Geoffrey Huth, Candidate for Council

Professional Experience: New York State Archives: Director, Government Records Services, 2006‒present; Manager, Records Advisory Services, 2004‒2006; Manager, Records Service Development, 1999‒2004; Regional Advisory Officer, Region 4, 1993‒1999; Grants Administrator, 1991‒1993. Albany-Schenectady-Schoharie BOCES: Records Management Coordinator, 1990‒1991. University at Albany: Field Archivist, Capital District Labor History Project, 1989‒1990.

Education: MLS, University at Albany, 1989; MA, English, Syracuse, 1986; BA, English, Vanderbilt, 1982; completed most hours towards an MA in American History, University at Albany, 1989‒1990.

Professional Activities: SAA: Member since 1988; Digital Archives Continuing Education Task Force, Chair, 2010‒2011. Publications Board, 2009‒present. Program Committee, 2008‒2009. American Archives Month Task Force, 2006‒2010. Government Records Section: Chair, 2005‒2006; Vice Chair, 2004‒2005; Steering Committee, 2004‒2007. Electronic Records Section: Chair, 2002‒2003; Vice Chair, 2001‒2002; Steering Committee, 2003‒2008. Key Contact Representative, 1996‒1999. Host Committee, 1991‒1992. Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference: Chair 2005‒2007; New York State Caucus Chair, 2000‒2004; Distinguished Service Award Committee Chair, 2007‒2009; Nominations and Elections Committee Chair, 2008‒2009; Program Committee Co-chair, 2004‒2005; Local Arrangements Co-chair, 1997‒1998; Program Committee, 1997‒1998. Capital Area Archivists of New York: President, 1991‒1993; Vice-President, 1990‒1991; Membership Chair, 1993‒1998; Newsletter Editor, 1991‒1995. Lake Ontario Archives Conference (now New York Archives Conference): Chair, 1997‒1998; Conference Co-chair, 1992‒1993; Program Committee, 1996‒1997, 1999‒2001. ARMA, Albany Chapter: President, 1993‒1996; Program Committee, 1992‒1999; Newsletter Editor, 1992‒1999; Region VII Program Committee, 1995‒1996.

Selected Presentations and Publications: Gave hundreds of workshops and presentations on a large variety of topics in archives and records management, over 200 presentations at conferences of national, regional, and statewide associations, including the SAA webinar “Preservation Options of PDF” and the SAA “Basic Electronic Records” workshop. Publications include Preparing for the Worst: Managing Records Disasters (2004, co-author); Conducting Needs Assessments for New Recordkeeping Systems (2003); Indexing Minutes (2003); Managing Imaging and Micrographics Projects (2003); Managing E-Mail Effectively (2002); Retention and Disposition of Records (2000); Preliminary Guide to Manuscripts and Archives in the University Libraries, University at Albany (1990, co-author); and articles in Labor History, Hudson Valley Regional Review, New York Archives, Encyclopedia of Local History, and New Skills for a Digital Era.

Selected Advisory Committees: Editorial Board, New York Archives magazine, 2001‒present; State Electronic Records Committee Task Force, 2008‒2010; New York State Local Government Cyber Security Committee, 2005‒2008; ARMA Glossary Task Force, 2004‒2005; Managing and Preserving Geospatial Electronic Records, 2003‒2005; Electronic Records Guidelines Drafting Group, New York State Office for Technology, 2000, 2003; New York State Forum for Information Resource Management, 2000‒2002.

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Questions posed by the Nominating Committee: Taking into account SAA’s strategic priorities, in which specific initiatives would you take a leadership role? How would you go about implementing these given the competing priorities of the organization while remaining responsive to members and their needs?

My most important role on Council would clearly be to promote SAA’s first priority among equals: technology. Much of my professional life has focused on promoting the acceptance and use of technology for creating, accessing, and using information, so it only follows that that would be my focus on Council. Why technology? Because I believe that technology, rather than being dehumanizing, is a powerful force to bring people together, that the connection to people is what is important in archives, and that electronic records afford us transformative ways of dealing with information that are themselves awe-inspiring and that are filled with the human spirit as much as any document written on vellum hundreds of years ago.

Technology needs to be a focus of SAA for two clear and important reasons: First, the organization needs technology to hold our diverse and far-flung membership together and to allow us that rich means of communication and access to information that the digital age has brought us. Second, SAA has a responsibility to ensure the profession remains relevant to the greater world and to help its members be so as well.

SAA has three large priorities to accomplish in an organization that is relatively small, but addressing technology is essential to our survival, as an organization and also a profession, so we have to make time for it. I’ve worked on this issue already in many of my roles in SAA. For instance, I chaired SAA Digital Archives Continuing Education Task Force, which devised a plan for providing members with a systematic way of training themselves to fully be digital archivists. I recognize that I was only a part of that effort. I know it’s not one person alone who makes something happen; it is only through joint effort that we can bring about fundamental change.