Council Exemplary Service Award: Documenting the Now

Documenting the Now (DocNow) is a 2018 recipient of the Society of American Archivists’ Council Exemplary Service Award, which recognizes special contributions made to the archives profession—and especially to SAA—and is given at the discretion of the SAA Council.

DocNow was formed in 2016 as a collaboration of the University of Maryland, University of California at Riverside, and Washington University in St. Louis via a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For the past three years, DocNow’s Team and Advisory Board have worked tirelessly to develop user-friendly tools and an international community that extends far beyond that of professional archivists. In seeking to provide an ethical framework for the collection and preservation of social media and web content, DocNow has facilitated an open forum for conversations about technology, surveillance, communities, and the ethics of documentation.

DocNow’s work embodies many of SAA’s core values, including access and use; accountability; advocacy; diversity and inclusion; history and memory; professionalism; responsible custody; service; transparency; and social responsibility—and promotes these values to a variety of communities for the public good. DocNow also challenges professional archivists to think critically about their actions and the results of their actions in documenting historical change through social media, while encouraging radical empathy for those communities from which we collect.

The Council recognizes and thanks the current and former DocNow Team members and DocNow Advisory Board members who have developed, sustained, and continuously expanded Documenting the Now.