Distinguished Service Award: BitCurator Consortium

The BitCurator Consortium (BCC), a community-led membership association that supports archival practitioners working with born-digital materials, is the 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes an archives institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or government organization that has given outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archives profession.

Launched in 2014, BCC provides supportive learning spaces, develops practical resources, and supports research to meet the needs of archivists working with historically significant born-digital records. The consortium benefits archivists and digital archives programs at all levels of expertise and needs, advocates for free and open-source tools, and demonstrates a successful model for shared leadership. Since its inception, BCC has engaged in projects that have significantly impacted digital curation practices, including the IMLS-funded projects “Sustaining Digital Curation and Preservation”; “Investigating, Synchronizing, and Modeling a Range of Archival Workflows for Born-Digital Content (OSSArcFlow)”; and BitCuratorEdu. BCC’s inclusive and accessible practices include offering a sliding scale (free to low cost) for its annual BitCurator Forum to early-career archivists and those at institutions with little funding.

Many supporters have praised BCC’s decentralized knowledge-sharing and thoughtful community building. The SAA Awards Committee commends the consortium for its impressive impact in building a practitioner-led learning community that offers practical support for sustainable digital curation. One participant stated: “At every step of my professional career, BCC has been there to help me grow. I do not believe that I would be the digital archivist that I am without the BCC community.”

SAA’s Distinguished Service Award was established in 1964. Previous recipients include ChromaDiverse, Inc., the Knox County Archives in Tennessee; and the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida.