Crisis, Disaster, and Tragedy Response Working Group


The Crisis, Disaster, and Tragedy Response Working Group was created in 2020.

The purpose of the Working Group is to maintain and update SAA’s Documenting in Times of Crisis: A Resource Kit; develop and provide immediate and ongoing resources and response assistance to archivists, allied cultural heritage professionals, and their communities in times of tragedies, disasters, or other crises; and build partnerships with organizations focused on relief efforts and cultural stewardship and preservation.

Working Group Size, Selection, and Length of Term

The Working Group consists of a maximum of 12 members, including two co-chairs. At least one member of the Working Group shall be an international representative (that is, an individual who lives and works outside of the United States). Working Group members serve staggered three-year terms with the possibility of reappointment. Individuals are eligible to serve a single three-year term as co-chair, with the final year of that term as past-co-chair. Co-chairs should ideally serve as a regular member of the Working Group prior to their appointment as co-chair. Although an individual may serve as Co-chair during future reappointments, consecutive reappointments to this role will not be made. The Vice President, on behalf of the Council and with the recommendation of the Working Group, makes new appointments and appoints the co-chairs.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Working Group has the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Ensure continuous review of the tragedy response toolkit, develop and solicit contributions for new resources, and update as appropriate.
  • Provide best practices and recommendations on collecting, documenting, and preserving materials related to crises, disasters, and tragedies.
  • Respond in a timely fashion to requests from SAA leadership or staff, archivists, and allied cultural heritage professionals.
  • Bring to the Council’s attention possible areas of collaboration with other organizations that are interested in response efforts and, under the Council’s direction and with approval, cooperate with such organizations in furthering SAA’s core values and strategic goals.


The Working Group works closely with its Council liaison, staff liaison, and the executive director to ensure that it is responsive to the needs of archivists, allied cultural heritage professionals, and their communities. In certain cases, when time is of the essence, the Working Group communicates directly with the SAA Executive Committee. The Working Group reports to the Council annually and u pon request.


Approved by the SAA Council, August 2020, November 2023.