Mark Myers, Candidate for Council

Professional Experience: Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives: Electronic Records Archivist, 2008–present; Electronic Records Manager, 2001–2008. Lorman Educational Service: Speaker/Trainer, 2004–2009. Alabama Department of Archives and History: Electronic Records Archivist, 1999–2001. Auburn University Library: Graduate Research Assistant, Reference Department, 1998.

Education: BA, Secondary Education, University of Kentucky, 1993. Completed most hours toward an MA in History with a nine-hour specialization in archival studies, Auburn University 1998–2001.

Professional Activities: Society of American Archivists: Member since 1998; Government Records Section: Chair, 2012–Present; Vice Chair, 2011–2012. Electronic Records Section: Steering Committee, 2009–2012; Chair, 2008–2009; Vice Chair, 2007–2008; Steering Committee, 2003–2006. Program Committee, 2007–2008. Midwest Archives Conference: Member since 2007; Program Committee, 2010–2011; Local Arrangements Committee, 2007–2008. Kentucky Council on Archives: Member since 2001; Board Member, 2009–2010; Chair, 2008–2009; Vice Chair, 2007–2008; Treasurer, 2004–2007. ARMA International, Frankfort-Bluegrass Chapter: Member, 2002–2011; President, 2007–2009; Vice President, 2006–2007. Society of Alabama Archivists: Member, 1998–2003.

Selected Presentations, Publications and Awards: Have given several presentations and workshops on topics related to electronic records management and digital preservation at national, regional, and statewide associations. Paid speaker for Lorman Educational services conducting workshops on “Document Retention and Destruction.” Guest columnist for the “Electronic Currents” column in the Midwest Archives Conference newsletter. ARMA, Frankfort-Bluegrass chapter member of the year 2008 and 2009.

Selected Advisory Committees: Kentucky State Historical Records Advisory Board, Education coordinator, 2010–present. (Kentucky) Electronic Records Working Group, 2004–present. Pass the Word Advisory Board, 2012–present.

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Question posed by Nominating Committee: SAA is not only growing in numbers, but also in constituencies—students and new professionals, diverse communities, emerging functional needs—all clamoring to be recognized and have specific needs addressed.  What challenges are posed for the association and how do we best address them?

As a digital preservation archivist I work on the cutting edge of the profession, constantly dealing with new media, formats, and tools while at the same time trying to stay grounded in the traditions and principals of the archival profession. This is similar to leadership in any professional association, especially one as diverse as SAA. To survive moving forward we need an association that is willing to try new things. For example, new ways of holding meetings leveraging new technologies to overcome the cost of travel and attending meetings, as well as engaging a new generation of young people comfortable with operating in a digital environment. We need to look at new ways of communicating and connecting with members of all of SAA’s communities to serve the needs of the membership while at the same time controlling costs and remaining a viable and relevant voice to our members. New ways of advocating for the profession, not just to secure funding but to ensure the position of archives in the current environment moving forward and to attract new people to the profession.

At the same time we need to remain aware of the history and traditions of SAA and find ways to honor the past while looking forward. Just because we are in a changing paradigm of technology, budgets and funding, and roles and responsibilities does not mean that the past cannot guide us. Records are still records even if the formats have changed. Archives still protect and make accessible the collective memory or our institutions and communities even if the ways in which we do that are changing. Face-to-face annual meetings still provide tremendous opportunities for networking, building relationships, and sharing experiences. Last year I missed my first annual meeting in ten years and it hurt. But that does not mean that there is no room for improvement and change. We need to keep the things that work and not change simply for the sake of change. But we have to keep moving forward and evolving before we are left behind.

I have been working in the archives profession for over 12 years, coming to grips with the fact that I am a “middle-aged” archivist as it were. In that time I have worked in an academic library and university archives beginning as a student and later a full time professional working for two state government archives. As treasurer, and later chair, of the Kentucky Council on Archives I have had the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of the archives profession and coordinate the workings of a state association, a microcosm of a national association like SAA. Most of all I have an enthusiasm for SAA, a desire to it succeed, and a willingness to try new things.