VIRTUAL BOOK DISCUSSION! As a Matter of Fact: Convincing the World That Archives Matter

As a Matter of Fact: Convincing the World That Archives Matter 

Thursday, March 25, 2021, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Central Time  

Free virtual event sponsored by SAA Publications Board — click here to view it

In her book, A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age, Laura Millar makes the case that records, archives, data, and other sources of documentary proof are crucial in fostering a society that is respectful, inclusive, democratic, and self-aware. Events in the past year alone—such as the COVID-19 pandemic, protests driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol—illustrate the urgent need for authentic and accessible sources of evidence, from medical statistics to live videos to Twitter messages and Facebook posts.

This panel discussion will continue the book’s themes as the participants explore:

  • changes both in the nature of archives and in the role of archival professionals,
  • steps that archivists can take to raise public awareness of the value of evidence and authenticity of archival sources, and 
  • the critical need to add historically underrepresented voices and narratives.

A truer and more inclusive documentary record demands new strategies and different approaches. Join colleagues for this virtual book discussion to consider why archives matter today, and how we can—and must—convince the world of their value!


Laura Millar is an independent consultant in records, archives, and information management, who works with governments, universities, colleges, and other agencies around the world. Her work has ranged from developing electronic records management strategies to establishing community archival programs to advising First Nations’ communities on methods for preserving various types of evidence. Laura’s textbook Archives: Principles and Practices received SAA’s Waldo Gifford Leland Award for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in 2011, and her newest book, A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age, is jointly published by SAA and ALA in the new series Archival Futures, and is this year’s One Book, One Profession title. 

Valencia L. Johnson is the archivist for Student Life at Princeton University. In addition to being a Certified Archivist, she holds a bachelor of arts in American studies and history from the University of Kansas and a master of arts in museum studies from Baylor University. She engages with student organizations on managing and preserving their records in analog and born-digital formats. As the creator of Amp Up Your Archives program, she works to create records management and archival initiatives to inspire students to view their records and materials as important documentation that is an equal to the administrative record of the university. 

Geoffrey Yeo taught archives and records management for almost twenty years in the Department of Information Studies at University College London, UK, where he is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow. He is coauthor of Managing Records: A Handbook of Principles and Practice (2003) and author of Records, Information and Data: Exploring the Role of Record-Keeping in an Information Culture (2018), and two articles in SAA's journal American Archivist addressing "Concepts of Record" (Evidence, Information, and Persistent Representations and Prototypes and Boundary Objects). His newest book, Record-Making and Record-Keeping in Early Societies, is forthcoming from Routledge in April.

 Louis Jones is the field archivist for the Walter P. Reuther Library and an adjunct faculty professor in the School of Information Sciences at Wayne State University, where he teaches the introductory course in archival administration and has served as the faculty advisor to the SAA Student Chapter. He served for nearly twenty years as archivist for the Service Employees International Union, also based at Wayne State University. He is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and a past president of the Academy of Certified Archivists.

Stacie Williams is the division chief of Archives and Special Collections at the Chicago Public Library. She has worked in archives or special collections at Harvard University, Lexington Public Library, and the University of Kentucky. She is currently SAA's Publications Editor and chair of the Publications Board (2020–2023). Her published work has appeared in SAA’s journal American ArchivistJournal of Critical Library and Information StudiesLitHubNew York Magazine, and The Rumpus.

Registration required for this FREE event—click here! 

A Matter of Facts is the 2021 selection for the One Book, One Profession reading initiative sponsored by the SAA Publications Board. Get your community—and stakeholders—to read it, too!  Buy the book here.