Section VIII: Task Forces

A. Purpose

  1. The SAA Council establishes task forces to deal with matters of special concern to the Society and the profession. Task forces are given specific charges to study and evaluate certain issues, prepare reports and study documents, and, when deemed appropriate, make recommendations for action by the Council.
  2. The work of task forces usually occurs within a prescribed period of time specified by the Council in charging the task force, such as from one Annual Meeting to the next. The duration of the task force may be extended by Council action as needed to ensure that the work is completed.
  3. When a task force is disbanded, existing SAA bodies such as committees, sections, and roundtables may continue attention to the area it addressed. In some instances, a new SAA body may be formed to follow up the work of a task force.

B. Membership

  1. Members of task forces, including the chair(s), are appointed by the vice president / president-elect, and generally serve for the term of the task force. Membership on task forces is open to all SAA members. In making appointments to task forces, the vice president / president-elect gives special consideration to section and roundtable leaders and members who may have a particular interest in the matter of special concern. 
  2. Members of the Council may serve on task forces when their expertise is useful in the matter of special concern. Council members should not typically serve as task force chairs unless a compelling reason exists for them to do so. Task forces will have a Council liaison appointed to the task force when the task force membership does not include at least one Council member.
  3. A minimum of one half of the members of any task force are appointed from SAA members or others who are not currently serving on the SAA Council.
  4. As needed, individuals who are not SAA members but who have specific knowledge or skills may be appointed to an SAA task force.
  5. Generally SAA staff members do not serve as task force members, but they may be assigned to provide staff support to task forces.
  6. To encourage participation in the work of a task force by those who seek to gain expertise in that area, interns may be appointed to task forces generally for the duration of the task force, but not to exceed 18 months. Interns, who are appointed by the vice president / president-electt in consultation with the chair, serve as nonvoting members for a term of one year, and are expected to attend the SAA Annual Meeting and assist in the work of the group throughout the year.
  7. The process for the removal of a non-participating task force member is specified in the Policy for Removing a Non-Participating Member from a Council-Appointed Group.

C. Consultation and Reporting

  1. Task force are expected to communicate with other SAA bodies engaged in similar undertakings. In the course of their investigations, task forces ordinarily are expected to communicate by direct means, or to use the Society’s electronic announcement lists and website to alert section and roundtable leaders, or the membership when appropriate, of special matters that they are considering that may affect SAA policy, organizational structure, or new program initiatives. Member comments will be considered by task forces and reported to the Council.
  2. Task forces work closely with their Council liaisons and the Executive Director to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of the Society as outlined in their charge. Communications with the Council are directed through both Council liaison and executive director.
  3. Each task force is expected to report progress towards fulfilling its assigned charge for every Council meeting during the term specified for the task force. Task force chairs must meet the timeline specified by the executive director for submitting agenda items and supporting documents for each meeting of the Council. All task force reports must use the Council Report Template.  A task force’s final report should be identified as such.
  4. Because of the limited term of appointment, task forces are not expected to submit annual reports to the Council on the schedule specified for other SAA component groups.

D. Meetings

  1. Funding for task force meetings, if available, is typically stipulated in the Council’s charge to the task force. The standard expectation is that the bulk, if not all, of a task force’s work will be done utilizing emails, conference calls (supported by the SAA Office), and free tools. A task force whose term extends over an Annual Meeting is encouraged to request space (on a timetable established and publicized by the executive director) and hold an in-person meeting at the conference hotel, travel and accommodations for which are the responsibility of task force members.
  2. SAA funding for additional in-person meetings not specified in Council’s charge to a task force is not typically available, but requests for such funding may be discussed with the task force’s Council liaison and the executive director.

Adopted by Council: June 1991
Revised: June 1992, August 2007, July 2013, November 2014

Index of Past Task Force Reports

Archival Compensation Task Force

I. Purpose

The Archival Compensation Task Force is responsible for 1) identifying issues related to archival compensation, including benefits, salary negotiations, working conditions, etc.; 2) studying and evaluating archival compensation in its entirety using past, current, and new data generated on the subject; 3) creating and disseminating an archival compensation survey to SAA members; and 4) exploring the feasibility of creating a standing body within SAA to liaise and communicate with non-archival entities (such as O-Net, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, and others) to ensure that SAA continues advocacy efforts and activities, including research and documentation pertaining to these groups.  

II. Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Task Force is charged for a two-year period beginning in February 2020, with a final report with recommendations due to the Council no later than January 2022. The Task Force will comprise eight SAA members (one of whom will serve as chair) and two non-members (such as compensation and recruitment professionals). Included among the SAA members appointed will be a member of the Business Archives Section, the Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment (CORDA), the Independent Archivists Section, and the Student and New Archives Professionals Section. Task Force members will be appointed by the SAA Vice President/President-Elect.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Task Force will prepare a written status report for the Council’s spring and fall meetings, and will prepare for Council consideration at its fall/winter 2022 meeting a final written report with recommendations. 

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill its purpose as described above, the Task Force is charged to:

  • Research current best practices and resources for compensation, including conducting a literature review of allied (i.e. library, records management, museums, IT) and non-archives-adjacent professions.
  • Conduct an SAA membership compensation package survey.   
  • Collaborate with allied organizations to ensure that current or recommended policies and practices reflect varied needs and strategies for cooperation among various archival institutions.
  • Create and/or compile material for the SAA website documenting professional policies and best practices for salary-related topics, such as compensation by region/institution, benefits, negotiation practices, labor statistics, etc. 
  • Determine whether sufficient need exists to justify the effort and costs associated with establishing a standing body to serve as an Archival Compensation Advocacy Committee. If the group wishes to propose creation of a standing body, its recommendations shall include the following:  1) how such a standing body might be structured, staffed, and governed, with administratively and financially sustainable models for national-, regional-, and state-based structures; 2) how such a standing body might be financed and supported; and 3) how such a standing body might interact with other SAA groups and with external groups.

V. Meetings

The Task Force will carry out its charge primarily via electronic mail, conference calls, online meetings, and face-to-face meetings held in conjunction with the SAA Annual Meeting. Should the Task Force determine that an additional face-to-face meeting would be beneficial, it must apply to the Council (through the Executive Office) for funding.

 

Approved by the SAA Council, December 2019. 

SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force to Revise the Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries (Affiliated Group)

I. Purpose

The SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force to Revise the Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries (hereafter “Task Force”) is responsible for reviewing and revising a Joint Statement that was last released by the two organizations in 2009. The Task Force should recommend any and all revisions that would bring the Statement up to date, and should consider two points raised by the SAA Committee on Public Policy:

  • Born-digital materials. The last revision of the Joint Statement (2009) was approved prior to the growth of the use of digital forensics software in cultural heritage institutions. (See, for example, Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, by Kirschenbaum, Ovenden, and Redwine, 2010, and the development of the revised OAIS reference model, 2012.) Software used by creators often collects additional information about the document without the creator being aware of its collection. This information can be retrieved by the use of digital forensics software. The Committee suggests that input on the Joint Statement be collected from individuals who are familiar with the capture of born-digital documents to ensure that the general tenets of the Joint Statement are revised to adapt to an increasingly digital world.
  • Existence of research materials. Point 2, regarding Intellectual Accessibility, states that a repository “should inform researchers… of the collections in its custody…. The existence of original research materials should be reported, even if they are not fully accessible.” However, Point 1 on Responsibility states that a repository “should not… conceal the existence of any body of materials… unless required to do so by law, institutional access policy, or donor or purchase stipulation.” This last qualifying phrase established a seemingly contradictory standard wherein legal, institutional, or donor restrictions could eclipse a researcher’s right to basic knowledge about the existence of materials as stipulated in Point 2. The Committee suggests that the Joint Statement be revised to clarify this issue.

The Statement will be submitted for approval by the executive bodies of SAA and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and ACRL’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS). The Task Force will recommend a plan for periodic review of the Statement at the time the Statement is submitted to SAA and ACRL/RBMS for approval.

II. Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Task Force is charged for a period that begins in September 2017 and continues through the August 2019 SAA Annual Meeting. The Task Force will include six members, with an equal number of members appointed by SAA and ACRL according to their normal appointment procedures. A Task Force member may be a member of both organizations but will be appointed to the Task Force representing one organization only.  In addition to the committee members, ex officio members and liaisons may be appointed by each organization according to its normal procedures.

Due consideration will be given by each organization to appointing members who have the requisite knowledge and experience in access to research materials in archives and special collections libraries, and particularly those with knowledge of changes in this area since the 2009 Statement was issued.

One member appointed by each organization will be designated to serve as a Task Force co-chair. The co-chairs will be responsible for convening Task Force meetings, leading Task Force work, ensuring that deadlines are met, following procedures of their respective organizations, and communicating as needed or required with the executive bodies and staffs of their respective organizations. 

III. Reporting Procedures

The Task Force co-chairs will report to the SAA and ACRL/RBMS executive bodies according to the following schedule:

  • Interim report at the January 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting and the January 2019 SAA Council conference call meeting.
  • Final report at the June 2019 ALA Annual Conference and the August 2019 SAA Annual Meeting.

More frequent reports are welcome but not required.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill its purpose as described above, the Task Force is specifically charged to:

  • Consult broadly with the archives and special collections communities to ensure that the revised Statement reflects current and emerging practices relating to provision of access to research materials.
  • Conduct one or more public comment periods to solicit input on draft version(s) of the Statement, and address public comments in all reports to the SAA and ACRL/RBMS executive bodies.

V. Meetings

The Task Force will carry out its charge primarily via electronic mail, conference calls, and online meetings in accordance with the meeting policies of the respective organizations.  Face-to-face meetings may also be scheduled during the SAA Annual Meeting (pending space availability) and the midwinter and annual meetings of the American Library Association. Task Force members will be encouraged but not required to attend face-to-face meetings in person.

Minutes will be prepared for each face-to-face meeting and any conference call or online meeting that meets policy definitions for a meeting, and the minutes will be posted within thirty days to the public websites of the respective organizations.

Approved by the SAA Council in August 2017. 

Task Force to Review the Fellows Selection Process (disbanded)

I. Purpose

The purpose of the task force is to review the process of selecting SAA Fellows and recommend any appropriate changes, clarifications, or guidelines that the task force thinks are warranted in administering this program in the future.

II. Size, Composition, Selection, Length of Term

The task force will comprise seven individuals and will include the 2019 chair of the Committee on the Selection of SAA Fellows, two current or past members of the Committee who have also served as SAA President, two former Council members, and two Fellows who have not served as SAA President.

The task force will be appointed by August 12, 2019, and its term will end with submission of a final report and recommendations on December 9, 2019.

III. Duties and Responsibilities

The task force will review the questions put forward by the 2019 Committee on the Selection of SAA Fellows as well as the composition of the committee as a whole, and make recommendations to the SAA Council about any changes or additional guidelines to be included in the Committee’s charge going forward.

IV. Reporting

The task force will prepare a final report with recommendations to the Council by December 31, 2019.

 

Approved by the SAA Council, August 2019.

Tragedy Response Initiative Task Force (disbanded)

I. Purpose

The Tragedy Response Initiative Task Force is responsible for 1) creating and/or compiling material for ready accessibility by archivists who are facing a sudden tragedy and 2) exploring the feasibility of creating a standing body within SAA that would update documentation as needed and serve as a volunteer tragedy response team.

II. Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Task Force is charged for a two-year period that begins in January 2018, with a final report and recommendations for the Council no later than January 2020.

The Task Force will comprise eight SAA members, one of whom will serve as chair. Task Force members will be appointed by the SAA Vice President/President-Elect.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Task Force chair will prepare a written status report for each of the Council’s spring and fall meetings, and will prepare for Council consideration at its fall/winter 2020 meeting a final written report with recommendations. Should the Task Force recommend that a standing group be created, it should include in its final report a draft charge/description for that group.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill its purpose as described above, the Task Force is specifically charged to:

  • Research current best practices and resources for archival tragedy response, including interviewing similar, successful programs (i.e., Disaster Planning and Recovery Subcommittee, AID National Heritage Responders).
  • Collaborate with allied organizations to ensure that policies and practices reflect varied needs and strategies for cooperation among various archival institutions.
  • Create and/or compile material for the SAA website documenting professional policies and best practices for collecting strategies, management, preservation, and provision of access to memorial collections, including templated forms that are easily adapted.
  • Determine whether sufficient need exists to justify the effort and costs associated with establishing a standing body to serve as a Tragedy Response Volunteer Team.
  • Determine how such a standing body might be structured, staffed, and governed, with administratively and financially sustainable models for national-, regional-, and state-based structures.
  • Determine how such a standing body might be financed and supported.
  • Propose how such a standing body might interact with other SAA groups and with external groups.

V. Meetings

The Task Force will carry out its charge primarily via electronic mail, conference calls, online meetings, and face-to-face meetings held in conjunction with the SAA Annual Meeting. Should the Task Force determine that an additional face-to-face meeting would be beneficial, it must apply to the Council (through the Executive Office) for funding. 

Approved by the SAA Council, November 2017.
Disbanded March 2020, per end of task force term.