Fellow: Robin Chandler

Robin Chandler, archives consultant, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon July 23–29. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Chandler’s expertise and leadership has helped many nascent archives program get established. She began working in archives and special collections in a series of progressively more responsible positions in science and technology organizations at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming the head of special collections at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), director of the Digital Library Program at the University of California, San Diego, and then associate university librarian at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Her groundbreaking work with the Tobacco Control Archives at UCSF, is recognized as a model project in digital archives. Chandler’s advocacy for the project’s mission to provide universal access to and preservation of the archives ensured its success. In addition, the availability of tobacco industry documents online has influenced health policy on a national scale and resulted in public health statutes across the United States.

As the first full-time permanent manager of the Online Archive of California (OAC), an early consortium of online finding aids which received SAA’s C.F.W. Coker Award for innovative development in archival description in 2005, Chandler helped transition the OAC from a grant-funded project to a stable and innovative international resource. She then assisted colleagues on similar projects to organize, acquire funding, and establish the Northwest Digital Archives and the Texas Archives and Records and Records Online. As one supporter noted, “Chandler’s direction of the OAC working group accelerated the advancement and adoption of national standards and the development of richer archives services in California and beyond.”

Chandler has held various leadership positions in both SAA and the Society of California Archivists (SCA), where she has chaired or co-chaired a number of committees, roundtables, and task forces, as well as served as SCA president. Her supporters note her “steadfast commitment to the improvement of archival practice” and describe her as a “facilitator, bringing the right people together to do incredibly important things for the institutions she works for and for the profession.”

Chandler is one of six new Fellows named in 2017. There are currently 189 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.