Mark Myers, Candidate for Nominating Committee

Professional Experience:  Electronic Records Archivist, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, 2001–present. Electronic Records Archivist, Alabama Department for Archives and History, 1998–2001. Speaker (Document Retention and Destruction), Lorman Educational Services, 2004–2010. Graduate Student work at the Auburn University Archives, Reference Department, Auburn University Library.

Education: BA, Secondary Education, Social Studies, University of Kentucky, 1993.

Professional Activities: Society of American Archivists: Member since 1998. Program Committee Member, 2008. Electronic Records Section, Steering Committee Member, 2009–present, Chair, Electronic Records Section, 2008–2009. Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Electronic Records Section, 2007–2008. Steering Committee Member, 2003–2006. Issues and Advocacy Roundtable, Member since 2009. Government Records Section, Member since 1998. Midwest Archives Conference: Member since 2006. Program Committee Member, 2011. Local Arrangements Committee Member, 2008. Kentucky Council on Archives: Member since 2001, Chair, 2008–2009, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, 2007–2008, Treasurer, 2004–2006. ARMA: Workgroup Member, Website Records Management Guidelines, 2008–2009. Frankfort-Bluegrass (KY) Chapter, President, 2007–2008, Vice President, 2005–2006, Chapter Member of Year 2008 and 2009. Other Activities: Presented papers and moderated programs at SAA, Midwest Archives Conference, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, ESRI International Users Conference, Imaging Science and Technology Archiving Conference, Electronic College and University Records (ECURE), Society of Alabama Archivists, and the Kentucky Council on Archives.

Question posed by the Nominating Committee: As SAA celebrates its 75th Anniversary, what does it mean to be a SAA leader in the 21st century?

Because the Society of American Archivists serves, first and foremost, to support and promote the archival profession, its leaders should be enthusiastic advocates for archives and archivists. They need to enjoy what they do and seek to convey that feeling to others, both inside and outside the profession. SAA leaders must be able to help other archivists see the importance in what they do; to bring them together to share knowledge and experiences; and to look for creative new ways to raise the profile of archives and archivists in the rest of the world. SAA leaders should be able to explain the work of archivists and demonstrate its value to people outside the profession. They need to have the “elevator” speech in hand and, more importantly, a willingness to share it with anyone and everyone who will listen.

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, archives and archivists face many challenges: dwindling budgets; changing technologies; losing knowledge and leadership as one generation steps down and a new one comes along; and attracting new people to the profession. The common thread that runs through all of the challenges is that of identity, of proving the worth and value of archives and archivists. Archivists need to justify the worth of their programs to stakeholders as they fight with every other part of the organization for funding. In the wake of digital technologies, archivists lose one of primary motivations for sending records to the archives, boxes that occupy physical space. Add to that the loss of status as authorities to IT managers and legal professionals and again, archivists are constantly challenged to prove their value as experts in preservation of information. In an age where anyone can sit in the comfort of his or her own home and explore the world on the Internet, archivists need to rise above the countless options to demonstrate the value of their collections to the general public to get them using material that archives house. Finally, we need to sell the worth and value of archives to attract young people into the profession.

To meet all of these challenges SAA needs leaders who will listen to its members, who will help mold and shape the identity of the profession, who recognize and can build on past successes of the profession, and who are forward-thinking enough to try new and exciting ways keep promoting the value and importance of archivists to the rest of the world.