Strategic Priority Outcomes and Activities (Superseded)

FY 2010 - FY 2013

As revised by the SAA Council, August 10, 2009. This document has been superseded by the FY2010-FY2014 plan.

SAA’s strategic planning process is in full swing and your feedback is welcome!  At its February and May 2009 meetings, the SAA Council reviewed, discussed, and modified SAA’s strategic priorities and developed new “desired outcomes” and activities to address the priorities in fiscal years 2010–2013.  Council members agreed to retain the top three strategic priorities – technology, diversity, and public awareness/advocacy – that were originally identified as challenges to the profession in 2005, but chose to revise the issue statement associated with each priority.  Their discussions, as well as work done by a subgroup of Council members and staff in March and April, yielded new desired outcomes for each priority and new measurable activities to address them.

In addition, the Council adopted a new technology outcome that addresses SAA’s internal workings:  SAA will make increasingly effective use of current and emerging technology, such as social networking tools, in order to enhance communication with internal and external audiences and stimulate collaboration among its constituents.

The Council welcomes ongoing feedback – from members, component groups, allied groups, and others – about the priorities, outcomes, and activities, and we’re especially interested in learning about any activities that individuals and groups may be undertaking to address these priorities.  Component group representatives attending Sustainable Archives: AUSTIN 2009 in August will have an opportunity to comment on the Strategic Plan at the Leadership Forum on Wednesday, August 12, from 9:00 to 11:00 am.  But we hope to hear from many more members between now and then!  To share your ideas and comments, please send them to  A “final” draft of the plan will be published in the fall and, with your input, the Council will continue to review and revise the plan over time….

Strategic Priority #1:  Technology

Issue Statement:  Rapidly changing information technologies challenge archival principles, practices, and communication protocols, demanding effective leadership from the archives community to access, capture, and preserve records in all formats.  [Revised]

Desired Outcome #1:  SAA will develop standards, or endorse appropriate standards developed by other organizations, to improve the appraisal, capture, and preservation of, and access to, born-digital records, and will promulgate those standards to the archives community.  [Council member comments on this outcome also included emerging standards for imaging and metadata.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Endorse and publicize the International Standards Organization’s “Trusted Digital Repositories” standard.  (FY 2010)
  2. Provide an effective online mechanism to share news and information about existing or developing best practices and standards for electronic records, imaging, and metadata, including commentary on such practices and standards.  (FY 2010)
  3. Provide education (including case studies and model implementation plans) to repositories and their representatives on the requirements to become [or use] a trusted digital repository. (FY 2011)
  4. Determine baseline of member and nonmember institutions (repositories) that may qualify for ISO certification as a “trusted digital repository.” (FY 2011)
  5. Develop and implement a program to recognize trusted digital repositories, including a “Find a Trusted Digital Repository” online resource.  (FY 2012)

Desired Outcome #2:  SAA will provide education and training to its members to ensure that they are aware of relevant standards and adopt appropriate practices for appraising, capturing, preserving, and providing access to electronic records.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Survey SAA members to determine their perceived needs for training in appraising, capturing, preserving, and providing access to electronic records.  (FY 2010)
  2. Seek input from SAA committees, sections, and roundtables for leadership and guidance about providing education on the preservation of and access to digital records.  (FY 2010)
  3. Survey instructors, participants, and organizers of SAA’s 2006-2008 Electronic Records Summer Camp offerings to determine whether participation in the program has had an impact on their practices, and analyze survey results to determine areas for improvement.  (FY 2010)
  4. Modify Electronic Records Summer Camp offering based on feedback from past participants and results of member needs survey (Activity a).  (FY 2011)
  5. Develop and test a multi-year coordinated program to address members’ needs for education and training in electronic records appraisal, capture, preservation, and access.  (FY 2011)
  6. Implement a coordinated program to address members’ needs for training in electronic records preservation and access.  (FY 2012)
  7. Solicit development of additional literature targeted to member needs in the area of digital records.  (FY 2011)
  8. Evaluate results and modify program to address members’ feedback.  (FY 2013)

Desired Outcome #3:  SAA will make increasingly effective use of current and emerging technology in order to enhance communication with internal and external audiences and stimulate collaboration among its constituents.  [Internal Radar Screen]

Measurable Activities:

  1. Working with a contractor, redeploy SAA’s website using the Drupal content management system.  (FY 2010–FY 2011)
  2. Establish a “Technology Futures” task force (or reconstitute existing group[s]) to 1) provide an environmental scan of the current and emerging technology landscape among professional associations and 2) advise the SAA Council, staff, and members on new developments and tools for their applicability to SAA and the archives profession, including appropriate policies, protocols, and enforcement mechanisms for participation in SAA-sponsored social networking sites.  (FY 2010–FY 2011)
  3. Based on task force recommendations and with Council approval, develop an SAA presence on appropriate social networking sites.  (FY 2010)
  4. Based on task force recommendations and experience with Drupal development, and with Council approval, acquire additional technologies as needed that will further enable member collaboration and enhance SAA’s communication with internal and external audiences.  (FY 2010–FY 2013)
  5. As a prototype/proof of concept, record and provide audio and video podcasts of appropriate 2009 Annual Meeting sessions (e.g., plenaries).  (FY 2010)
  6. Enable virtual participation in traditional-format workshops and other educational offerings.  Evaluate participation and satisfaction.  (FY 2013)
  7. Based on evaluation of outcome of activities e. and f. (participant feedback, cost/benefit analysis), consider broadening opportunities to participate in the Annual Meeting via current and emerging technologies.  (FY 2013)
  8. Using Drupal, deploy revenue-based electronic publishing of monographs, complete with authenticated access based on completed transactions.  (FY 2012)

Strategic Priority #2:  Diversity

Issue Statement:  The relevance of archives to society and the completeness of the documentary record hinge on the profession’s success in ensuring that its members, the holdings that they collect and manage, and the users that they serve reflect the diversity of society as a whole.  [Revised]

Desired Outcome #1:  The Mosaic Scholarship will evolve into a program that encompasses a broad set of activities, including conference attendance, enhanced mentoring, and cohort development, and the number of Mosaic Scholarships that SAA (and/or the SAA Foundation) offers will increase to ten by FY 2013.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Charge an appropriate appointed group (the Diversity Committee, the Mosaic Scholarship Award Committee, or a newly formed Mosaic Scholarship Enhancement Task Force) to coordinate work.  (FY 2010)
  2. Consult with allied organizations, such as the American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries, to develop program models for consideration.  (FY 2010)
  3. Identify target audiences and expand publicity for Mosaic Scholarship to stimulate applications and ensure a strong applicant pool.  (FY 2010)
  4. Articulate a vision of an expanded program and determine associated costs.  (FY 2010)
  5. Charge the Foundation Fundraising Committee to consider means for developing a funding stream to support scholarships (including grants, giving opportunities, bequests, etc.).  (FY 2010)
  6. Implement recommendations for fundraising. (FY 2011–FY 2013)
  7. Develop networking and internship opportunities for scholarship recipients.  (FY 2011–FY 2013)
  8. Meet annually with award recipients to determine the impact of the scholarship on their career and how the scholarship might be modified or enhanced to meet future students’ needs. Use positive experiences as publicity to attract future applicants. (FY 2011–FY 2013)

Desired Outcome #2:  Identify and promote existing models and develop new methods for assisting archives and archivists to diversify the documentary record within their repositories.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Issue a request for proposal for a project regarding how to ensure the preservation of the records of diverse populations.  The project should involve surveying professional resources, including recent literature, workshop offerings, conference presentations/proceedings, successful existing models for collecting and/or preserving the records of diverse populations, and the work of V. Chapman Smith.  [Publications Board to facilitate]  (FY 2010–FY 2013)
  2. Compile/synthesize results and conclusions of this research project and publish on the SAA website, in Archival Outlook, and/or in the American Archivist, if appropriate.  (FY 2011)
  3. Develop education offerings for archivists and archives to learn successful methods for documenting under-documented communities. (FY 2012)
  4. Develop and make available tools, such as model collection development policies and procedures, that repositories can adapt for local collecting initiatives. (FY 2012)
  5. Develop and promote successful outreach initiatives that bring archivists into partnership with communities to promote the value of archives and to teach methods for managing and preserving records.  (FY 2012)

Desired Outcome #3:  In cooperation with appropriate communities, develop SAA guidelines and resources on managing cultural property that will assist the broader archives community in dealing with cultural property issues.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Identify allied professions/professionals and others whose practices could be considered.  (FY 2010)
  2. Appoint an individual or group to work with the American Library Association on its Traditional Cultural Expressions initiatives and make recommendations regarding additional tasks that SAA might undertake to advance this outcome.  (FY 2010)
  3. Identify major national/international initiatives. (FY 2011)
  4. Establish an online clearinghouse of information about managing cultural property, gathered from multiple sources.  (FY 2011)
  5. Enter into proactive communication with communities that have created cultural property to share views and, if possible, develop protocols that define mutually acceptable standards for care, access, and use of cultural material.  (FY 2010–FY 2012)
  6. Identify key cultural property texts and add to the SAA online bookstore. (FY 2010)
  7. Create resources and tools, such as case studies and model policies, that could assist archivists in collecting and developing access policies for property from other cultures. (FY 2011)
  8. Identify and develop appropriate terminology on cultural property issues and include in SAA’s A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. (FY 2011–FY 2012)
  9. Promote cultural property issues through the development of annual meeting sessions and articles in American Archivist and Archival Outlook.  (FY 2011–FY 2013)

Desired Outcome #4 [Revised 8/2009] SAA will define diversity, develop new programs, and enhance existing programs that promote diversity as a value while fostering an organizational environment of inclusiveness.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Ensure that SAA’s Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy (EONDP) remains up-to-date and widely available to SAA members and the profession at large:
    • Review SAA’s EONDP at least every three years. (Next review in 2012.)
    • Disseminate SAA’s EONDP to the membership once a year and make it available on the SAA web site at all times. (Ongoing.)
    • Develop a policy for dealing with discrimination issues within the Society.
    • Allow the policy to be reviewed by membership and leaders. Fine tune the policy for dealing with discrimination issues within the Society as necessary. (Ongoing, preferably on the same schedule as the EONDP review.)
    • Develop an EONDP statement for employers of archivists that can be used by archives nationwide.
    • Allow the policy to be reviewed by membership and leaders. Fine tune the policy as necessary. (Ongoing, preferably on the same schedule as the EONDP review.)
  2. Establish and give an annual Diversity Award to both an individual and a repository:
    • Charge the Awards Committee to develop a name and selection criteria for two new awards recognizing diversity efforts by an individual and a repository. (2010)
    • Publicize the new awards and solicit nominations.(2010)
    • Appoint an Awards Committee Diversity Subcommittee that represents appropriate groups throughout SAA. (2010)
    • Make the first of the annual awards at the annual meeting in Chicago in 2011. (2011)
    • Provide significant publicity for the Diversity Award, with a goal of increasing the number of nominations each year. (2011 and ongoing)
    • Ask the award recipients to write case studies, publish, and teach for SAA on diversity, if possible.
    • Enroll the award recipients in a Diversity Committee Think Tank Subcommittee, charged with coming up with new solutions on the issue of improving diversity.
  3. Develop a cultural competencies framework as it relates to archivists and the archives profession.
    • Consult with allied organizations (e.g., Society of American Anthropologists, Oral History Association, American Library Association, Rare Books and Manuscripts Section) and diversity experts to analyze the concept of cultural competencies to determine how it might be best applied to the archives profession. (2010)
    • Develop a grant proposal or action proposal to draft a cultural competencies framework to apply to archivists and the archives profession. (2010)
    • Create cultural competencies framework and disseminate widely to SAA leaders, members, and subgroups. (2011)
    • Develop an online self-test to help archivists rate their cultural competencies.
    • Develop specific online training courses and workshops focused on building specific cultural competencies (i.e., how to conduct consultations, how to identify cultural groups within your community, how to set up basic cultural outreach work via National History Day, etc.), as well as on diversity as it relates to archives and archivists. (2012)
  4. Develop a leadership workshop targeting diverse archivists and other SAA Members using Mosaic scholars and Diversity Award winners as potential teachers.
    • Develop the curricula and find the instructors. (2010)
    • Find funding for the workshop. (2011)
    • Offer the Leadership workshop. (2012)
    • Conduct a lessons-learned program on the workshop. (2012)
    • Redesign the workshop as necessary after feedback is received. (2012)
    • Consider whether part of the workshop may be offered online, as a Web-based training tool. If so, begin planning. (2013)

Strategic Priority #3:  Public Awareness / Advocacy

Issue Statement:  Archivists must take an active role in promoting the importance of archives and archivists in order to increase public support, shape public policy, and obtain the resources necessary to protect the accessibility of archival records that serve cultural functions as well as ensure the protection of citizens’ rights, the accountability of organizations and governments, and the accessibility of historical records.  [Revised]

Desired Outcome #1:  Adopt and begin implementation of a legislative agenda for FY 2010 – FY 2013 that establishes desired outcomes and sets priorities for their accomplishment.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Adopt a legislative agenda based on a proposal drafted by the Government Affairs Working Group, with input from SAA leaders, members, and others.  (FY 2010)
  2. Once a legislative agenda is adopted, develop activities associated with each desired outcome that are most likely to lead to its accomplishment.  (FY 2010)
  3. Determine resources needed to accomplish each activity (including both direct expenses and volunteer and staff time).  (FY 2010)
  4. Develop a realistic three-year timeline for accomplishment of activities. (FY 2011)
  5. Develop a three-year budget plan associated with the legislative agenda, and build into SAA’s annual budget related portions of the three-year plan. (FY 2012)

Desired Outcome #2:  Identify the top three strategic opportunities for SAA to increase public awareness of archives and archivists, implementing those activities that show the greatest promise for success or expanding existing programs that have been shown to be successful.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Develop an appropriate volunteer structure (e.g., permanent committee or working group) to carry on work associated with this outcome.  (FY 2010)
  2. Measure effectiveness of current SAA public awareness activities (e.g., survey members regarding their use of the American Archives Month Public Relations Kit to determine both usage and usability) and refine products based on feedback.  Develop feedback mechanisms to determine ongoing usefulness of activity(ies).  (FY 2011)
  3. Identify potential public awareness opportunities, assess value, and compare potential opportunities with current activities, adopting and developing those programs with the greatest strategic potential and abandoning programs with lesser potential.  (FY 2011–FY 2013)

Desired Outcome #3:  Develop a common statement that SAA members can use to describe “who we are,” “what we do,” and “the value of archives” and instruct SAA members in how to put this information to use with policy makers, donors, patrons, and others.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Upon adoption of an SAA Values Statement (assigned to a task force in February 2009), disseminate the statement to SAA members and others as appropriate.  (FY 2011)
  2. Based on the information contained in the Values Statement, assign to an appropriate group (e.g., the group created in activity 2.a. above) responsibility to build statements of “who we are,” “what we do,” and “the value of archives” using persuasive language that will resonate with the public and policy makers.  (FY 2012)
  3. Publicize the common statements broadly to SAA members and encourage their use when speaking to non-archivists.  (FY 2012)
  4. Track usage by creating a voluntary reporting program with a goal of having 5% of membership reporting usage by 2013. As part of the voluntary reporting system create a feedback loop regarding ways statements can be improved.  (FY 2013)

Desired Outcome #4:  Create an information source that supplies archivists with qualitative information about the importance of archives and archivists and that can be used by archivists as a resource when explaining the importance of their profession.

Measurable Activities:

  1. Assign responsibility for this outcome to the permanent group created in activity 2.a. above.  (FY 2010)
  2. Develop, solicit, or repurpose from another source qualitative stories documenting the important achievements of archives and archivists. Locate and publicize (e.g., via the SAA website) a minimum of 12 stories per year.  (FY 2011–FY 2013)
  3. Include information (written and video) regarding “why I joined the profession.”  [See also Technology Outcomes and Activities, #3.]  (FY 2011–FY 2013)
  4. Publicize via the American Archives Month Public Relations Kit and the SAA website.  (FY 2011–FY 2013)

Desired Outcome #5:  Develop and disseminate a toolkit to measure return on investment of the archives in various archival settings (e.g., government, academic, and private sectors).

Measurable Activities:

  1. Investigate existing models for measuring return on investment of professional services, and identify potential components of a toolkit that would assist members in such measurements. (FY 2011)
  2. In consultation with one or more experts on measuring return on investment, develop formulas, formats, and mechanisms that would enable archivists to quantify the contribution of the archives to its parent organization’s bottom line.  (FY 2011)
  3. Refine toolkit components via a limited-distribution beta test.  (FY 2012)
  4. Establish an online mechanism for collection and compilation of metrics submitted by toolkit users.  (FY 2012)
  5. Produce, distribute, and promote use of the toolkit to SAA members and the broader archives community.  (FY 2012)
  6. Compile metrics in a national database that may be accessed by appropriate audiences.  (FY 2013)
  7. Evaluate effectiveness of toolkit and refine as needed. (FY 2012–FY 2013)


See also:
Strategic Priority Outcomes and Activities FY2010-FY2014 (Current)
SAA's Strategic Priorities (2006-2007)
Radar Screen (Adopted February 2005 and Revised as Indicated) (PDF)
Statement of Goals and Objectives (2003)
SAA Strategic Objectives (2003)