Section XIII: Working Groups

A. Purpose

  1. Working groups of the Council may be created by the Council as it determines a need for a standing body of experts in a particular issue area. Working groups differ from standing committees in that 1) they are populated with acknowledged experts in a given topic area and 2) their members may be reappointed indefinitely so that their expertise remains available to the Council. Working groups differ from task forces in that their charge is ongoing and not (necessarily) time-limited. Working Groups are advisory to the Council and may be created and disbanded by the Council as appropriate.
  2. Working groups are responsible for the following:
    1. Responding in a timely fashion to requests from the Council for background information and recommendations on matters relating to the group’s area of expertise.
    2. Scanning the environment and tracking issues that may be of interest or concern to archivists, and recommending (either proactively or in response to a query from the Council) whether SAA should respond to an issue.
    3. Preparing drafts (for Executive Committee or Council approval) of background or position papers, statements, and/or other documents relating to the group’s issue(s) area.
    4. Contributing to the education of SAA members and staff on the set of issues assigned to them.
    5. Bringing to the Council’s attention areas in which collaboration with other organizations may advance SAA’s efforts related to the set of issues assigned to them.
  3. Working groups may have short-term and mid-term measurable tasks and assignments; they always have a long-term advisory role.

B. Membership

  1. Working groups are composed of acknowledged experts in the issue areas assigned to them. In recognition that the type of expertise needed on a working group may be in short supply, there is no set term length for participation; members serve at the pleasure of the SAA Council. Nonmembers of SAA may be appointed, based on their expertise.
  2. Working groups have no fixed size. The Council may adjust membership according to the availability of expertise and the group’s anticipated workload. The vice president/president-elect, on behalf of the Council and with the recommendation of the working group, makes new appointments and terminates appointments, including those of the chair(s), as needed.
  3. Unlike other positions within SAA, there is no prohibition against a member of the Council serving on a working group. Sitting members of Council do not typically serve as chair of a working group unless a compelling reason exists for them to do so.
  4. To encourage participation in the work of a working group by those who seek to gain expertise in that area, interns may be appointed to working groups. Interns, who are appointed by the vice president/president-elect 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.
  5. The process for the removal of a non-participating working group member is specified in the Policy for Removing a Non-Participating Member from a Council-Appointed Group.

C. Consultation and Reporting

  1. Working groups work closely with their Council liaisons and the executive director to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of the Council. In certain cases, when time is of the essence, working groups may communicate directly with the Executive Committee.
  2. Working groups, like all SAA groups, are required to present an annual report for review by the Council. The chair is responsible for coordinating the submission of an annual report, which must be filed with the SAA executive director within ninety days of the close of the Annual Meeting. Annual reports must use the Council Report Template. The annual report should be a brief summary of the working group’s activities in the preceding year and may raise issues or questions about which the working group desires Council feedback.

D. Meetings and External Resources

  1. Working groups typically meet in person at the Annual Meeting. The chair prepares and distributes in advance an agenda for the meeting. Working group chairs request space (on a timetable established and publicized by the executive director) for an  in-person meeting at the conference hotel, travel and accommodations for which are the responsibility of working group members.
  2. The standard expectation is that the a working group’s work outside of the annual meeting will be done utilizing emails, conference calls (supported by the SAA office) and free tools. SAA support for in-person mid-year meetings of working groups is severely restricted due to the limited availability of financial resources. Working group chairs should discuss requests for such funding with their Council liaison and the executive director.
  3. If a working group wishes to seek resources (whether cash or in kind) from any source outside SAA, Executive Committee approval must be obtained in every instance before approaching the source. Proposals should be routed through the executive director and Council liaison, with sufficient time for consideration by the Executive Committee, which will respond within thirty days.

Adopted by the Council: January 2012
Revised: July 2013

CoSA/NAGARA/RAAC/SAA Joint Working Group on Issues and Awareness (Affiliated Group)

I. Purpose

The Joint Working Group coordinates efforts and initiatives of the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), the Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in areas of common concern and action, including: 1) coordinating action to address public policy and legislative concerns for the archives and records management profession, 2) cooperating on efforts to raise awareness of the value of archives and records management, and 3) coordinating strategies for the preservation of and access to archival records throughout the United States, its territories, and the District of Columbia.

II. Size, Composition, Selection, and Length of Terms

The Joint Working Group consists of eight voting members. Each organization selects two members to serve on the Joint Working Group for a renewable two-year staggered term after each organization’s annual meeting.

  • The SAA Vice President appoints the SAA representatives, generally one individual serving on the SAA Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy and recommended by the chair of that committee and one individual serving on the SAA Committee on Public Awareness and recommended by the chair of that committee.
  • The CoSA representatives shall be appointed by the President of CoSA.
  • The NAGARA representatives shall be appointed by the Board of NAGARA.
  • The RAAC representatives shall be appointed by the RAAC Steering Committee.

The Joint Working Group shall select its chair or shared method of leadership annually by a majority vote.  The chair selection will be reviewed and confirmed by the President/Chair of each organization.

A second group of ex-officio non-voting members, not to exceed four people, may be added to the Joint Working Group by majority vote of the Joint Working Group for a one-year renewable term.  These members shall either:

  • Represent an allied organization with an interest in supporting and coordinating with the advocacy and awareness issues of the archives community. Not more than one non-voting member can be selected from each organization.
  • Be emeritus members whose contributions to archival advocacy and awareness, service to the Joint Working Group, and/or connections with federal officials and legislators would make their continued contributions to the Working Group beneficial.

III. Reporting

Joint Working Group members are responsible for reporting to their leadership group according to the standards of each organization.

Guidelines and procedures for reviewing and providing a streamlined approval process among the four organizations shall be developed by the Working Group and shall be approved by the boards of the four organizations prior to implementation.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

The Joint Working Group creates an annual work plan that identifies tactics, communication with respective boards, and development of broad networks of allied organizations. The plan is approved annually by the boards of the four organizations.

The Joint Working Group focuses on issues, trends, and positions in the following areas:

  • Ongoing issues, such as existing federal programs, budgets, and strategic initiatives (e.g., National Archives and Records Administration, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services); federal budget implications; and federal legislation and regulation implications.
  • Federal block grant funding for archives.
  • Standards and practices for records access, preservation, and management; transparency; and ethics.
  • State and local legislation and budget issues (such as threats to core programs, institution closures, funding for initiatives to improve access to records, ethical breaches).
  • Public and internally focused awareness and outreach efforts for promoting the value of archives and archivists.

V. Meetings

The Joint Working Group determines an appropriate meeting schedule to complete its annual plan. Funding for conference calls is supported equally by the four organizations. Other funding for in-person meetings or products and initiatives of the Joint Working Group is determined collaboratively by the leaders of the four organizations.

VI. Staffing

The organizations with permanent staff shall provide, on a rotating annual basis, support to conduct meetings, coordinate note taking, and assist in program implementation.

 

Approved by the SAA Council, October 2014. Revisions approved by the sponsoring organizations and the Joint Working Group, October 13, 2020.

Crisis, Disaster, and Tragedy Response Working Group

Purpose

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 nine 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. 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.

Reporting

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.

Cultural Heritage Working Group (disbanded)

Disbanded with thanks by the SAA Council, November 2018.

The Cultural Heritage Working Group will take the lead in fostering discussion, clarifying issues, and investigating a range of alternative approaches to managing, preserving, and providing access to cultural property, given the T and responsibilities of cultural groups and stakeholders and archivists' interest in providing equal and open access to all. This group will

  • Advise the SAA Council, officers, staff, and members concerning cultural property and cultural sensitivity issues;
  • Prepare draft statements for SAA to issue;
  • Develop positions for SAA concerning cultural property and cultural sensitivity issues;
  • Represent SAA on cultural property and cultural sensitivity issues at meetings and in professional discussions; and
  • Communicate and collaborate with all relevant SAA and external (ALA, AAM, etc.) groups.

The group will submit a work plan with specific activities, outcomes, and timelines for the Council's review and approval at its May 2010 meeting.

The establishment of the Cultural Heritage Working Group represents the beginning of SAA's attempts to open a professional, national, and international discussion regarding the presence of cultural material in repositories. Some challenges in establishing the best practices for the culturally responsive care and use of Native American archival materials are illustrated in a specific discussion of Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. This Working Group broadens the discussion to include other repositories, professions, and cultures that face similar challenges when establishing best practices.

Adopted by the SAA Council: August 10, 2009
Revised: January 2013 
Disbanded: November 2018.

Dictionary Working Group

The Dictionary Working Group maintains and updates Dictionary of Archives Terminology, which has its basis in A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology (SAA, 2005).

I. Purpose:

The Working Group's purpose is to establish and maintain mechanisms and procedures for allowing periodic updates and contributions of new content to the Dictionary and to ensure that this important resource adheres to the highest quality professional standards.

II. Working Group Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Working Group consists of nine members, including one representative from the Publications Board. Working Group members serve staggered four-year terms with the possibility of reappointment. The Vice President, on behalf of the Council and with the recommendation of the Working Group, makes new appointments and appoints the chair.

III. Duties and Responsibilities:

The Working Group has the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement effective mechanisms and procedures for soliciting contributions of new content to the Dictionary.
  • Develop and implement effective mechanisms and procedures to ensure periodic review and update of Dictionary content as appropriate.
  • Vet content for accuracy and consistency before addition to the Dictionary.

IV. Reporting:

The Working Group reports to the Council annually and upon request.

Adopted by the SAA Council: August 22, 2011
Revised: August 2012, January 2014

Intellectual Property Working Group

The Working Group on Intellectual Property was created as a working group of the Council in May 2001. Intellectual property issues are complex and require a special expertise. They often require a very quick response, such as when SAA is asked to join litigation or respond to draft legislation. The Working Group's purpose is to make sure that timely expertise is readily available to the Council. The Working Group responds to requests for assistance from the Council, tracks intellectual property issues of concern to archivists, and drafts for Council approval responses or position papers as needed.

Working Group Size, Selection and Length of Term:

There is no fixed size to the Working Group. In response to requests from the Working Group, the Council adjusts membership according to the availability of expertise and the anticipated workload of the group. The Vice President, on behalf of the Council and with the recommendation of the Working Group, makes new appointments. There is no prohibition against a member of the Council serving on the Working Group.

In recognition that the type of expertise needed on the Working Group is in short supply in the Society, there is no set length of term for participation; members serve at the pleasure of the Council.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The Working Group has the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Respond in a timely fashion to requests from the Council for background information and recommendations on matters relating to intellectual property.
  • In order to be able to respond in a knowledgeable manner, track intellectual property issues that could be of concern to archivists.
  • Prepare drafts for Council approval of possible position papers, statements, and other documents relating to intellectual property.
  • Contribute to the further education of SAA members and staff in intellectual property matters.
  • Bring to the attention of the Council possible areas of fruitful collaboration with other organizations that are interested in intellectual property and, under Council direction or with its approval, cooperate with such organizations in furthering SAA's interests.

Reporting:

The Working Group works closely with its Council Liaison and the Executive Director in order to ensure that it is responsive to the needs of the Council. In certain cases, when time is of the essence, the Working Group communicates directly with the Executive Committee.

Adopted by the SAA Executive Committee: September 29, 2006