Procedures for Review of Non-endorsed External Standards for Inclusion in the Standards Portal

[Draft shared at Standards Portal meeting, SAA Annual Meeting, August 2012]


The Standards Portal is SAA’s clearinghouse for archives-based standards information. It includes standards developed or explicitly endorsed by SAA as well as other external standards that impact archival practice, including technical standards, conventions, rules, guidelines, and best practices.

External standards are developed by other organizations that are regularly consulted by archivists in the course of performing their work, including standards created and maintained by such organizations as the International Council on Archives, the Library of Congress, or the American Library Association. The procedures for recommending an external standard that has not gone through the formal endorsement process are provided here.

The Standards Committee also accepts proposals for SAA endorsement of an external standard [link]. Proposals for SAA’s endorsement of a standard developed by an external organization undergo a more structured review process than submissions for inclusion in the Standards Portal and must be submitted by official groups within SAA, rather than by individual SAA members. 

I. Submission of a Proposal to Include a Non-endorsed External Standard in the Standards Portal 

Proposals must be submitted by a current member of the Society of American Archivists.

I.A. The proposing member shall:

I.A.1. Download a blank PROPOSAL FORM from the Standards Committee webpage on the SAA website.

I.A.2. Complete the PROPOSAL FORM and submit it to the Standards Committee co-chairs. The form shall include:

  • Title of the standard;
  • Brief summary of the standard (65 words or less);
  • External organization/Standard developer; and
  • Location of the standard (website link, citation, publication details, etc.).

I.B. The Standards Committee co-chairs shall:

I.B.1. Acknowledge receipt of the PROPOSAL FORM by the proposing member. The Standards Committee co-chairs will return proposal forms that are incomplete or require revisions and request they be revised and resubmitted.

I.B.2. Distribute copies of the enhanced PROPOSAL FORM for review by the other members of the Standards Committee, including subgroup chairs and the SAA Council liaison. Subgroup chairs may also distribute the proposal form to their technical subcommittees or development and review teams.

Committee members should use the following criteria to determine whether the standard is appropriate for inclusion in the Portal:

  • Effect/impact of the standard on archival practice;
  • Prevalence of standard's use in the archives profession 
  • Review and revision procedures of the standard by the developing organization; and
  • Known existing standards that are closely related to or affected by the standard being proposed for endorsement.

I.B.4. Collect comments, suggestions, or objections from members of the Standards Committee and other subgroups to which the proposal was distributed.

I.B.5. In rare cases warranting further discussion, arrange for a meeting to determine whether there is a consensus to include the standard in the Standards Portal.

II. Standards Committee Action in Response to Proposal 

The Standards Committee will take one of the following actions based on informal committee response to the proposal:

II.A. Decline.

The Standards Committee may decline to approve the proposal to include an non-endorsed external standard in the Standards Portal because: 1) the external standard is in direct conflict with an SAA-adopted standard or policy; 2) there is insufficient demand or potential benefit to SAA members; 3) the standard is not widely adopted or used in the archives field; or 4) the review process does not allow for SAA contribution or comment.

II.B. Approve.

If the Standards Committee agrees that a non-endorsed external standard has benefit to the SAA community, it will publish the full standard or link to the standard on the Standards Portal.

II.C. Refer

If the Standards Committee feels that the standard would benefit from greater authority within the archives field, it may refer the proposal to an SAA component group to initiate a proposal for SAA Endorsement of an External Standard [link to procedures].