Standards Committee

I. Purpose

The Standards Committee is responsible for initiating and facilitating the development of standards;* providing review and comment on standards that are relevant to archival theory and practice; educating the archives community about the value and role of standards; maintaining and updating the SAA Standards Portal; and partnering with related information management professional organizations on standards of mutual concern and interest.

* For the purposes of this document, the term "standards" includes standards, technical standards, conventions, rules, guidelines, and best practices. See Standards Development and Review for more information.

II. Committee Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Standards Committee consists of nine appointed members (including two co-chairs) appointed by the SAA vice president / president-elect for staggered three-year terms. The Committee also shall include ex officio members, including chairs of all technical subcommittees and development and review teams that report to the Standards Committee, representatives of other SAA groups whose interests and activities closely interact with those of the Standards Committee, and members who serve as SAA's representatives to external organizations that deal with matters within the Committee's area of concern. Ex officio members shall include:

The SAA vice president / president-elect annually appoints three members based on recommendations from the Standards Committee co-chairs, whose terms begin at the end of the Annual Meeting. The co-chairs are appointed for staggered two-year terms, and are normally appointed based on the recommendation of the co-chairs by the vice president / president-elect from among the current and previous members of the Committee. Following the co-chair's two-year appointment, the co-chair shall become an ex officio member for one year.

Technical subcommittees. The Standards Committee may recommend that the SAA Council form (and disband) technical subcommittees. The SAA Council may charge a technical subcommittee to oversee SAA-developed standards. Technical subcommittees are responsible for the maintenance and review of the assigned standard (which requires that they monitor all feedback and calls for revision of the standard) and for promoting the standard and educating appropriate communities about it. Technical subcommittee chairs serve as regular or ex officio members of the Standards Committee.

With the recommendations of the Standards Committee co-chairs, the SAA vice president / president-elect appoints technical subcommittee chairs and members. Technical subcommittee members must have expertise related to the standard that they are responsible for maintaining. Technical subcommittees are ongoing as long as the adoped standard remains in use. Technical subcommittee chairs serve as regular or ex officio members of the Standards Committee.

Development and review teams. The Standards Committee may recommend that the SAA Council form (and disband) development and review teams to research and develop a specific standard, review a specific standard, study the need for a standard, or address a particular topic. Development and review teams are ad hoc and will be charged for an appropriate period of time as determined by the Council in consultation with the Standards Committee, not to exceed three years, and with the possibility of renewal.

With the recommendations of the Standards Committee co-chairs, the SAA vice president / president-elect appoints development and review team chairs and members. Development and review team members must have expertise related to the topic being addressed, and will most often be from the group that proposed the original project. Development and review team chairs serve as regular or ex officio members of the Standards Committee.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Standards Committee reports to the Council, providing a formal written report annually and reporting on special initiatives as necessary or requested. The co-chairs are responsible for coordinating the formulation and evaluation of the annual report and other planning documents as needed in consultation with Standards Committee members. The chair of each current technical subcommittee and development and review team is responsible for preparing and submitting an annual report of the group's activities to the Standards Committee co-chairs.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill its mission as described above, the Standards Committee is specifically charged to:

  • Oversee the process of standards development by identifying standards needs; recommending to the Council the establishment of technical subcommittees or development and review teams, as necessary, to research, prepare, monitor, and review standards; and recommending action on proposed standards to the Council.
  • Ensure that the SAA Standards Portal is maintained and updated on a timely basis.
  • Develop, implement, and periodically review a profession-wide plan to address all standards needs across all the core competencies of the profession.
  • Monitor and review, and recommend for endorsement when appropriate, other national and international standards that affect archival practice.
  • Implement a process for the periodic review of all standards that are relevant to archival theory and practice.
  • Conduct maintenance reviews of SAA-adopted standards in accordance with established review cycles.
  • Publicize and promote standards-related news and information to the archives community.
  • Work in concert with the Program and Education committees and SAA staff to endorse and develop workshops, conference programs, and other educational opportunities related to archives standards.
  • Collaborate with international and national associations on standards development projects, with an understanding that the SAA Council must approve in advance all contractual and financial obligations.
  • Coordinate the work of SAA representatives to standards organizations.
  • Investigate for all SAA-developed standards the feasibility of adoption by the American National Standards Institute as a national standard.

VI. Meetings

The Standards Committee meets once per year at the SAA annual meeting. Depending on operational need and contingent on SAA Council funding, the Committee or subgroups of it may meet midyear. Periodic conference call meetings may be scheduled as needed. Although regular meetings are open to any SAA member who wishes to attend, the Committee shall also hold public meetings as needed at the SAA annual meeting to report on the progress of ongoing standards development or to review projects and to receive questions and suggestions.


Approved by the SAA Council: June 1991 (for a period of three years); June 1992, extended to June 1995
Revised: June 1998, February 2010, January 2011, January 2012, August 2013, November 2018.