SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on the Development of Standardized Holdings Counts and Measures for Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries (Affiliated Group)

I. Purpose

The SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on the Development of Standardized Holdings Counts and Measures for Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries (hereafter "Task Force") is responsible for the development of guidelines (hereafter "Guidelines") that will provide metrics, definitions, and best practices for quantifying the holdings of archival repositories and special collections libraries. The Guidelines will consider and address both the wide range of types and formats of material typically held--including analog, digital, and audiovisual materials--and the different ways in which collection material is managed and described. The Guidelines might also accommodate a two-tiered approach involving basic/minimum metrics and advanced/optimum metrics and/or include recommendations for institutions that wish to engage in collections assessment.

The Guidelines will be submitted to the Society of American Archivists Standards Committee (hereafter "SAA Standards"), the Association of College and Research Libraries Standards Committee (hereafter "ACRL Standards"), and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Executive Committee (hereafter "RBMS Exec"). The Task Force will recommend a plan for maintenance and review of the Guidelines when the Guidelines are submitted to SAA and ACRL/RBMS for approval.

II. Task Force Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Task Force is charged for a two-year period that begins in September 2014 and continues through the 2016 SAA Annual Meeting. The Task Force may be charged for an additional year if SAA or ACRL standards and executive bodies determine that the Standard needs further development before it can be approved.* (In January 2018, the SAA Council approved a further extension of the Task Force through August 31, 2018.) The Task Force will include ten members with an equal number of members appointed by SAA and ACRL according to their normal appointment procedures. A Task Force member may be a member of both organizations but will be appointed to the Task Force representing one organization only.  In addition to the committee members, ex officio members and liaisons will be appointed by each organization according to its normal procedures.

SAA and ACRL will consider the following when appointing individuals as members of the Task Force:

  • Experience managing collections in an archival repository or special collections library;
  • Familiarity with the wide range of types and formats of material typically held;
  • Knowledge of or involvement with the standards development process; and
  • Ability to fulfill ex officio and/or liaison roles for SAA or ACRL.

One member appointed by each organization will be designated to serve as a Task Force co-chair. The co-chairs will be responsible for convening Task Force meetings, leading Task Force work, ensuring that deadlines are met, following procedures of their respective organizations, and communicating as needed or required with both organizations.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Task Force co-chairs will report at least semi-annually to the appropriate groups within both organizations. In conjunction with SAA Standards and RBMS Exec and in coordination with each other, the co-chairs may also schedule public hearings or conduct public comment periods or both to solicit input on draft versions of the Guidelines. The public hearings may be conducted at the SAA Annual Meeting, the midwinter or annual meeting of the American Library Association, a biennial ACRL conference, and/or the annual RBMS preconference. Public hearings may also be conducted virtually. If the Task Force is granted funding support from its parent and/or extramural organizations, the co-chairs will ensure that reporting requirements are met.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill its purpose as described above, the Task Force is specifically charged to:

  • Develop a set of guidelines -- metrics, definitions, and best practices -- for quantifying holdings of archival repositories and special collections libraries, paying particular attention to both the wide range of types and formats of material typically held and the different ways in which collection material is managed and described.
  • Ensure that the language and scope of the Guidelines are appropriate to archival repositories and special collections libraries in the United States, with due consideration given to aligning the Guidelines with terminology, definitions, and measures employed in other relevant national and international standards.
  • Publicize and conduct public hearings, public comment periods, or both to ensure that members of the archives and library professions have adequate opportunities to become aware of and contribute to the development of the Guidelines.
  • Follow procedures outlined in SAA's Procedures for Review and Approval of an SAA-Developed Standard and ACRL’s Procedures for Preparation of New Standards and Guidelines to ensure that SAA Standards, ACRL Standards, and RBMS Exec can approve and adopt the Guidelines in a timely manner.

V. Meetings

The Task Force will carry out its charge primarily via electronic mail, conference calls, and online meetings in accordance with the meeting policies of the respective organizations.  Face-to-face meetings will also be scheduled during the SAA Annual Meeting and the midwinter and annual meetings of the American Library Association, which is when ACRL/RBMS business meetings are conducted.  Task Force members will be encouraged but not required to attend face-to-face meetings in person; if possible, however, the co-chairs will make arrangements for virtual participation in these meetings via conference call or online meeting software. Co-chairs will be required to attend (in person) the face-to-face meetings held during the regular meetings of their respective organizations and will be strongly encouraged to attend (in person) the face-to-face meetings of the other organization.  Minutes will be prepared for each face-to-face meeting and any conference call or online meeting that meets policy definitions for a meeting, and the minutes will be posted within thirty days to the public websites of the respective organizations.

Adopted by the SAA Council: January 2014.

*Extension Requests Granted: June 2016, January 2018. 
Per SAA Council interim action in June 2016, the Task Force was granted a one-year extension through August 30, 2017.
Per SAA Council action in January 2018, the Task Force was grandted an extension through August 31, 2018.