Society of Southwest Archivists

News

  • 23 Jun 2020 11:39 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    The Society of Southwest Archivists leadership is pleased to announce its endorsement of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials were developed by archives professionals and Native American community stakeholders to promote best practices for preserving and providing access to Native American materials held by non-tribal institutions. The Protocols underscore the importance of consultation with Native Nations in policy decisions regarding Native American cultural materials, understanding Native American values and perspectives, rethinking public accessibility and use of some materials, and providing culturally responsive context for archival collections.

    Learn more:

    Society of Southwest Archivists Workshop: Protocols 101: How to Start the Conversion at Your Institution presented by Nicholas Wojcik with guest speaker Veronica Reyes-Escudero at the 2019 SSA Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona. The content for this workshop was adapted from the Society of American Archivists Native American Archives Section and sponsored by the Society of Southwest Archivists, distributed under CC BY-NC-ND.

    Society of American Archivists Native American Archives Section

    Society of American Archivists Native American Archives Section Resources including webinars, implementation case studies, a Cultural Audit for Native American Collections, Inter-institutional Memorandum of Understanding Example, and Institutional Profiles and Scenarios.

  • 19 May 2020 11:42 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    The Society of Southwest Archivists board voted to donate $5,000 towards the Archival Workers Emergency Fund (the AWE Fund) to financially support archival workers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. We urge SSA members and archival workers in the region (including students) to apply for assistance if needed, spread the word to archival workers in their networks, and to donate to the fund or get involved with the AWE Fund Organizing Committee if interested. You do not need to be a member of SSA or SAA in order to apply for funding.

    More information about the fund from the Organizing Committee:

    The COVID-19 global pandemic has left many archival workers financially vulnerable as institutions shut their doors and contract work disappears. In response, an ad hoc group of concerned archivists, in partnership with the SAA Foundation, established the AWE Fund to provide immediate support to archival workers in the United States, particularly those in contingent positions, who are disproportionately affected by this crisis and its financial impact. By spreading the word through your network, on social media and through direct messaging, SSA can help us reach more archivists in need, and potential donors.

    We have already raised over $80,000 thanks to a generous seed grant from the SAA Foundation and momentum from over 450 individual donors. This has allowed us to provide financial support to 77 archival workers with a concrete message that the archival community has one another’s backs. We want to ensure news about this fund reaches all corners of the profession. To learn more about the fund, please visit SAA, as well as on our informational brochure.


  • 14 Apr 2020 11:43 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    The Society of Southwest Archivists has endorsed an open letter written by the Ad-Hoc working group on salary transparency, a working group of the Society of American Archivists.

    The salary transparency working group advocates that Council require job postings to include a salary range.

    “SAA leadership still remains obstinate against even the smallest changes to help protect the value of the profession. Per its mission, SAA ‘promotes the value and diversity of archives and archivists.’ Promotes the value of archivists. We find SAA to be negligent in its charge and we are at a collective loss as to why.”

    Read more: https://bit.ly/3esJc0a


  • 11 Oct 2019 11:45 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    Call for Program Proposals

    Visionary Archives

    2020 Society of Southwest Archivists Annual Meeting

    Submission Deadline: November 15, 2019

    The 2020 Program Committee invites submissions for 60 or 90-minute sessions. Proposals are welcome on any subject or skill relevant to the archives or records management professions. Proposals will be evaluated on the completeness of the description, diversity of the speakers, and the originality of the topic. Because the 2020 SSA conference will be held concurrently with the 2020 Open Access Symposium, topics with potential cross-over to a scholarly communications audience are encouraged. The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2019. Please submit session proposals using the online form.

    More details available on the conference website here: https://2020.southwestarchivists.org/conference-program/

  • 09 Oct 2019 11:46 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    If you would like to serve, or know an ideal candidate, please submit your nominations for the following positions:

    • Vice-President/President Elect (three year term-one as VP, one as President, and one as Immediate Past President)
    • Executive Board (3 positions, two-year term)
    • Nominating Committee (1 position, two-year term)
    • Scholarship Committee (1 position, three-year term)
    • Secretary (two-year term)

    The responsibilities of each position are outlined in the SSA Officer & Committee Procedures Manual.

    To submit a nomination or nominate yourself, please fill out this form: 2020 Nominations Form

    The deadline for submitted nominations is January 1, 2020.

    Remember, if you are a Certified Archivist, or are planning to become certified, participating in the leadership of a professional organization such as SSA will earn you recertification credit.

  • 29 Apr 2019 11:47 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    By Mark Lambert, SSA President, 2018-2019

    The Southwestern Archivist, Vol. 42, No. 2 (May 2019): 5-6.

    I am pleased that my recent articles on low pay in the archives field and the recent SSA Board resolution adopted requiring salaries or salary ranges in all SSA job advertisements have been so well received in the archival community, and that the SAA Council has also apparently taken notice.

    However, more can be done in these areas. For example:

    • We need the SAA Council to pass a resolution to no longer accept job advertisements without a salary or salary range listed;
    • We need the SAA Council to set recommended minimums for archival pay by region, using financial figures for each region, such as those that list salary requirements for owning a home in a region;
    • We also need to have a Pop-Up Session at the SAA annual meeting in Austin to continue this important discussion, solicit more ideas on the subject, and so more voices can be heard (I am currently in the middle of drafting speakers and preparing the paperwork to propose such a session in Austin this August).
    • Also, annual dues to SAA are based on a sliding scale according to pay, with the scale topping out at $90,000/year. As I’ve found from my recent salary research, there are folks in the profession making much more than that. Right now SAA is giving those big earners a partial pass. SAA needs to push that sliding scale up to at least $250,000/year. I’ve already found a use for that extra money: funds to help provide better representation for all archivists on the SAA Council.
    • SAA claims to represent all archivists, but it is totally dominated by academic or other elite archivists. Looking at the current SAA Council list ( and ignoring SAA staffers), fully 8 of the 12 councilors are academic archivists or work in academia; two are from Presidential Libraries (which I call an elite archive due to their national prestige), another member is from the Rockefeller Archive Center (another elite archive, since it is one of the best funded foundations in the U.S.), and the final councilor is a vendor. In other words, 11 of the 12 councilors are from academic or elite archives, and there is also one vendor (for-profit) representative.

    For SAA to validly represent all archivists in the U.S., and for all archivists to want to join SAA and continue to see value in their membership year-after-year, the SAA Council needs to better represent the great variety of archivists in the United States.

    I propose seats on the council be divided up better between the several major types of archives in the U.S. For example: academic archives (public and private), private research library archives, federal govt. archives, state govt. archives, local govt. archives, museum archives, corporate archives, non-profit archives, religious archives, tribal archives, and vendors. (This list is just off the top-of-my head; please don’t consider it exhaustive, and feel free to suggest your own type of archive to SAA if its not represented in my list above. I also suspect if this better representation actually happened, archivist satisfaction and retention in SAA would also go up tremendously.)

    An obvious question is why are there currently so many academic or elite archivists on the SAA Council, and why do academic archives dominate SAA annual meeting programming so heavily, if there are so many other types of archives in the U.S.? My best answer is one word: Funding.

    While academic or elite archivists don’t necessarily make a lot of money, in one way they are usually head and shoulders above the rest of us: their travel and continuing education funding is usually at least partially provided by their institutions, since continuing education and tenure requirements in those types of archives are the strongest (i.e. as a legal and equity issue, your institution can’t really require you to do continuing education for job retention or advancement unless they at least partially pay for it).

    SAA currently funds most of the work of its councilors. In order to get better representation on the SAA Council, SAA needs to more fully fund other types of archivists willing to serve on the SAA Council. Where would the money come from? I propose it come from those highly paid Archives Directors currently not paying their fair-share in SAA dues.

    Finally, the regional archival organizations in the U.S. provide tremendous value to archivists in keeping their annual dues low (e.g. SSA’s is $25), by providing a newsletter, by providing scholarships for students and early-career archivists, by providing regional advocacy, and by staging relatively inexpensive regional annual meetings and workshops for archival training, socialization and comradery.

    However, American archivists also desperately need our national organization, and all that it does, including providing socialization, comradery and training at annual meetings and workshops, by underwriting archival publications, by provide a professional journal for reporting new advances in the profession, and by representing us in Washington D.C. in both the federal agencies and the Halls of Congress and in the public sphere generally. We just need SAA to better represent all archivists in the U.S., not just the academic and elite archivists.

  • 09 Apr 2019 11:48 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    Rep. Stan Lambert

    Texas House, District 71 Room E2.814

    P.O. Box 2910

    Austin, Texas 78768

    Dear Rep. Lambert:

    The Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) is a professional organization representing over 500 members in the six states of the American Southwest (TX, LA, AR, OK, NM, AZ) who work in or are interested in preserving our documentary heritage, or the essential evidence of our lives, commonly called archives. Approximately half of SSA’s 500 members are from Texas.

    The Society of Southwest Archivists objects to Section 441.206 of Committee Substitute to HB 1962 (The Texas State Library and Archives Commission “Sunset Bill”) which fundamentally changes ownership rights of archival state legislative records. Changes inserted into this bill by committee will have a significant detrimental impact on TSLAC as well as the 24 Regional Historical Records Depositories (RHRD) across the state who house archival legislative records.

    Commonly held archival practice assumes that archival repositories take ownership of archival records upon transfer. As archival records are unique, and irreplaceable in most circumstances, it is the duty of the archival repository to protect those records from loss. Sec. 441.206, as currently written, would allow legislative entities to retain ownership over archival materials, even after their transfer to TSLAC or an RHRD. Further, Section 441.206 provides legislative entities the ability to recall archival materials for legislative use.

    TSLAC and RHRDs hold archival records in secure facilities and make those records freely available for use within the supervised reading rooms of their facilities. It would be a mistake to allow removal of these materials from the archive with no provision for their safety or security where archival records could easily be misplaced, lost or errantly destroyed.

    Archival facilities are much different from records storage facilities. Record storage facilities store records for a limited term, and users may retrieve records at any time. Archival record facilities store records permanently, users consult records on-site, and professional archivists

    keep records in accordance with stringent security and preservation protocols to endure their long-term preservation. Archival repositories make significant financial investments in the permanent preservation of archival records for which they own. The transfer of title of archival records is essential to the core function of the archive, which is to preserve and protect the authenticity of legislative records.

    Not only does Sec. 441.206 place archival records in jeopardy of accidental loss, it places an undue financial burden on TSLAC and RHRDs throughout the state who house and preserve state records. Sec. 441.206 mandates TSLAC and RHRDs retrieve records from archival storage and transport them to legislative offices upon request. To do so would require significant additional work and creation of entirely new work procedures. Who will pay these additional costs? Texas colleges, universities and public libraries as far away as El Paso who serve as RHRDs receive no state funding and would have no means of transporting records to Austin. It is possible that Sec. 441.206 could cause RHRDs to reconsider their participation in the depository program, forcing TSLAC to incur all the costs to reabsorb these regional materials.

    It makes sense for TSLAC to fulfill Public Information requests as the owners of archival records in their possession. However, Sec. 441.206 places an unfair burden on TSLAC to respond to Public Information requests for records they do not own, and which may be retrieved by a legislative body at any time.

    In fact, a potentially unintended consequence of this bill as currently written could be for archival repositories to not accept legislative papers without legal title, thus removing a significant part of history from the archival record. Also, if repositories were required to accept the records without title, they would most likely not invest staff time and resources into processing the records and making them available to the public.

    The Society of Southwest Archivists requests the removal of Sec 441.206 from HB 1962 to ensure the preservation of archival records of historical and cultural significance to the State of Texas.

    Sincerely,

    Joshua Youngblood

    Mike Miller

    Alexis Peregoy

    Jennifer Green

    Daniel Alonzo

    Amanda Focke

    Cordelia Hooee

    Elizabeth Lisa Cruces

    Morgan Gieringer

    Molly Hults

    Mark Lambert

    Officers and Board Members of the Society of Southwest Archivists

  • 11 Mar 2019 11:50 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    At its 8 March 2019 meeting, the SSA Board voted unanimously to immediately stop accepting job advertisements that do not list a salary or salary range. This applies to all SSA media including the website forums, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Any request to post a job announcement that does not include salary information will be held while the requestor is contacted and asked to provide this information. Once salary information has been added to the announcement, the job advertisement will be posted.

  • 05 Mar 2019 11:50 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    This is the second part of a two-part series.

    By Mark Lambert, SSA President, 2018-2019

    The Southwestern Archivist, Vol. 42, No. 1 (February 2019): 5-6.
    See Part 1 of this column, “Top archives directors are failing the profession,” in the November 2018 issue of Southwestern Archivist.

    Our two national professional organizations, the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries Division of the American Library Association are also failing us, when they could be assisting on this issue so easily.

    According to the SAA Mission: “SAA promotes the value and diversity of archives and archivists.” However, SAA does not require employers to list salaries on their website.

    The RBMS Mission says: “It strives to represent and promote the interests of librarians, curators, and other specialists.” RBMS also does not require employers to list salaries.

    Both organizations provide an easy platform for hundreds of employers to advertise jobs directly to thousands of archivists yearly, but set no pay minimums, or even require a salary to be listed at all.

    Should I really have to apply for a job before I even find out what the expected salary or salary range is in the internet age, from two organizations that have as their core functions access to information and excellent customer service? NO, NO, NO…a thousand times NO!

    These organizations will probably respond by saying “there are a multitude of factors that go into setting someone’s pay, and it can’t be reduced to a single number or range,” but that is total bunk. Every Archives prepares a yearly budget, and for each Archives there is either a set salary, or a set salary range, sitting in that budget, based on several factors like experience, education, benefits, etc. Why not advertise the job with a salary or salary range?

    Not listing a salary or salary range give more power to the potential employer. Why would our professional organizations want to give power to our potential employers to underpay us? Possibly because our professional organizations are ethically compromised, since they are also taking money from these Archives to advertise for jobs, or in sponsorship money yearly. This should stop now.

    Also, for “vagueness” in language in a profession that prides itself on precision, good writing, facts and essential evidence, these two phrases are award-winners: “competitive salary with benefits,” and “salary commensurate with experience.” These phrases have no fixed meaning and tell an applicant from across the country exactly zero. The use of these phrases should be stopped immediately.

    Our professional organizations should require all advertisers and employers to list a salary or salary range, or not take their advertisement. It’s as simple as that.

    In fact, it’s a little more work, but we should also advocate for setting minimum salaries for job advertisements by region. Surely national organizations with thousands of members can have one large, diverse committee that meets once a year to set minimum salaries per region. This should also be done.[1]

    Our professional organizations need to stop trying to be advocates for Archives as well as Archivists. These are conflicting goals that allow Archives, our employers, to take advantage of Archivists. There are many other national organizations that can advocate for Archives, like COSANAGARANHANCHAASLH, and the NCPH.

    Archivists need their professional organizations to better advocate for them, or we can find someone else to advocate for us. We also need the top Directors in our profession to descend from their penthouse offices long enough to start paying their staffs better. Only when both things happen will salaries in the archives profession rise in general.

    [1] If librarians can do it, why not archivists?

  • 25 Feb 2019 11:55 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    Signups have been extended to Wednesday March 5

    Howdy! It’s time for the 2019 SSA Scholarships (virtual) Quilt Bee! This year, we’ll be making the desert bloom with a Tussie Mussie quilt using some truly gorgeous Kaffe Fassett fabric. If you want to participate, please fill out the form and send in your participation fee by March 1st! Only 25 squares are available—First come, first serve!

    The finished quilt will be sold in the Silent Auction at the Annual Meeting in Tucson, with the proceeds going to the Scholarships Fund.

    WHAT TO EXPECT:

    • Pre-cut fabric & instructions will be sent to participants by 3/13.
    • You’ll complete & return your (easy!) square by 4/5.
    • Jennifer Hecker will piece the top & Amanda Focke will back, bind, and quilt it.
    • Funds raised by auctioning the quilt at the annual meeting will go to SSA Scholarships.
    • Participating quilters are asked to contribute a $15 donation to offset the cost of fabric & postage.

    Questions? Contact Jennifer Hecker at JenniferRaeHecker@gmail.com.

    Sign up form

    2019 Virtual SSA Quilt Bee (PDF)

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