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

I. Purpose

The SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on the Development of Standardized Statistical Measures for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries (hereafter "Task Force") is responsible for development of a new standard (hereafter 'Standard') defining appropriate statistical measures and performance metrics to govern the collection and analysis of statistical data for describing public services provided by archival repositories and special collections libraries. The Standard will describe and quantify users of special collections and archival materials and services and their usage of the same, including reading room paging/circulation, paging/circulation of materials for other purposes (e.g., class/events, exhibits, reference questions, conservation, processing), reference interactions (in person and via email), reproduction orders (numbers of orders and pages photocopied/digitized), interlibrary loan requests (physical, digital; filled, not filled), and events (e.g., numbers and characteristics of class visits, exhibits [physical and virtual], tours, programs, etc).  If feasible, the Standard may also include recommendations for gathering and analyzing statistics about special collections website visitors and their page views and file downloads.

The elements of the Standard will be developed in such a way as to support measures and analysis of the impact of public services in addition to basic statistical counts. In addition, the Standard will include guidance on the implementation of methods of data collection, analysis, and reporting to ensure appropriate safeguards for the privacy, confidentiality, and security of user records.

To the extent deemed possible and mutually desirable, the Task Force will coordinate the development of the Standard with the International Council on Archives and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Subcommittee on Quality - Statistics and performance evaluation (TC464/SC8) [1].

The Standard will be submitted for approval by the appropriate standards review committees and executive bodies of SAA and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and ACRL's Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS). The Task Force will recommend a plan for maintenance and review of the Guidelines at the time 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 two years, beginning September 2014 and continuing 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. (Per SAA Council interim action in June 2016, the Task Force was granted a one-year extension through August 30, 2017.) 

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 to represent only one organization. Due consideration will be given by each organization to appointing members who have requisite knowledge and experience in the management of the public service operations of archival repositories and special collections libraries and prior experience with standards development. Additional consideration should be given to appointing members who are knowledgeable or involved with development of international standards (e.g., the International Council on Archives and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Subcommittee on Quality - Statistics and performance evaluation (TC464/SC8) [2]). In addition to the committee members, ex officio members and liaisons will be appointed by each organization according to its normal procedures.

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 the standards and executive bodies of their respective organizations.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Task Force co-chairs will report at least semi-annually to the chairs of the standards committees of their respective organizations. In conjunction with the chairs of their respective standards committees 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 Standard.  The public hearings may be conducted in person at the SAA Annual Meeting, the midwinter or annual meetings of the American Library Association, biennial ACRL conferences, or annual RBMS preconferences. Public hearings may also be conducted virtually.

If the Task Force is granted funding support from its parent or extramural organizations, the co-chairs will provide all necessary narrative reports to the SAA and ACRL offices to ensure that reporting requirements of SAA and ACRL and the funding source are met.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

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

  • Develop and define appropriate statistical measures and performance metrics (i.e., the "Standard") to govern the collection and analysis of statistical data for describing public services in archival repositories and special collections libraries as outlined in section I.
  • Ensure that the language and scope of the Standard is appropriate to archival repositories and special collections libraries in the United States, with due consideration given to aligning the Standard with terminology, definitions, and measures employed in other relevant national and international standards.
  • Publicize and conduct public hearings, or 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 Standard.
  • Follow all other guidelines outlined in SAA’s Procedures for Review and Approval of an SAA-Developed Standard [3] and ACRL’s Procedures for Preparation of New Standards and Guidelines [4] to ensure that SAA and ACRL standards and executive bodies approve and adopt the Standard 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 [5]. 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.

[1] ISO TC464/SC8 is “currently assessing the forthcoming revision to the ISO standard on International library statistics (ISO 2789) for areas where the standards can be better aligned and for proposed new statistics and methods”; see: http://www.niso.org/news/pr/view?item_key=4bab6c0503ed5d9f392f862e9d32ce346eef6c69.

[2] ISO TC464/SC8 is “currently assessing the forthcoming revision to the ISO standard on International library statistics (ISO 2789) for areas where the standards can be better aligned and for proposed new statistics and methods”; see: http://www.niso.org/news/pr/view?item_key=4bab6c0503ed5d9f392f862e9d32ce346eef6c69.

Adopted by the SAA Council: January 2014.
Extension Request Granted: June 2016.