SAA RAO Steering Committee Meeting Minutes – March 15, 2018

SAA RAO Steering Committee Notes – March 15, 2018

  1. Welcome and Introductions:

Welcome to the third call of the 2017-2018 year of SAA’s Reference, Access, and Outreach Section!
Brief introduction, round-robin-style of all Steering Committee members.

2. Confirmation of Notetaker:

Rebecca B. is taking notes and will share a draft following the meeting. N.B. Be sure to share with Daria, who is not currently on our distribution list, as well.

 3. Report from the Communications Committee (Alison/Rebecca B.):

Newsletter: Rebecca B. will be sending out the call for content for the RAO Spring newsletter tomorrow (March 16). There will also be a Summer newsletter that will be published shortly before SAA.

- As the blog focuses on general member submissions for the blog, the newsletter will return its primary focus to steering committee and subcommittee/task force reports and information, while still welcoming some member news.

-All of us – as RAO leadership – will be asked to contribute content specifically.

Blog: A call for content was issued in February, and Rebecca is talking with a couple of people who have expressed interest.

23 Things for Archivists (Rebecca B. for Marta): 23 Things had a great blog post by Stacie Williams in December 2017. It's been slow going finding other folks who have the time to commit to a post. There are two folks who have expressed interest who may write something up in the next month or two.

Social Media: Posts on Facebook and Twitter on jobs (mostly "emeritus member" Kathie Otto), RAO business/announcements, and topics of general interest have all been well received, especially on Facebook.

New Forum Addresses Reminder - Rebecca B. will send out to the Steering Committee.

4.RAO Web Content update from Web Liaison: (Alison/Rebecca B. for Kris Bronstad)

 Rebecca B. and Kris are keeping each other looped in on things. Rebecca will give her the meeting notes to post. She will also coordinate with her for posting the newsletter later in the spring.


5.Annual Business Meeting Update (Alison, with Lynn and Daria):

Here’s the text of what was shared with SAA for official posting in the annual conference content:

The meeting will include a robust panel with six panelists addressing concerns central to archivists who work with reference, access, and outreach. The meeting will also include regular business operations, including membership information and discussion. Relatedly the RAO Section has the TPS Unconference which provides a free and public space for archivists, educators, and the public to exchange ideas and experiences related to teaching with primary sources.


The panel is a result of a session that would have made it to the final SAA annual conference: it’s made a good home here at our business meeting – and should be very useful for RAO members. The overall theme of the panel presentation is working with the media, with archivists with this experience and media professionals themselves offering their experiences and insights. Its panelists include:

  • Lynn Smith, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum: Co-organizing the panel, which will discuss PR and interacting with the media.

  • Geof Huth, New York State Unified Court System: Geoff got a lot of press re circuit court archives during their move. The "hook" was Aaron Burr's divorce records, which had a connection to the very popular Alexander Hamilton, with a focus on using an opportunity when it comes up.

  • Miriam Kleiman, National Archives and Records Administration - Miriam is a public information officers for NARA and also a researcher. (JFK assassination files). Will talk about more general issues than just NARA.

  • Michael Ruane, Washington Post - A media person Lynn worked with.

  • Julia Griffin, PBS NewsHour Shares  - A media person Lynn worked with.

  • Daria Labinsky, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum - Co-organizing the panel.

Discussion of Section Meeting Contents and Logistics:

  • Attendance: How many people usually come to the RAO Section meeting? Alison thinks 60-80. Jill: varies. DC popular, so could have 75-80 people. Jill notes requesting the specific room setup well in advance with Felicia is important, as well as tech/AV requests.

  • Date and time of meeting per SAA Connect posting online indicates time and date (tentative?) of Thurs. 8/16, 4:15-5:30 p.m. ( -- may require SAA login to view).

  • Reports from Subcommittees and Task Forces: Will updates from subcommittees be rolled into the business meeting. If so, how much time should be allotted for them? What subcommittees would be included?

    • The plan is to have subcommittee/task force reports. Other subcommittees reporting could include:

      • Access to Electronic Records Working Group (final report)

      • Exhibits and Events Committee (E2)

      • Public Services Assessment Committee (PSAC)

      • Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS)

      • Communications Committee (incl. Website and 23 Things)

  • Other Forums: Are there other forums at which PSAC and other subcommittees can and should provide updates? If so, who should be asked? SAA Council?

  • Newly Elected Members: Business meeting will include announcement and introduction of new leadership. To clarify, the actual election will take place online prior to the meeting, as in past years.

  • Timing and Length of Business Meeting: Is 10" introduction, 30" business meeting, 5" introduction of panel, and the rest (30") for the panel enough time for the panel?

    • Daria suggests it is a little light but could could be worked with. Ten minutes per panelist is preferable over eight minutes per panelist.

    • Biographical information on the panelists could be shared in advance in the newsletter [and/or blog]. This would provide good content for our communication channels and an opportunity to solicit advance questions for the panel, particularly for those unable to attend in person.

    • Subcommittee/task force reports could also be shared in advance so that the in-person reports during the business meeting could possibly be briefer.

    • A recap of the proceedings could also be shared after the meeting, which would be especially beneficial for those unable to attend.

    • Let Alison know what is needed for logistics.

    • Question on video recordings: If people are showing clips during the panel, will that be a problem because of session recordings? Are section meetings recorded like the education sessions are?

      • It is thought that section meetings are not/are no longer recorded. [Education sections are recorded on audio only, not video, by SAA's vendor, and even these can vary by speaker preference. Section meetings have not been recorded, at least not in recent past years. --rab]

6.Exhibits and Events Committee (Jill):

Exhibits and Events will have a 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. meeting on Wednesday in the conference hotel at the SAA annual meeting. There will be some sort of subject-driven discussion and presentation, a break, and then a "blueprint" planning session for committee activities for the year ahead.


 7. Teaching with Primary Sources (Alison):

RAO has been talking with, and is very supportive of, the Teaching with Primary Sources Unconference. This is another great opportunity for RAO members.


 8. Archivists to the Rescue! (Alison)

  • Also – RAO has partnered with the SAA Lone Arrangers Roundtable to put together the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Archivists to the Rescue! The project strives to bring low- and no-cost basic archival training workshops to non-professional archivists and cultural heritage professionals who cannot afford typical professional development courses and/or the transportation costs required to travel outside of their areas for similar workshops. The drive behind this effort is to help small organizations and local communities to preserve and make accessible their archival records that are hidden due to a lack of access to information on preservation and archival practices. This will be debuting in the fall – watch for more information.

  • Alison was approached by Deb Schiff, Vice Chair/Chair Elect of the Lone Arrangers Section about this opportunity. The aims of the pilot are to make these training workshops free or at least low cost, and to spread them beyond the East Coast. This first year's program is in New Jersey.

  • [It didn't occur to me during the call, but there is something like this that we are trying to do in Michigan, "Adopt an Archive," an effort by Michigan Archival Association and the Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board. Perhaps RAO and/or the Lone Arrangers would want to coordinate with RAAC to see what other regional and state associations are already working on or are interested in supporting similar efforts and, where they exist, cooperate/piggyback with them.--Rebecca B.]

9) RAO Nominating Committee (Alison)

I want to note that I’ve heard from the RAO Nominating Committee. They’re working hard on getting a slate together for our upcoming election – they’ll let us know! Su Kim is working on this.


10) Other Business:

    1. Public Services Assessment Committee (Amanda)

  • Amanda delivered a report on behalf of herself and Jaime on the group's progress since December. They have broken down the work in to components and prioritized it. They wrote charges and identified team leaders for each charge. Everyone they contacted responded yes, and now they are reaching out to confirm with everyone. The are having joint phone calls with team leaders every two months.

  • Emily Hardman is leading up the Vendors Team (the current name). Amanda will be talking to Joanne Archive (Quick Guide for Metrics and Measurements Report). Jaime is in contact with her team leads.

  • Amanda contacted Rebecca M. and Rebecca B. about consolidating the information in one location, which would be the RAO Google Drive. Rebecca M. gave them access, and Rebecca B. now confirms this is approved, and indeed preferred. Amanda and Jaime will move to put relevant files on the drive. It is exciting to have a centralized place for the data to be stored.

  • Talk about the RAO newsletter is timely, as PSAC wants to put word out about the committee charge, work to this point, team charges, and a renewed call for volunteers. Amanda as Communications Head will work with Rebecca B. on this.

  • Jamie made contact with a data repository specialist. More updates to come on that.

  • Brought up presenting at the annual conference.

  • Will email Steering Committee if they have other questions.

b. Case Studies for Teaching with Primary Sources (Heather)

Heather saw the article by Bill Landis referencing RAO, implying that RAO has been intimately involved, which has not been the case. However, they haven't had been able to get in touch with Bill after multiple emails. After seeking guidance from the Steering Committee,  Heather determined that she and JoyEllen will try again, first with another email and then with a phone call. They may cc Alison on the email and ask her to contact Bill if needed after that.


 c. Electronic Records Working Group (Alison) [from Agenda]


The members of the Electronic Records Working Group have been in discussion and find that their work with that group is duplicative to what other groups are doing. Thus this group has disbanded.



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