Council Exemplary Service Award: William J. Maher

William J. Maher, university archivist and professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, is a 2016 recipient of the Society of American Archivists' Council Exemplary Service Award. The award recognizes a special contribution to the archives profession—and especially to SAA—and is given at the discretion of the SAA Council.

Across his lengthy and outstanding career, Maher has provided significant and continuous leadership to SAA, including serving as its 53rd president in 1997–1998, authoring the seminal text The Management of College and University Archives (1992), and being an active member of the Intellectual Property Working Group since its inception in 2001.

Maher’s ongoing commitment to copyright issues on behalf of the documentary record, archives, archivists, and researchers throughout the world is impressive. He has effectively represented SAA at eight week-long meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, the global forum for intellectual property policy development and cooperation. Through drafting presentations, attending numerous meetings and strategy sessions with non-governmental organizations, and putting in countless hours of travel, Maher has advocated to allow archivists to share rare and vital resources across international borders—without the concern of violating a patchwork of national laws—and thereby to increase access to important information.

The Council noted that “through his persistent and thoughtful contributions, [Maher] has succeeded in educating international policymakers about the value of archives and ensuring that the unique needs of archives users are voiced.”