The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 8
Dec 1988

SAA in Atlanta

The Society of American Archivists held its annual meeting Sept. 29-Oct. 2, and from all reports there are new trends afoot that are healthy for preservation in archives.

There was a session on selection for preservation. Margaret Child spoke on the RLG criteria for selection and emphasized the growing importance of documentation strategies ("the archival answer to collection development"), which will encourage cooperation among collections similar in geography, economic level or subject matter rather than among those that belong to the same organization or type of organization. (For more about documentation strategy, see Larry Hackman' s article in the Winter 1987 American Archivist, "The Documentation Strategy Process: A Model and a Case Study.")

Al Whitaker, state archivist of Massachusetts, who has been doing some pioneering work in preservation in his own institution, gave his vision of how it can be and should be done in archives, saying that consensus development was basic. He believes preservation should be practiced at the collection management level, and he has a data management program that includes the condition of the collections and can be used for planning and reports.

Another trend became apparent in a session on inter-organizational cooperation in preservation: Archives cooperating more actively with libraries. They are using RLIN and its preservation features more now, and they are taking or sharing the lead in several state preservation programs.

A certification program for archivists was approved, and the knowledge and skills expected of qualifying archivists includes knowledge of a certain amount of preservation.

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