #AllArchivistsSurvey

I have a question that’s not answered here. Who can I contact?

You can contact makala.skinner@ithaka.org with questions.