Nicole Saylor, Candidate for Council


Nicole Saylor

Head of the Archive, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

“I’m always interested in pursuing new ideas that make the archival document more inclusive and living.”



  • Head of the Archive, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 2012–present.
  • Head, Digital Research & Publishing, University of Iowa Libraries, 20072012.
  • Archivist, Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 20042006.


  • MA, Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • BA, Mass Communications, Iowa State University.
  • Leadership Training: TRLN Management Academy, The Business of Libraries.


  • Society of American Archivists: Mentoring Program, Mentor; Annual Meeting Career Center, Volunteer. 
  • National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC): Commissioner (2013present).


  • “Performing digital: multiple perspectives on a living archive,” review in International Journal of Heritage Studies 25, no. 4 (2018): 440–441.
  • “The Archivesque: Reframing Folklore Collecting in a Popular Culture World,” Folklife Today (blog), LIbrary of Congress, 2017.
  • “DIY History: Redesigning a Platform for a Transcription Crowdsourcing Initiative,” co-author with Jen Wolfe, in Outreach: Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections, ed. Kate Theimer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).


  • Society of American Archivists: “Conversation with the Archivist of the United States David Ferriero” (2018); “Addressing Intellectual Property Needs for the Oldest Native American Recordings: A Case Study” (2016).
  • Digital Humanities in Nordic Countries (DHN): “Documenting Folklife in the Digital Age," Keynote (2016).
  • International Association of Sound Archivists (IASA): “Resources in Wax: Audio Preservation Curation at the Library of Congress” (2016).



As a governing leader of SAA, how will you use your three years on the SAA Council to provide value to SAA members, to increase opportunities for participation for all members, and to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment in which SAA members can share, learn, and grow together?


As a public sector archivist and former journalist, my professional life has been rooted in serving the public good, bearing witness, and championing transparency and social responsibility. As an SAA Council member, I would bring that orientation to the work of collaborative governing.

Helping committees and sections communicate effectively with leadership is at the heart of a Council member’s duties. In my current position at the Library of Congress, I lead a team of archivists, folklorists, and ethnomusicologist who acquire, preserve, and make accessible one of the largest ethnographic archives in the world. This role requires constant listening to the needs of users and staff and working together to synthesize ideas so that I can advocate and communicate them to leadership. It would be a pleasure to aid in advancing the many good ideas of SAA members and increase opportunities for participation.

As a Council member, I would work to help realize the Society’s strategic plan, which lays out an ambitious roadmap to advance the public standing of archivists; ensure the diversity of its members, the profession and archival record; foster an open and inclusive culture; provide excellent customer service; and ensure transparency, accountability, integrity, professionalism, and social responsibility in conducting its activities.

The goal of providing “leadership in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record” is of particular interest to me. Diversifying the public record and supporting community-led documentation are central tenants of our work at the American Folklife Center archives, which includes extensive audiovisual documentation of traditional arts, cultural expressions, and oral histories of people from diverse communities. In this work, I frequently collaborate with small, grassroots archives and appreciate their value as well as the importance of mutually beneficial collaboration.

From leading an early crowdsourcing project to a current collaboration with indigenous communities to co-curate archival recordings of songs and stories, I am keenly interested in pursuing new ideas that make the archival document more inclusive and living. Toward that end, I am committed to encouraging an environment in which SAA members can freely share, learn, and grow together.

Note: Nicole Saylor is running for the SAA Council in her own personal capacity. 


Slate of Candidates

The Nominating Committee has slated the following SAA members as candidates for office in the 2019 election:

Vice President/President-Elect


Nominating Committee