Learn about the Advocacy Committee
The Society of American Archivists, through its Council or Executive Committee, periodically is asked to take a position, make a statement, or take action on an issue that arises within the larger context of American society. Very recent examples include [the heinous murders of members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015 or the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in support of gay marriage and certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act].
Some SAA members believe that SAA should speak for all archivists on these types of broader social issues. SAA has been compared with the American Library Association and other organizations that choose to issue statements on social issues, whether or not related directly to the missions of those organizations.
Although some – or even most – of SAA’s leaders, members, and staff may hold similar views on social issues and matters of social justice, the organization as a whole does not have the resources or knowledge of a consensus to comment or act on every social issue that emerges. To choose to comment or act on one issue to the exclusion of others would raise concerns about how SAA reaches a decision about when to become involved and when and how the broader membership is consulted (or even polled) about their individual positions on a given social issue.
SAA will take a position, make a statement, or take other action only on issues that are related directly to archives and archival functions. SAA recognizes that social issues and archival concerns may overlap (e.g., in matters of personal privacy, access to public information, or misuse of records for political purposes). In these cases, the SAA Council or Executive Committee will consider the prudence and potential impact of becoming involved in the issue.
Members may recommend that SAA take action on an issue by following Procedures for Suggesting SAA Advocacy Action.
As an organization that values social responsibility, the public good, and the completeness of the public record and that understands the importance of advocacy, SAA encourages its members to engage with social issues to the extent that they, as individuals, are able.
Adopted by the SAA Council, August 2015.
A Transparency Milestone
The CATO Institute announces the completion of their “Deepbills” project which finished adding computer-readable code to every version of every bill in the 113th Congress.
For more on this project, see the following article: http://www.cato.org/blog/transparency-milestone
Twitter's decision to ban archiving of politicians' deleted tweets is a mistake
Back in 2012, Twitter decided to allow the Sunlight Foundation to collect and curate deleted tweets from lawmakers and people seeking public office in order to hold them accountable by preserving their public statements on the record.
But in June of this year, Twitter shut down the deleted tweet project in the US under the guise of "honoring the expectation of user privacy." Then, this Sunday, Twitter dealt the final blow, killing the Open State Foundation’s effort to archive deleted tweets from public officials in 30 other countries.
For the full article see: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/24/9198075/twitter-political-transparency-diplowoops-politwoops
De Blasio is reviewing public records requests for all New York City agencies in bid to control information
Mayor de Blasio, who promised to run the most transparent administration in New York City history, has taken steps to have his office review any public records request of any city agency that could "reflect directly on the mayor."
That broad mandate, outlined in a May 5 email obtained by The Associated Press, could give de Blasio's office control over virtually all newsworthy Freedom of Information Law requests from journalists, watchdog groups or members of the public.
Although the ramifications of the policy are not clear, transparency advocates fear such control could lead to prolonged delays in responding to records requests, a criticism both President Barack Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced when they instituted similar policies.
For the full article, see:
The United States is currently negotiating a large, regional free trade agreement with eleven other countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. On August 5, 2015, Knowledge Ecology International published a new leak of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’s (TPP) negotiating text for the intellectual property chapter.
For the full post see: http://policynotes.arl.org/?s=tpp
Metropolitan Archivist Volume 21, Number 2 is now available.
Metropolitan Archivist Vol. 21, No. 2 (Summer 2015) by Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc.
This issue features an introduction to the newly elected board members and more.
Many thanks to the A.R.T. board, all of the contributors, and the Metropolitan Archivist editorial staff:
Managing Editor: Mary Ann Quinn
Features Editor: Rachel Greer
A.R.T. News: Haley Richardson
Interview Section: Ellen Mehling
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, and submissions. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your support,
The following is cribbed from the American Alliance of Museums, but applies equally to archives of any type, shape, or size:
Congress Wraps Up Work, Heads Home
As August approaches, members of Congress are headed home. The House of Representatives has adjourned for five weeks, and the Senate is not far behind. Congress will certainly have its hands full when it returns; deadlines are approaching on issues including highways, children’s welfare, expired tax breaks and funding for federal agencies.
While a deal on federal spending remains elusive, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees completed work on all 12 of their annual bills—the first time this has been accomplished in six years. Considering the very tight funding constraints within which these bills were written, several accounts important to museums fared quite well:
(Funding Totals in Millions)
For more on this story see: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-state-of-georgia-copyright-wall-20150727-column.html
The Secretary of State of Arizona, who oversees the State Library, wants the space now occupied by the genealogy collection for other uses. Under the misguided notion that everything genealogists really need to use is online, the original plan was to simply close the collection. Pushback from the genealogical community has resulted in a plan to move the collection to the State Archives.
The hitch, of course, is that the State Archives doesn’t have room to make this 200,000+-volume collection accessible to the public. If this move goes forward — and it could be as early as this Friday, July 31st — the collection will most likely end up in storage … and ultimately piecemealed out or lost forever.
For more on this developing story, see:
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