Fellows' Ernst Posner Award: Scott Cline

Scott Cline, city archivist and director of the Seattle Municipal Archives and Records Management Program, is the 2013 recipient of the Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA).  Established in 1982, the award recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in SAA’s journal, The American Archivist. Cline was honored for his article “‘Dust Clouds of Camels Shall Cover You’: Covenant and the Archival Endeavor,” which appeared in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of The American Archivist (vol. 75, no. 2).

The stated goal of Cline’s essay was to analyze “meaning in our individual lives and how we transmit personal value to our archival work and create value through our actions.” The article demonstrates how the concept of the covenant—which, Cline writes, “binds people together in relationships that allow the individual to remain and live freely, but correspondingly fosters mutual respect and natural duty to community, polity, and civil society”—can and should be applied to the archives profession.

The Award Committee noted that the article provides “a fresh and useful perspective for reviewing our moral responsibilities as professional archivists” and “engages both the heart and the mind.”

“‘Dust Clouds of Camels Shall Cover You’” is a companion piece to Cline’s previous article “To the Limit of Our Integrity: Reflections on Archival Being,” which was published in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of The American Archivist (vol. 72, no. 2) and won the 2010 Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award.

The award is named for Ernst Posner, an SAA Fellow and former president as well as a distinguished author.