Archival Innovator Award

Purpose and Criteria for Selection:

The Archival Innovator Award recognizes an archivist, a group of archivists, a repository, or an organization that demonstrates the greatest overall current impact on the profession or their communities. Nominee(s) should meet as many of the following criteria as possible:    

  • Creativity or innovation in approaching professional challenges;
  • Demonstrated ability to think outside of professional or institutional norms;
  • Ability to translate creativity, innovation, and new thinking into working solutions;
  • Development of an archives program or outreach activity that has an extraordinary impact on a community; and/or
  • Commitment to the advancement of professional knowledge through traditional or emerging information-sharing media.  

The work should be undertaken within the past three years—it need not be completed, but it must be sufficiently advanced to demonstrate results.

Sponsor and Funding:

Created in 2011, thie award is funded by the Society of American Archivists Foundation.


A certificate and complimentary registration for the recipient(s) (if a repository or an organzation, then one representative) to the SAA Annual Meeting occurring in the year in which the award is presented. 

First Awarded:


Selection Committee

The Archival Innovators Award Subcommittee of the Awards Committee is composed of three members of the Society of American Archivists and one of the co-chairs of the SAA Awards Committee (ex officio). One member of the subcommittee shall be appointed each year by the SAA President-elect to serve a three-year term. The senior member of the subcommittee in years of service shall serve as its chair and shall present the award during the Awards Ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting.

Submission Deadline and Nomination Form:

Click here to preview the nomination form and/or to start a nomination. All nominations must be submitted by February 28 of each year.  


Archival Innovator Award Recipients

2023: Opioid Industry Documents Archive 

2022: Community-Driven Archives at Arizona State University Library AND the Center for Michigan Jewish Heritage

2021: National Archives and Records Administration’s History Hub

2020:  Invisible Histories Project

2019:  Brooklyn Connections, a school outreach program of the Brooklyn Public Library

2018:  Dr. Doug Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in the University of Kentucky Libraries

2017:   No applicants

2016:   Dr. Foy Scalf, head of the Research Archives and Integrated Database Project Team at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

2015:   State Archives of Florida's Florida Memory Team

2014:   Trevor Owens, National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress

2013:   Augmented Processing Table Research Team, The University of Texas at Austin School of Information, Dr. Ciaran B. Trace and Dr. Luis Francisco-Revilla

2012:   Not awarded