2015 Security Roundtable Report

Date: 13 October 2015


Name of Section/Roundtable: Security Roundtable





Senior Co-Chair - Rachel Seale


Junior Co-Chair - Bryan Whitledge


Secretary - Matthew McInery


Report from annual meeting:

  • Number of attendees: 10
  • Election results:


  • Summary of meeting activities:

 (Please see minutes attached at end of report)


Completed projects/activities: Updated microsite Security Resources


Ongoing projects/activities: Continue to update microsite with new resources


New projects/activities: Officers will email listserv regularly to generate discussion & share resources. Officers will organize a session proposal for the 2016 conference.


Initiatives associated with the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan: Follow up on member survey from 2013 (survey to identify new Roundtable priorities based on the revised mission statement as well as activities related to the goals as outlined in the new Strategic Plan) and provide resources & case studies on microsite.


Questions/concerns for Council attention: None




Society of American Archivists

Security Roundtable

August 19, 2015

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Room 11, Cleveland Convention Center – Cleveland, Ohio



Alix Bentrud, SAA Preservation Section Chair

April Conant, Allied Vaughn

Richard Dine, National Archives and Records Administration

Evan Earle, Cornell University

Rebecca Elder, Private Consultant

Beth Lathrop, The Strong

Shelby Sanett, National Archives and Records Administration

Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Bonnie Weddle, New York State Archives

Bryan Whitledge, Central Michigan University


1.         Welcome

Bryan Whitledge, current Secretary and incoming Junior Co-Chair present and presiding. Announcement of 2015 elections results – Rachel Seale is Senior Co-Chair, Bryan Whitledge is Junior Co-Chair, and Matt McEniry is Secretary.


2.         Approval of Last Year’s Minutes

            Minutes approved


3.         SAA Council Liaison Report

Pam Hackbart-Dean, SAA Council Liaison for the Security Roundtable introduced herself and then reported highlights of the 2015 SAA Council Meeting.

New Proposal to do reorganize SAA Sections and Roundtables as Affinity Groups. No limit on the number of Affinity Groups to which one could be a member. Membership would be limited to SAA members only (unlike current system in which those outside SAA can be members of Roundtables). There is a proposal for a minimum membership threshold of 4% of the total membership of SAA for any Affinity Group. Council is taking comments on the Council microsite.

            There is a proposed dues increase for all SAA members.


After Pam Hackbart-Dean Left, Bryan noted that the 4% membership threshold of the Affinity Group proposal would apply to a small Roundtable like Security and that anyone with concerns should use the Council’s comment mechanism to voice their concerns.


4.         Introductions

Participants introduced themselves and their organizational affiliation.


5.         Round Table Discussions

            Informal discussion among the entire group about a variety of topics. Topics included:


Case studies re: an institution where an HVAC staff member regularly took car of the dehumidifiers in the closed stacks by himself. In addition, he would frequently take lunch breaks and peruse the unprocessed collections at times when he wasn’t working on equipment. Another topic was a new library administrator who insisted on having individual access to the special collections and archives after hours in order to conduct tours with donors. The shared knowledge and expertise in the room made several suggestions from everything as simple as creating a drain in the floor so the dehumidifiers do not need to be emptied to involved training processes for all staff members to understand the need for supervision in the stacks.


The Boston Public Library case was discussed, in which two high-value items were suspected to be stolen. In actuality, they were misplaced, but the reaction of the institution and the city caused a great deal of stress on the organization. Topics of discussion centered on the balance between “overreacting” and getting the word out to the public to bring attention to the possibility of stolen materials turning up in the public on the one hand and keeping it quiet and assessing everything thoroughly before bringing in the authorities, and in this case, the city on the other hand.


Question on the how the efforts of the NARA Archival Recovery Team are affecting other institutions, particularly small institutions without the resources to pursue suspected thefts. Richard Dine and Shelby Sanett said that there has not been a study on the residual effects that NARAs efforts are having across the spectrum of archival institutions. Additionally, there are plans for an SAA workshop about security that would be procedural in nature and good for any size institution (one to be conducted in New Orleans at Tulane and possibly doing one in conjunction with future SAA Annual Meetings).


Topic arouse about helping emergency management professionals to understand that the cultural community is a value for ensuring that the community as a whole reacts well. Particular instances included Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The NY State response team that includes State Archives representatives was cited as an example. Suggestions for improving crisis situations included preparedness via risk assessment programs and communicating and educating emergency responders before there is a crisis.


Concern was voiced that the Security RT meeting seemed to have low attendance and there was a question of what could be done to bring attention to a topic that we all place a high priority on. Talk was mentioned about the use of SAA sessions to highlight case studies, lessons learned through the misfortune of others, not being ashamed because of theft or destruction at one’s institution, and premptive actions archivists and institutions can take to ensure their materials are protected.


The question about born-digital materials being held by archives and special collections libraries being vulnerable arose. Particularly, it was mentioned that there are known cases of born digital materials in process of being transferred to the archives (not yet in the possession of the archives) being altered for the future benefit of the individual altering and the transferring the records. The RT agreed that this is an emerging topic the warrants more investigation. Another issue with born-digital record keeping that arose was the possible theft of the high-price technological equipment used for maintaining born-digital records.


8.         Meeting Adjourned

At 5:00 pm the meeting adjourned and all attendees were thanked for attending and for the engaging discussion.


Minutes prepared by Bryan Whitledge, SAA Security Roundtable Secretary, 2014-15.



SAA-SecurityRT-AnnualReport2015.docx19.75 KB

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