Standing Rules

Society of American Archivists
Description Section


Article 1. Name
The name of this section will be the Description Section of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), hereinafter referred to as the Section.

Article 2. Objectives
The Section will provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas about all aspects of archival description among those responsible for, involved in, or interested in description projects, descriptive standards, and descriptive systems. The Section represents and promotes the interests and concerns of these archivists to the rest of SAA and may undertake activities as appropriate to promote awareness of descriptive issues within SAA and externally.

Article 3. Membership
Membership in the Section is open to any SAA member in good standing with an interest in archival description, descriptive standards, or descriptive systems.

Article 4. Governance
These standing rules of the Description Section shall serve as a supplement to the SAA Section Bylaws, which govern all SAA sections. Please refer to Section IX. Sections of the SAA Governance Manual for information on membership, section election procedures, reporting requirements, and more. 

Article 5. Officers
5.1 Elected and Appointed Officers
5.1.1 Elected
To guide the Section, the Section membership will elect a
5.1.1.a. Chair
5.1.1.b. Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
5.1.1.c. Secretary
5.1.1.d. Two (2) Steering Committee members at large
5.1.2 Appointed
The Chair, in addition, will appoint a
5.1.2.a. Blog Editor
5.1.2.b. Web Liaison

5.2 Terms of Office
5.2.1 Eligibility
Only members of the Section may serve as officers.

5.2.2 Chair and Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect will serve terms of three (3) consecutive years: one (1) year as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, one (1) year as Chair, and one (1) year as Past Chair.

5.2.3 Secretary
The Secretary will serve a term of two (2) consecutive years.

5.2.4 Steering Committee Members (Two) (2)
The two (2) Steering Committee members will serve staggered terms of two (2) consecutive years each.

5.2.5 Blog Editor
The Blog Editor and Web Liaison, who are appointed by the Chair, will serve terms of three (3) consecutive years each.

5.3 Duties of the Officers
5.3.1 Chair
5.3.1.a. The Chair will organize and preside over Section meetings, and with the advice and assistance of the other Section officers, Steering Committee, and Section membership, will direct the Section’s activities.
5.3.1.b. The Chair will serve as liaison with SAA in general, its Council, and other Sections and Roundtables.
5.3.1.c. The Chair will serve as an ex officio member of the Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS).
5.3.1.d. The Chair will serve as a member of the Coker Award Subcommittee.
5.3.1.e. The Chair will report to the Section membership at large on such matters as deemed pertinent or as identified by the Officers, Steering Committee, or membership.
5.3.1.f. The Chair and Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will attend the annual SAA Leadership Forum.
5.3.1.g. The Chair is responsible for selecting candidates to nominate for election as Section Officers in each year's Section election.
5.3.1.h. The Chair will appoint Section members to fill Officer vacancies or to serve on ad hoc committees or task forces.

5.3.2 Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
5.3.2.a. The Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will advise and assist the Chair in conducting the Section’s business.
5.3.2.b. The Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will arrange and preside at meetings of the Section and of its Steering Committee in the Chair’s absence or inability to serve.

5.3.3 Past Chair
5.3.3.a. The Past Chair has no formal responsibilities, but may serve in an advisory capacity on the Section’s Steering Committee to ensure organizational continuity within the Section.

5.3.4 Secretary
5.3.4.a. The Secretary will take minutes at the annual Section meeting, completing the minutes and submitting them to the Chair within one (1)
week of the annual meeting.
5.3.4.b. The Secretary will oversee Section elections, including, but not limited to: Issuing the call for candidates, preparing candidate statements, promoting the election, communicating with the SAA Governance Manager, and reporting the results of the election to the Section. 
5.3.4.c. The Secretary may ask the Section officers for assistance.
5.3.4.d. The Secretary will assist the Web Liaison to make sure the Section’s website content is current.
5.3.4.e. The Secretary will work with SAA administration to assure the transfer and retention of permanent records.

5.3.5 Blog Editor
5.3.5.a. The Blog Editor is responsible for the production of the Section blog and oversees an editorial team composted of additional Section Officers whose tasks include, but are not limited to, soliciting content, editing content, formatting content, and disseminating content. 
5.3.5.b. The Blog Editor, with assistance from the editorial team, will issue quarterly calls for content and publish blog posts on a rolling basis.
5.3.5.c. The Blog Editor will work with the Section Web Liaison to ensure the Section's website is current.

5.3.6 Web Liaison
The Web Liaison is responsible for maintaining the Section website and working closely with the Section leadership and SAA administration to keep the website current and correct. The Web Liaison is also responsbile for calling for and managing submissions to the Section's Documentation Portal, including annual testing of the Portal for broken links. 

5.3.7 Steering Committee
5.3.7.a. Mandatory members of the Steering Committee are the Chair, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Secretary, two (2) elected Steering Committee members, Blog Editor, and Web Liaison.
5.3.7.b. In addition, at large Steering Committee members may be appointed by the Chair as necessary to assist in advancing the Section's goals and objectives.
5.3.7.c. The co-chairs of SAA's Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS) serve as ex officio members.
5.3.7.d. The Steering Committee is responsible for informing, advising, and guiding the Section leadership so that it remains useful and responsive to the need of its members.

5.4 Nomination and Election
5.4.1 Nomination
5.4.1.a. The Chair will call for nominations three months before the annual meeting.
5.4.1.b. Only members of the Section may serve as officers.
5.4.1.c. Only individuals who have consented to nomination may be listed on the slate of candidates.
5.4.1.d. Nominees will submit a statement of interest and a short biography to the Secretary at least six weeks before the annual meeting.

5.4.2 Election
5.4.2.a. Only current Section members are eligible to vote in Section elections.
5.4.2.b. Elections shall be conducted online with the assistance of the SAA staff and in accordance with guidelines for section elections as specified in Section IX. Sections of the SAA Governance Manual. Availability of the online ballot and deadline for voting shall be announced by the Chair to all section members via the section’s official email discussion list and website.
5.4.2.c. The candidate with the highest number of votes received will be elected.

5.4.3 Vacancies in Office
5.4.3.a. Chair. In the case of vacancy in the office of the Chair, the vice Chair/Chair-Elect will assume the office and duties of Chair.
5.4.3.b. Vice Chair/Chair-Elect. In the case of vacancy in the office of the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, the office will remain vacant until the next annual Section meeting, at which time a new Chair and Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will be elected. The Chair will assume duties of the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect in the interim, although the Chair may appoint a member of the Section to assist in fulfilling the duties of Chair-Elect.
5.4.3.c. Secretary, Blog Editor, Web Liaison, and Steering Committee members. In the case of a vacancy in any of these offices the Chair will appoint a member of the Section to assume the duties until the next Section meeting and election of officers.

Article 6. Business
6.1 Decision Making
Decisions of the Section will be determined by a majority of members. All officers except the Chair may vote. The Chair votes only to break a tie. Where there is no majority vote, particularly in the case where more than two (2) members are up for election for a given office, selection will be made through a second ballot between the candidates who received the most votes on the first ballot.

6.2 Meeting Times

6.2.1 Annual Meeting
The Section will meet at least once a year at the time of the SAA annual meeting. The Secretary will publish the meeting time and place as soon as it is finalized.

6.2.2 Other Meetings
Additional Section meetings may be scheduled during the SAA annual meeting. The Secretary will publish the meeting time and place as soon as it is finalized.

6.2.3 Steering Committee Meetings
The Steering Committee should meet as a group at the annual meeting and through the year as needed.

6.3 Other Communications

6.3.1 Allowed
Outside of the annual meeting, the Steering Committee will maintain contact to carry out its work program through email, telephone, and video chat.

6.3.2 Prohibited
The Section cannot make official statements on behalf of the Society of American Archivists.

Article 7. Committees
The Chair may appoint and disband committees or working groups as needed for specific purposes. The size, duration, and terms of reference of these groups will be determined by the Steering Committee. Committees will report at the annual Section meeting.

Article 8. Parliamentary Authority
Roberts Rules of Order, latest edition, will govern the proceedings of the Section, except as otherwise provided for in the bylaws of the Section, or in the constitution, bylaws, or other special rules of SAA.

Article 9. Amendments
9.1 Eligibility to propose amendments
Any member of the Section may propose amendments to these standing rules by submitting them in writing to the Chair at least three (3) months prior to the annual meeting.

9.2 Procedure for submission of amendments
9.2.1 Submission
Submit amendments in writing to Chair at least three (3) months prior to the annual meeting.

9.2.2 Notification
At least one (1) month prior to the annual meeting, the Chair notifies the membership of the proposed amendments.

9.2.3. Ratification
To ensure alignment with SAA’s governance documents, any amendments to the section’s standing rules should be reviewed by the executive director (or her/his designee) and the section’s Council liaison by May 1, before they are put forward in a referendum for vote by the section membership. Proposed amendments to the section’s standing rules will appear on the section’s annual election ballot for a final approval by a simple majority of the section’s membership. Any adopted amendments should be posted promptly to the section’s official microsite and be noted in the section’s next annual report to the Council. Any revisions to the section’s name or mission/description must be submitted to the Council for final approval. For more information on amendment procedures, see Section IX. Sections of the SAA Governance Manual.

9.2.4 Effective Date
Amendment(s) to standing rules become effective immediately following approval at the annual meeting.

9.2.5 Authority
Bylaws approved at the 1999 Meeting of the Description Section in Pittsburgh, August 27, 1999, revised bylaws approved at the 2008 Meeting of the Description Section in San Francisco, California, August 29, 2008.

Updated per the member affinity group transition approved by the Council, August 2016. Revision approved by section membership, August 2021.

SAA Description Section STANDING RULES Revisions 07-2021.pdf84 KB
DSBylaws_2008.pdf88.25 KB

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