Standards Committee Charge

I. Purpose

The Standards Committee is responsible for initiating and facilitating the development of standards;* providing review and comment on standards that are relevant to archival theory and practice; educating the archives community about the value and role of standards; and partnering with related information management professional organizations on standards of mutual concern and interest.

* For the purposes of this document, the term "standards" includes standards, technical standards, conventions, rules, guidelines, and best practices. See Standards Development and Review for more information.

II. Committee Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The Standards Committee consists of nine appointed members who serve staggered three-year terms, one of whom shall serve as chair. The Committee also shall include ex officio members, including chairs of all technical subcommittees and development and review teams that report to the Standards Committee, representatives of other SAA groups whose interests and activities closely interact with those of the Standards Committee, and members who serve as SAA's representatives to external organizations that deal with matters within the Committee's area of concern. Ex officio members shall include:

The SAA Vice President annually appoints three members, whose terms begin at the end of the Annual Meeting. The Vice President biennially appoints the chair. The chair shall serve a two-year term after serving for at least one year on the Standards Committee. Following the chair's two-year appointment, the chair shall become an ex officio member for one year.

Technical subcommittees.

The Standards Committee may form (and disband) technical subcommittees. The Committee will charge these technical subcommittees to oversee all SAA adopted standards. Technical subcommittees are responsible for the maintenance and review of the assigned standard (which requires that they monitor all feedback and calls for revision of the standard) and for promoting the standard and educating appropriate communities about it. Technical subcommittee chairs serve as regular or ex officio members of the Standards Committee. With the recommendations of the Standards Committee, the SAA Vice President appoints technical subcommittee chairs and members. Technical subcommittee members must have expertise related to the standard that they are responsible for maintaining. Technical subcommittees may be disbanded by the Standards Committee with Council approval if the standard for which they are responsible is not scheduled for review. Technical subcommittees are ongoing as long as the adopted standard remains in use.

Development and review teams.

The Standards Committee may form (and disband) development and review teams around a project to develop a specific standard or a particular topic (such as description or preservation). All groups that are researching and developing a standard are given a development and review team designation. When the Standards Committee identifies areas that require specialized or technical expertise in which the number of standards, the degree of technical expertise required, and the speed of change in the standards landscape are such that the Standards Committee by itself could not keep pace, it appoints a development and review team to monitor and review these standards. Development and review teams might also be built around a particular topic to study the need for standards in that area. Development and review teams are ad hoc and re-chargeable annually.

For all approved standards development projects, the Standards Committee assigns a development and review team to be responsible for developing the standard, which will most often be the group that proposed the original project. Development and review team chairs shall be appointed by the SAA Vice President and serve as regular or ex officio members of the Standards Committee.

III. Reporting Procedures

The chair prepares an annual report and submits it to the Council in accordance with established procedures. The chair is responsible for coordinating the formulation and evaluation of the annual report and other planning documents as needed in consultation with Standards Committee members. The chair of each current technical subcommittee and development and review team is responsible for preparing and submitting an annual report of the group's activities to the Standards Committee chair.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill its mission as described above, the Standards Committee is specifically charged to:

  • Oversee the process of standards development by identifying standards needs; establishing technical subcommittees or development and review teams, as necessary, to research, prepare, monitor, and review standards; and recommending action on proposed standards to the SAA Council.
  • Develop, implement, and periodically review a profession-wide plan to address all standards needs across all the core competencies of the profession.
  • Monitor and review, and recommend for endorsement when appropriate, other national and international standards that affect archival practice.
  • Implement a process for the periodic review of all standards that are relevant to archival theory and practice.
  • Conduct maintenance reviews of SAA-adopted standards in accordance with established review cycles.
  • Publicize and promote standards-related news and information to the archives community.
  • Work in concert with the Program and Education committees and SAA staff to endorse and develop workshops, conference programs, and other educational opportunities related to archives standards.
  • Collaborate with international and national associations on standards development projects, with an understanding that the SAA Council must approve in advance all contractual and financial obligations.

VI. Meetings

The Standards Committee meets once per year at the SAA annual meeting. Depending on operational need and contingent on SAA Council funding, the Committee or subgroups of it may meet midyear. Periodic conference call meetings may be scheduled as needed. Although regular meetings are open to any SAA member who wishes to attend, the Committee shall also hold public meetings as needed at the SAA annual meeting to report on the progress of ongoing standards development or to review projects and to receive questions and suggestions.

Approved by the SAA Council: June 1991 (for a period of three years); June 1992, extended to June 1995
Revised: June 1998, February 2010