American Archivist Calls for Articles on Archival Accessioning

The American Archivist editorial board invites submissions for a special section in American Archivist illuminating the wide-ranging spectrum of archival accessioning practices in the archives field today.

This special section will place dual emphasis on the process and output of the National Best Practices for Archival Accessioning Working Group (ABP), along with broader practical experiences and perspectives from folks actively working to implement a diverse range of accessioning labor throughout the archival lifecycle in different contexts. We strongly encourage submissions that are practical in nature, as well as works that explore contemporary accessioning theory and praxis.

Submissions can explore any of the many operational facets of contemporary archival accessioning, including:

  • pre-custodial engagement, donor relations, radical empathy and candor, and relationship building/maintenance
  • packing and transportation of collection material
  • foundational and/or iterative archival description
  • development of an accessioning program, particularly as it relates to operational impact and sustainable stewardship
  • born-digital accessioning
  • ethical concerns and lived experiences related to accessioning practices
  • physical stabilization, preservation interventions, space usage, and stacks management
  • sustainability and climate impact of accessioning practices
  • appraisal, deaccessioning, and reappraisal
  • management of and advocacy for accessioning labor
  • perspectives on the evolution of archival accessioning; critical analysis of foundational concepts; archival concepts (e.g., provenance, respect des fonds, appraisal) in relation to contemporary accessioning practices
  • post-colonial, post-custodial, reparative, and/or community-centered approaches to accessioning
  • applied theoretical frameworks (e.g., critical race theory, feminist theory)
  • perspectives on archival education and training for accessioning 
  • members of the National Best Practices for Archival Accessioning Working Group (ABP) are particularly encouraged to submit pieces that place the newly developed best practices into real world contexts or that expand upon aspects of the best practices

We seek submissions from authors with a variety of career experiences and diverse perspectives related to archival accessioning practices. The editorial team especially encourages submissions from first-time authors and early-career archives and special collections professionals, as well as from colleagues working in nonprofit organizations; HBCUs, AANAPISIs, and/or HSIs; public libraries; museums; and community archives.

Submissions may take any of the following forms:

  • Research Articles: analytical and critical expositions based on original investigation or on systematic review of literature. (Suggested length: 8,000 words)
  • Case Studies: analytical reports of projects or activities that take place in a specific setting and offer the basis for emulation or comparison in other settings. (Suggested length: 3,000 words)
  • Perspectives: commentaries, reflective or opinion pieces, addressing issues or practices that concern archivists and their constituents. (Suggested length: 2,000-2500 words)
  • Professional Resources: can be annotated bibliographies, other items designed for practical use within the profession, or essays that review the developments (as opposed to the literature) in specified areas in a way that describes particular initiatives and places them in the context of broader trends. (Length varies)

American Archivist is the peer-reviewed, semi-annual journal of the Society of American Archivists. Established in 1938, the journal seeks to reflect thinking about theoretical and practical developments in the archival profession; the relationships between archivists and the creators and users of archives; and cultural, social, legal, and technological developments that affect the nature of recorded information and the need to create and maintain it. 

Submissions will be reviewed by the editorial team, following American Archivist editorial policies. All submissions selected for inclusion in this special section will go through the American Archivist peer review process, the rubric for which can be found here

Inquiries and submissions can be sent to: 

The deadline for submissions is October 1st, 2024.

Editorial Team

Rosemary K. J. Davis
Head, Archival Accessioning
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library 
Yale University Library

Rachel Searcy
Accessioning Archivist, Archival Collections Management
New York University Libraries

Audra Eagle Yun
Head of Special Collections & Archives
University Archivist
University of California, Irvine Libraries