Acquisitions and Appraisal Section Newsletter, Winter 2013


1.     From the Chair

2.     Section Business

3.     Continuing Education Survey

4.     News From Members

5.     Announcements

6.     Publications

I.  From the Chair

Greetings!  I hope all of you are having a warm and fruitful winter despite some of the frigid temperatures recently experienced around the country.  Hopefully learning about the initiatives and plans of the section will add some warmth to your day!

In August, the Steering Committee identified several areas of concern to section members and developed goals to assist in remedying problems and addressing issues.  I’m pleased to say that the steering committee now holds regular teleconferences to hash out projects and discuss governance matters.  Our next teleconference will be held at the end of February.  If there is a topic, idea, or issue that you would like the steering committee to address, please contact me or any section leader.

Perhaps the section’s biggest problem is that of being less active than its members and leadership would like.  Communications on our listserv are scarce and we often don’t have much going on as far as Council agenda items or general projects.  Last year, in an effort to remedy the communication problem and provide a more social and visible forum, the section created a Facebook group.  I’m pleased to say we are up to 66 members; however; this, too, does not get a lot of traffic or posts.  To help us deliver relevant news to our members and boost conversations, we will be taking on an “intern”- a graduate student who will work with the steering committee- to populate the Facebook page, examine other social media venues, and help the section’s leadership better connect with the members.  We are currently reviewing applications and will hopefully announce our new intern by the end of February.

Another major concern is that of appraising and acquiring electronic records.  You may have already known that the Manuscripts Repository Section invited members of the Acquisitions and Appraisal Section steering committee to assist with revising the three SAA donor brochures to include electronic records.  The draft is currently available for public comment.  Please contact me at if you are interested in reviewing it.

Moving forward, the Acquisitions and Appraisal Section Steering Committee hopes to implement two resources to assist archivists working with electronic records.  First, we would like to create a resources page for tools and useful information on appraising and acquiring electronic records.  This is currently in the beginning stages of research and planning. 

Secondly, we hope to begin a “Dear Abby”-style column to assist archivists with both born-digital and more traditional acquisition and appraisal issues.  We hope the section intern will be able to help us plan and implement this. 

As always, the steering committee would like to hear from the section membership.  What projects are you working on that you need assistance with?  What do you want the section to accomplish?  What would help you with your appraisal and acquisitions work?  

Finally, congratulations to Michelle Sweetser, our web liaison, who gave birth to a baby boy, Jude, in October.  We hope you and your family are doing well, Michelle!

Laura Uglean Jackson, Section Chair

II. Section Business


2013 Annual Meeting:  New Orleans, LA, August 11, 2013 - August 17, 2013  

·       Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists

·       Theme:  Archives New Orleans 2013 : Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists


Call to order and introduction of current leadership- Kim Anderson


Current Leadership:


Kim Anderson, Chair

Laura Uglean Jackson, Vice Chair/Chair Elect

Brad Bauer, Past Chair

Jennifer Graham, Steering Committee Member

Adrianna Cuervo, Steering Committee Member (outgoing)

Virginia Hunt, Steering Committee Member (outgoing)

Dee Gallo, Steering Committee Member

Michelle Sweetser, Web Liaison


Update on OCLC- Merrilee Proffitt

Merrilee Proffitt of OCLC Research reported on an upcoming OCLC report titled, “You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media.”  A few copies were available at the meeting.  This is in pre-published form and should be widely available soon.

Remarks from SAA 2013 Program Committee- Nancy Lenoil 

Next year’s SAA conference will be theme-free.  The call for papers is online and in the conference program.  The deadline for submitting conference proposals to the program committee is October 5, 2012.  Preference will go to complete proposals.  Endorsed proposals are important and section endorsements are due to the program committee by October 15, 2012.

Remarks from Council Liaison- Dennis Meissner 

If you have any problems regarding the Section, please bring them to the Steering Committee so that they may be forwarded to Council.

Dennis then reported on the highlights from the most recent Council meeting earlier that week:

·       Endorsed ISO standard 16363, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems- Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories

·       Council is digging deeper into the SAA Governance Manual so that everything works smoothly.  They improved revisions to Section XI, Official Representatives and Coalitions, which addresses appointing representatives to external groups.

·       SAA Member Survey: Council broke it apart in 5-6 sections.  Council will organize itself into work groups and pull people in to focus on the data.  Members will be hearing much more about the survey results on Jackie Dooley’s blog, Off the Record, of which an RSS feed is available.

·       Reframed strategic priorities.  #1 is advocacy for grants.  Will invite position papers and then develop a plan.

·       Looked at student members and costs of annual meetings

·       Let Dennis know if you need anything!

Report on the Section Facebook page- Kim 

·       The last section member survey indicated a need for more interaction, and the steering committee created a Facebook Group to help fill this need

·       Jennifer Graham submitted this report

·       50 members have joined the Facebook Group

·       There are not many updates or posts, which is also true of the listserv

·       Please feel free to post whatever you think relevant to the Section

Report on section sponsored and endorsed sessions at SAA 2012- Kim 

At this year’s annual meeting, the Section endorsed Session 303, “Things They Never Taught You in Graduate School: Donor Relations.”  The Section endorsed another session but it was not accepted.  Acquisitions and Appraisal is being discussed at roundtable meetings, section meetings, in five posters, 16 sessions, and 11 Acquisitions and Appraisal Section members are participating in sessions.


Report on the Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning- Laura

·       The Guidelines were approved by the SAA Council Executive Committee at their May meeting

·       A few members of the Reappraisal and Deaccessioning Development and Review Team created a proposal for a workshop on reappraisal and deaccessioning, which was accepted by the Education Committee.  The group might be looking for case studies that can be used in the workshop, stay tuned for a call for proposals.

·       The Development and Review Team was disbanded and a Technical Subcommittee for the Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning (TS-GRD) was formed.  Laura Uglean Jackson is chairing the group, and Margery Sly, Mark Shelstad, and Chela Weber are members.  The co-chairs of the Standards Committee and chair of the Acquisition and Appraisal Section will serve as ex-officio members [however, because Laura is also chair of the Section, Ginny Hunt, vice chair, will serve as the representative this year].  This group will oversee revisions and promotion of the Guidelines and will be soliciting comments and revisions in the future.


Election Results- Brad

·       Thanked the nominating committee and all of those who ran for positions in the Acquisitions and Appraisal Section.

·       Ginny Hunt won vice chair/chair elect

·       Adrianna Cuervo, incumbent, won for one of two Steering Committee Member positions.

·       Jamie Quaglino won the second open position of Steering Committee Member



Announcements from floor, motions, calls for project ideas, etc. – Kim  

·       Donor brochures: Laura Uglean Jackson updated the Section on a joint project between the Manuscripts Repositories Section, Electronic Records Section, and the Acquisitions and Appraisal Section to revise three SAA brochures: A Guide to Deeds of Gift; Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository; and Donating Your Organizational Records to a Repository. This effort is headed by the Manuscript Repositories Section leaders and a meeting will take place to discuss the changes and form a plan at the Manuscripts Repositories Section meeting on Friday, August 10.

·       Laura then updated the committee on her hopes and plan as incoming chair of the section.  Some ideas for this year are to recruit a student member intern; create forums for discussion of appraisal topics; and do something towards better acquisition and appraisal of born-digital records.  She welcomes ideas and suggestions from members and wants to know what the section’s members would like to see and do.

The floor was opened to solicit ideas and discussion.

·       A representative from the Committee on Education encouraged members to apply for scholarships to attend the EAC-CFP workshops.  Scholarships are available thanks to an IMLS grant.  She said workshops are being offered regularly and that there are LOTS of scholarships available.  You can find out more by going to the education committee’s website.  

·       Jamie Quaglino voiced a need for more information on conducting hybrid appraisals, perhaps a survey to see what people are doing.  Kim suggested forming a sub-group to discuss this and possibly do a session on this next year.

·       Kim then asked the audience, “When you’re getting ready to appraise in your job, what do you need help with?”

The following comments were made by unidentified members of the audience:

·       MPLP and processing as accessioning, how do you appraise and describe sufficiently when you’re doing both processing and accessioning “under the gun”?

o   Someone shared that they implemented a strategy where collections were bumped up if a donor paid them to process the collection

o   A suggested strategy of bringing a laptop to describe the collection as you’re boxing it up at the donor’s/record creator’s

o   A suggestion to create a tips and tricks page for quick appraisal and description

o   An audience member voiced a need to channel questions from other sections about appraisal and acquisitions issues

o   An audience member voiced a need to provide platforms that are useful for actual workflows

o   Drew Bourn brought up the topic of documenting acquisitions and aggregating this content digitally.  This could be another possible session proposal for next year.


The business meeting ended and the section meeting program began.  Tracy Panek of AAA Archives and Rochelle McCune of Gap, Inc. Archives led a fun, interactive program where audience members shared stories of the most unusual places they found collections, the weirdest things they found in a collection, and treasures they discovered in the archives.

Steering committee meeting:

·        Session ideas: 

o   Learning to say no and easing grief

o   Appraising on the spot

o   Advocating for archives and yourself

o   Appraising in context with limited knowledge interaction

o   Reappraisal is not a dirty word


·        Other goals: 

o   Appraisal workshops

o   Reappraisal workshops

o   Online case studies

o   Facebook page

o   Multiple distribution modes

III. Continuing Education Survey  

The SAA Acquisitions and Appraisal Section is eager to hear from members about continuing education needs related to acquisition and appraisal topics.   We invite you to take a brief survey to assist us.  This anonymous survey should only take five-ten minutes to complete.  The section steering committee and the SAA Committee on Education will use the results to determine if changes need to be made to existing SAA workshops and what additional workshops would be helpful.  If you have any questions, please contact the current chair of the section, Laura Uglean Jackson, at or past-chair and member of the Education Committee, Kim Anderson, at

Click here to take survey:


III. News From Members


In December of 2012, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance (JHCA) donated its body of out-of-use records to the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.  The collection consists of 52 boxes and contains research materials, correspondence, reports, publications, and legal documents, all relating to conservation activities and initiatives in the Jackson area and Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and the National Elk Refuge. 

Based in Jackson, Wyoming, the JHCA is a member-supported organization that works on multiple conservation issues, including water protection, preservation of recreation lands along with wildlife habitat, and responsible, sustainable development.  The mission statement of the JHCA details their approach to environmental efforts: 

“The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance is dedicated to responsible land stewardship in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to ensure that human activities are in harmony with the area’s irreplaceable wildlife, scenic and other natural resources.”

Since 1979, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance has been working to preserve the natural beauty of the region.  The efforts of the JHCA have ensured that giant big-box stores weren’t located in the hay fields of the Jackson-Teton area, blocked a nuclear waste incinerator from being located 100 miles from Jackson, and worked to reintroduce wolves into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, among many other initiatives.

--Submitted by Rachael Dreyer, Reference Archivist, American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming

IV. Announcements


The Acquisitions &Appraisal Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the session titled “Occupy Archives” was accepted for the SAA 2013 program.  This "lightning round" session was submitted by Kate Bowers of the Harvard University Archives and will bring together panelists from several institutions who are endeavoring to collect and provide access to records and other materials that document Occupy movements.


Appraisal of Electronic Records

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Monday, May 06, 2013


Spring 2013 New England Archivists Conference and 40th Anniversary Celebration:  College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA -- March 21-23, 2013.  Program information is here.

MARAC Spring 2013 Conference:  Erie, PA -- April 25-27, 2013.  Program information is here 

MAC 2013 Annual Meeting:  Indianapolis, Indiana, April 18-20, 2013  Program information is here.

V. Publications

AMERICAN ARCHIVIST Volume 75, Number 2 / Fall-Winter 2012

1.   Jessica L. Wagner and Debbi A. Smith.  “Students as Donors to University Archives: A Study of Student Perceptions with Recommendations.”  Pages 538-556.