Fellows' Ernst Posner Award: Wendy Duff and Jessica Haskell

Wendy Duff, professor of archives and records management at the University of Toronto, and Jessica Haskell, a graduate of the Master of Information Program at the University of Toronto, are the 2016 recipients of the Society of American Archivists' Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award.

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. Duff and Haskell were honored for their article “New Uses for Old Records: A Rhizomatic Approach to Archival Access,” which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of The American Archivist (vol. 78, no. 1).

In their article, Duff and Haskell explore a more radical approach to user engagement by drawing on the concept of the rhizome, an open, nonhierarchical, and acentric system. Born-digital records and social media have created an archival universe that no longer follows traditional hierarchical approaches to description and has altered the world of access. Citing examples of collaborative projects and techniques, Duff and Haskell encourage a reworking of the traditional model and raise important questions regarding the implications of such projects and the need for professional guidelines for dealing with ethical issues and privacy.

The Award Committee noted that their research convincingly “bridges archival and non-archival sources” and the article provides a “different conceptual lens through which to view the changing world of access.”