Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment

I. Purpose

The Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment provides access to significant and useful data and research about SAA, American archives, and their users that evidence the value of archives for society and help us improve our services to SAA members and to our consumers. The Committee will work to conduct or support relevant research and to create, gather, and preserve data by directing and engaging in several areas of activity:

  • Providing SAA members with standardized tools for gathering and analyzing data;
  • Providing a repository or portal for data and other research outputs;
  • Providing training on gathering, analyzing, interpreting, and using data; 
  • Providing up-to-date and reliable basic facts and figures about archives and archivist; and
  • Providing a space to discuss and share information about research initiatives with relevance for archives and records management through the SAA Research Forum.

II. Committee Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Committee shall consist of a minimum of eleven appointed members (including two co-chairs) serving staggered three-year terms with the possibility of reappointment. The Vice President, on behalf of the Council and with the recommendation of the Committee, appoints new members and co-chairs. Because the Committee may benefit from members who possess specialized skills and abilities that may vary from time to time, a Request for Applicant-based process may be necessary to help surface the best candidates in any particular appointment cycle. Maximum Committee size is variable, depending on the number, nature, and complexity of the projects and activities in which the Committee is engaged at any particular time.

To better facilitate the Committee’s diverse work, members may be distributed among multiple project- or activity-based subcommittees, each of which is headed by a subcommittee chair appointed by the Committee co-chairs to repeatable annual terms. The Committee co-chairs may recommend that the SAA Council form (and disband) subcommittees from time to time, based on current needs.

The vice chair of the Committee on Education will serve as an ex officio member of the committee. The outgoing co-chair may serve as an ex officio member of the committee for up to one year after rotating off the committee.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Committee co-chairs shall submit a report for each Council meeting, summarizing current activities and projects and progress toward stated objectives. As directed by the Council, the Committee co-chairs may submit a written report upon the conclusion of specific projects.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

The Committee shall enjoy a great deal of latitude in developing and engaging in research projects and data accumulation. In so doing, the Committee must maintain frequent communication with the Council, which approves and advises on the Committee’s strategic directions, tactics, resources, activities, and projects. This communication is facilitated by the Committee co-chairs, who must ensure that the Council is aware of emergent planning and directional changes.

The Committee maintains responsibility for achieving its purpose by:

  • Looking strategically at the organization’s information needs and sharing its strategies with the SAA Council and relevant component groups;
  • Proactively commissioning or directly engaging in necessary and strategic research, including dissemination, preservation, promotion, and education of survey data and research (such as A*CENSUS II);
  • Manage the SAA Research Forum;
  • Gathering quantitative and qualitative information of strategic value for SAA in the areas of advocacy, public awareness, improved audience service, and community engagement;
  • Evaluating such information and surfacing it to SAA members via dashboards, reports, and constructed data sets that members can use to better understand and act on their own environments and to perform better as archivists;
  • Engaging academic and other communities within SAA to perform research by helping to set research agendas and by utilizing grants, fellowships, conferences, and other tools and levers;
  • Providing a repository (or repositories) and analytical tools for sharing and evaluating useful data about archivists, repositories, audiences, and the environments in which archives function; and
  • Building and maintaining, in collaboration with other SAA groups, a training site for archivists around research, data gathering, evaluation and assessment, and business intelligence.

V. Meetings

The Committee shall conduct its business largely through email and conference calls. The Committee shall meet formally each year at the SAA Annual Meeting. Any additional in-person meetings that may be necessary shall occur only with Council approval and funding.

Approved by the SAA Council, November 2018, May 2022, August 2022.