One Book, One Profession 2021-2023

The SAA Publications Board has selected for its 2021-2023 One Book, One Profession reading initiative the award-winning Reference and Access for Archives and Manuscripts by Cheryl Oestreicher. The book is volume 4 in the acclaimed Archival Fundamentals Series III, with Cheryl the recipient of SAA's 2021 Waldo Gifford Leland Award for writing of superior excellence and usefulness.

As Cheryl notes in her book's introduction, access is the ability to use resources to find information, and reference is how archivists facilitate that ability. Access and reference services are central to advancing knowledge and offering people opportunities to engage with historical resources. Nearly all archival functions—from acquisition through processing—are employed with access as the ultimate goal.

This requires continual revision to our approaches to reference and access practices, with particular attention to removing barriers that prevent some people from accessing archives. Cheryl effectively breaks down components of physical, virtual, and intellectual access; offers guidance for archivists encountering various accessibility, privacy, and legal challenges; and presents useful case studies and tools for evaluating reference programs.

As a profession rooted in physical spaces working with physical materials, archivists have had to shift the concept of access and reference practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, calls for justice and equity have influenced how archivists think about what we collect, who are audiences are, how we serve and engage patrons, what efforts will make archives more accessible, and how we can be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive as a profession.

There is plenty to ponder and build on in this compelling volume. Let's read Reference and Access for Archives and Manuscripts together!

Get the Book!

Host a Book Discussion via Zoom

  • Host a book discussion within your institution, among archivists in your local community, or at a regional meeting. 
  • LitLovers has some great tips for running a book club and facilitating discussion.
  • SAA can provide Zoom access.

Download Study Guide Questions

Participate in Selected Events

  • Virtual panel discussion sponsored by the SAA Publications Board. [INFO FORTHCOMINNG]

One Book, One Profession Previous Selections

2020/21: A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age 

2019/20: Archival Values: Essays in Honor of Mark A. Greene

2018/19: Perspectives on Women's Archives

2017/18: Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion

2016/17: Teaching with Primary Sources