Crunching numbers on the Spontaneous Scholarships & where you can find me at #saa14

I’m horrible with numbers, and yet I’m fascinated by them. Now that we’ve been running the Spontaneous Scholarships for a few years, I thought it was a good time to look back over the results and see if there were any interesting statistics. (Also it was an excellent form of procrastination on a day when I something else to do!)

  • Out of the 98 people who received Spontaneous Scholarships between 2011-13, 75 are still SAA members. That seems like a decent retention rate, I think. Of the 23 who have dropped, 13 were students, 10 were regular members. 13 received scholarships in 2011. 5 in 2012. 5 in 2013. And, of course, that is not to say that those 23 people are no longer active in the profession–they’re just not paying dues to SAA.
  • Over the past four years of the program (2011-2014) there have been donations from 225 people. Of those, 23 people have made donations in each of the four years. An additional 31 people have made donations in 3 out of the 4 years. So just a little under 25% of the donors have given more than half of the time.
  • Of those 225 donors, 30 were people who have received scholarships. One person donated two years before she got a scholarship. Seven people made donations in the same year they received assistance (and most of them have continued to give). We have now given out scholarships to 148 people, but 50 of those people only received help this past year. As you might expect, the pattern is for people to begin donating in the years after they receive a scholarship, so this bodes well for donations in 2015, I hope.

Those seem like good results, I think, in addition to the intangible ones expressed by both donors and recipients.

If you a donor, scholarship recipient (past or current), contributor to one of the case study books, or just someone who wants to say hi, if you’re at the SAA annual meeting you will probably be able to find me hanging around the Rowman & Littlefield booth in the exhibit hall during the breaks or at the tweetup. And of course I’ll be accepting the Spotlight Award at the awards ceremony in recognition for the scholarship program. This is my first SAA meeting since I rotated off my 3-year term on Council, and I’m looking forward to a more relaxed conference experience! Hope to see many of you there.



Did you know recordings of past SAA meeting sessions are now available online?

You did? Aren’t you clever! Apparently it happened last August and I missed the announcement or forgot about it.

Sessions from 2006-2011 can be accessed on the SAA site via this announcement and there are also links for each year in the section of the website for past annual meetings.  Hopefully the vendor who records the sessions will be equally gracious in providing rolling access to more recent content.

It’s now the SAA-Award Winning Spontaneous Scholarship program (plus update on stats)

With about ten days to go in this year’s campaign, we have some great news to share. I am delighted to announce that SAA has honored me with this year’s Spotlight Award for the Spontaneous Scholarships. This award recognizes “the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the profession and archives collections—work that does not typically receive public recognition.” Regular readers will have no doubt about how the scholarships benefit the profession, but if you’d like to read the SAA statement accompanying the award, it’s available here. (You may also browse the full list of award recipients here. It’s worth spending some time learning about the work of these great people and organizations.)

My deepest thanks to those responsible for nominating me, and, of course, there are no scholarships without the donors, so heartfelt thanks to all of you who have made this program continue to be successful over the years.

And speaking of donors … we now have 76 of them. So the generous donor who volunteered to contribute $1  for every contributor will have to dig a bit deeper. Can we push him/her to a $100 donation?I think we can. We’ve already succeeded in meeting the pledge to match all donations by SNAP Roundtable members, up to $1,000, so thanks to all the members of SNAP who have made donations, big and small.

This morning’s tally of donations stands at $6,360. We now have 33 student applicants and 27 people who will be registering at the full SAA member rate, which means we currently have enough to fund 48.2% of the applicant pool. That’s certainly very good, but as you might expect there is usually a last minute rush of names being thrown into the virtual hat, so I cannot feel complacent. With things wrapping up on June 27, there’s still a lot of time for people to donate and apply. If you need information about how to do either, here’s the original announcement post. (You’ll also notice the Donate button at the upper left hand side. Convenient, isn’t it?)

As always, please help spread the word to those who might be able to contribute or who could use a little help. Give if you can, ask if you need!






Time to nominate publications & colleagues for SAA awards–Feb. 28 deadline

Everyone likes to be recognized for the work they do, and you can help your colleagues and the profession by submitting nominations for this year’s round of SAA awards. Here are just a few categories for you to consider, and you can see a full list of all the awards on the SAA site. The deadline for nominations for all awards is February 28.

Continue reading “Time to nominate publications & colleagues for SAA awards–Feb. 28 deadline”

Gauging interest in group (formal or informal) for “mid career” archivists

Hey, all. Just a quick note from the SAA Annual Meeting. There has been some informal talk for a while about the need for some kind of group–maybe formal, maybe informal–for “mid-career” archivists to share information and network (and possibly also serve as a resource for others). Since there are quite a few of us here in New Orleans, we’re going to just have an impromptu meeting to start the discussion

If you’re here at #saa13 and can make it, please join us on Friday from 5:45 – 6:45 (drop in any time) in the Fountain Room on the third floor (this is the informal meeting room space). This is the same time slot as the Awards Ceremony, but it’s the best time I could find. We’ll be discussing what needs might be met by a group and how best to meet them.

If you cannot attend and you’re interested in the topic, please leave a comment on this Google doc, and share what topics you think are most relevant, etc:

(And, yes, we aren’t defining what “mid-career” means. If you feel like you’re mid-career, participate.)


Next up for Archivists Reading Group: The Levy Report (if you don’t know what that is, you should)

I’m excited to say that the next reading over on the Archivists Reading Together blog will be a report commissioned by SAA and published in 1984, The Image of Archivists: Resource Allocaters’ Perceptions, commonly referred to as “The Levy Report.” It’s about 60 pages long and is available as a PDF on the SAA website:

I haven’t read it, although it gets referred to quite often so I’m looking forward to it. This seems a timely topic to return to, although I expect we will find that unfortunately not much has changed in the world since 1984. But perhaps I am being too pessimistic. So please join in  over on that site, beginning around June 21 for a discussion of the Levy Report.

Get ready to give or receive: Campaign for Spontaneous Scholarships 2013 will start in June

This is just a quick note to let you know that I am planning on following up on the success of the last two year’s successful Spontaneous Scholarships campaigns again this year. The Scholarships  will help people pay for the cost of registration for the SAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans ($319 for regular SAA members, $139 for students).

The tentative schedule is that I will kick off the campaign early in June, both by putting up the post asking for donations and starting to accept requests for funding. The process for applicants will be the same–all you need to do is send in your name and indicate if you will be registering as a student or regular SAA member. Anyone who needs some assistance with funding is welcome to apply. The deadline for applicants will be June 29, at which point I will see how much money we have and begin drawing names out of a hat, and keep going until we run out of money. Lucky winners will be notified on or about June 30/July 1, so that you will have time to register before the early bird deadline (July 5). Once I receive confirmation that you’ve registered, I’ll mail you a check to cover your registration for the meeting.

If anyone wants to mail me a check before June, I will happily accept it. I can email you my mailing address or if you’re an SAA member you can just look me up in the member database. I’m listed. In early June I’ll put up the post with a PayPal link, so if you’d rather do that, just wait for June. (Remember that since this is an informal effort your donation is NOT tax deductible. All you will get is a warm fuzzy feeling knowing you helped some of your colleagues and my everlasting gratitude.)

So expect to hear more about this in June. I’ll be trying to find every avenue I can think of in which to ask for donations, and I’m always happy to have people helping me to get the word out. We have been very lucky that in the past two years we’ve had one exceptionally generous door, but we can’t count on that again this year. Every donation helps.

In 2011 we had 94 generous people donate and funded 26 people. In 2012 we had 103 donors and 34 scholarship recipients. I sincerely hope the effort can continue to grow. I know the people who receive the assistance are truly grateful. So, if you need some help, get ready to throw your name in the hat and if you’re in a position to donate, please consider doing so when I start asking in June.

How you can help rev up SAA’s metabolism

On Sunday I was very fortunate to be part of a panel at a Computers in Libraries workshop on change. I’ll be incorporating some of the wisdom of the other speakers into future blog posts, but today I want to cross-pollinate an idea from the workshop with what might have been a standard reminder for people to comment on draft SAA policies.

My co-presenter Leo Mullen, a man with more experience dealing with organizational change than probably all the people who read this blog put together, observed: “You have to adjust the rate of change to meet the organization’s metabolism.”  Far be it from me to disagree with him, but let’s think about that another way. What can you do to speed up an organization’s metabolism? In many cases, that can’t be done, but if the organization in question is SAA, then I think it can.

I think SAA’s metabolism can be changed because in many ways it already has, and that change has been caused by members making it happen. Let’s say you think SAA doesn’t do enough to meet the needs of students and new archives professionals. You can drive that change by forming a new roundtable and then using it as a platform to fill those needs, as a group of SAA members did. Maybe you think the way the annual meeting works needs to be re-thought. That change can happen too, if you push for it (or at least you can get a task force formed; we’re still waiting to see the final results). Or maybe you’re a group of roundtable leaders who want to be able to communicate better with students. You can use commonly available tools to make that happen. My point is that none of those changes originated from “the top.” They came from members saying “we want more” and then making it happen.

And so I come to what you can do to continue that process. You can read and comment on two short documents now available for your feedback. First is the first draft of SAA’s new Strategic Plan, available here: It won’t take you long to read, as this is just the highest levels. I think there’s a lot of good in this document. Since this document is the result of a collaborative consensus of the SAA Council  it’s not exactly the way I would want it to be, and I think in some places it could be more ambitious. Please read it and share your comments via the channels described on the website. (Note that commenting here on this blog is not a formal comment to SAA.) What do you think? Does it go far enough? Do you like what’s there? Anything missing? Anything that sticks in your craw? Note that the deadline is Tuesday, April 23. (Also note that you do not need to be an SAA member in order to comment. If you’re not a member, is there anything in that document that might make you want to join? Anything that would change your impression of SAA?)

And second, please similarly read and comment on the preliminary recommendations of SAA’s Communications Task Force, available here: There are just nine recommendations and I predict most of you will have something to say about them. Again, your feedback is important, whether you don’t like some of the recommendations or whether you love them all. This group needs your support and participation. I’ve heard a lot of bitching and moaning (and God knows I’ve done enough of it myself) about these topics, so here’s your chance to either praise this group for moving SAA in the right direction or tell them what you don’t want them to do. The deadline for comments on this is May 4. (And again, you don’t need to be an SAA member to provide feedback.)

But if you are an SAA member, remember that the organization is supposed to be there to meet your needs. So in theory you should be what drives that metabolism. If you want something more or something different then speak up and help make it happen.

Can’t decide who to vote for in SAA elections? Maybe reading these interviews will help

Today voting opens in the elections for SAA offices. If you’d like more information about the candidates, many of them participated in interviews on the SAA Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable’s blog (links below). You should also review the candidate’s biographical information and the answers they provided to the question posed by the SAA Nominating Committee (available via clicking on the candidates’ names here).

Candidates for President/Vice President:

Candidates for Council

Candidates for Nominating Committee

I was on the Nominating Committee this past year, so I take part of the credit for putting together this slate of candidates. If you have any questions about the process, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer what I can. Voting closes on April 15.


Nominations for SAA Emerging Leader Award due Feb. 28

I’m promoting another newish SAA award that I really believe in. Here’s a chance to recognize someone early in his/her archival career. Last year the award was given to the incomparable Mark Matienzo. Surely there must be another such sterling “early career” archivist or two who deserve to be nominated? Deadline is February 28, so if you know someone, get working on it.

Awarded for the first time in 2012, the SAA Emerging Leader Award celebrates and encourages early-career archivists who have completed archival work of broad merit, demonstrated significant promise of leadership, performed commendable service to the archives profession, or some combination of these.


Nominees must have more than two years and less than ten years of professional archives experience at the time of nomination. The award is given based on the total experience and contributions of the awardee, including knowledge, leadership, participation, and achievements in the profession.

Details on the award criteria, eligibility and the application form may be found at: