2021 Candidates for Encoded Archival Standards Section

Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2021 Encoded Archival Standards (EAS) Section election. The EAS Section has three open positions for the 2021 election and three candidates running unopposed. Please take some time to review each candidate statement below.

You will be voting for:

  • One Junior Co-chair, for a two-year term, serving in year one as Junior Co-chair and in year two as Senior Co-chair; and
  • Two Steering Committee members, for two-year terms.

SAA staff will manage the ballots through Survey Monkey. Please keep an eye on your inbox for ballot notifications.

Junior Co-Chair Candidate

Irene Gates
Associate Archivist for Archival Processing, The New School

Irene Gates is currently the Associate Archivist for Archival Processing at the New School. She previously worked as the Interim Roving Archivist for the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board, Project Archivist for the Justice Antonin Scalia Papers at the Harvard Law School Library, and Temporary Archivist at the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology in Andover, MA. In addition to using the standards during collections processing work, Irene is also a SNAC volunteer editor, and has been involved in organizing SNAC edit-a-thons around Indigenous and anthropological records. She received her MS in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons University, and holds an MA in Art History from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Candidate Statement
Since first learning about encoded archival standards as a library science graduate student, I have increasingly come to appreciate how these standards lay the groundwork for bold and comprehensive platforms such as the Online Archive of California, SNAC and the National Finding Aid Network project. These platforms revolutionize how users discover archival collections, and yet, engaging with the standards and keeping up to date with new developments and implementing them is challenging for archivists and their institutions. It is even more challenging for smaller institutions with fewer resources to adopt and implement these standards at all. As Junior Co-Chair of the EAS section, I will support the section’s mission to promote the implementation and use of the standards, and provide guidance and information around them, while being mindful of differing needs, priorities and proficiencies within our broad archival community.


Steering Committee Member Candidates

Betts Coup
Processing Archivist, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Betts Coup is a Processing Archivist at Houghton Library and member-at-large of the Description Section Steering Committee, focusing on instruction of archival access, use, and description. At Houghton, Betts has been involved with the implementation of location and container management in ArchivesSpace and establishing new descriptive guidelines and workflows for oversized materials. She  is a SNAC editor, reviewer, instructor, and member of the SNAC Communications Working Group. Prior to this position, Betts was a project archivist at the Center for the History of Medicine, where she managed the implementation of EAC-CPF, creating templates, records, and training colleagues. She also assisted with the editing of processing guidelines and data cleanup following the implementation of ArchivesSpace. At Simmons University’s School of Library and Information Science, Betts has served as an adjunct instructor for  Archival Access and Use, which focuses on instruction of archival descriptive standards, including DACS, EAD, EAC-CPF, and MARC for archival collections. She has an MLIS with a focus on Archives Management from Simmons University and an MA in the History of Art and Architecture from New York University. Betts has an ongoing interest in the way users find and access archival collections, specifically the way encoded, structured records for archival collections may create varied paths for discovery and use.

Candidate Statement
My work in the archival field has been focused on description, and I have a great passion for exploring the ways in which our descriptive practice—and the ways we structure that descriptive data—impact users and access. As someone who actively teaches about our current encoded standards, I know well that they can seem intimidating but in fact help newcomers to the field understand the theories and foundations of our field. Simultaneously, I am excited to think about the ways our standards are changing to become more interoperable and our data both more discoverable and sharable. I am passionate about the way standardized, structured data will allow users to access archival materials from varied points of discovery through the various standards both in place and in development (EAD, EAC-CPF, among others). Over the past years, the EAS Section Steering Committee has redoubled its efforts to provide up-to-date, freely available resources regarding the standards, to make them accessible to all no matter one’s experience or budget. That work has been important to me as an EAS Section Steering Committee co-chair, and I would like to continue this effort and the ongoing conversation regarding the state of the standards as an EAS Section Steering Committee Member.


Michele Combs
Lead Archivist, Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at Syracuse University Libraries

Michele is the Lead Archivist at the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at Syracuse University Libraries.  She has more than 25 years experience with SGML/XML, beginning in 1994 when she became involved with creating, maintaining, and publishing SGML-encoded technical documentation for the U.S. Navy through positions at General Electric and then Lockheed Martin.   Since joining SCRC in 2006, her responsibilities have included converting legacy paper and electronic finding aids to EAD; developing internal and vendor encoding specifications for EAD, METS, and MODS; training interns and new staff on how to write and encode finding aids; and writing a wide range of scripts to turn EAD into other things and other things into EAD.  She has taught numerous workshops on EAD, and for the past ten years has taught a two-week hands-on unit to library school students as part of IST 628.  She is a past member of the Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards (TS-EAS) and served on its earlier incarnation as the TS-EAD (Technical Subcommittee for EAD) during its work on EAD 3.0; as such, she as been a co-presenter at several webinars that provided information about the new features of 3.0.  She is a member and past Board Member of the American Society of Indexers, and does freelance indexing in DocBook and other XML schemas.

Candidate Statement
I’m a strong believer in the power of structured data, having seen first-hand the many benefits that result.  These range from consistency and flexibility in presentation, to wider discoverability through interoperability with other library systems and sharing with aggregators like ArchiveGrid and CDL, to the enormous potential for data exchange, linking, and repurposing (so many possibilities!).  I would very much enjoy the opportunity to further the understanding, development, adoption, and use of encoding standards within the archival community.