Responsibilities of the Standards Committee
A primary responsibility of the Standards Committee is to oversee the process of initiating, developing, reviewing, and approving all standards developed by the Society of American Archivists through its subgroups, as well as reviewing standards submitted by external groups to SAA for its endorsement.
The Standards Committee works with groups on standards and standards-related projects from the initiation of the proposal, through development or review, to submission of the standard to the SAA Council for final approval.
For additional information about Standards Committee procedures:
The SAA Standards Committee defines a “standard” to be an industry agreement that establishes qualities or practices that make possible sharing of information, development of common vocabularies and practices, and more effective interaction among archivists, librarians, records managers, information managers, preservation administrators, historians, and other allied professionals. SAA standards must be approved by the SAA Council and they are maintained and periodically reviewed by professionals in the community.
Standards of many types are now central to archival practice. This document will generally use the term “standards” to refer to all of these types, including standards used in automated information systems, in preservation management, and in other technical areas, as well as standards and guidelines relating to professional practice.
Standards can take many forms:
The Standards Committee will not be concerned with the creation and maintenance of thesauri.
Developing Standards within SAA
The Society of American Archivists recognizes the central importance of consensus to the development of standards. However, consensus on a specific standard may not always equate with unanimous and unqualified approval by all concerned, for in most cases this will be difficult to achieve.
The Standards Committee procedures for standards development within SAA mandate broad review of any proposed standard by all groups, both inside and outside of SAA, that have an interest in the standard. Important features of the review process are:
The Standards Committee is concerned both with the development of new standards and with the process of standards maintenance and review.
The best possible effort will be made to ensure that all reasonable opinions are considered in the development process and that most disputes are resolved before a document is deemed ready for the Council's consideration as an SAA standard.
Final adoption of a document as an SAA standard rests with the Council of the Society of American Archivists.
Once a standard is adopted, an ongoing technical subcommittee of the Standards Committee is assigned maintenance responsibilities to ensure that the document is promulgated widely, monitored in its application, and reviewed (and, if necessary, revised) on a regular schedule.
The Standards Committee has prepared detailed procedures for standards development and review.
SAA also plays an important role as a participant in work undertaken by other organizations that develop technical standards, such as the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).
For Information or Assistance
The Standards Committee is ready to assist any SAA subgroup or outside organization to devise a strategy for developing a new standard or for reviewing and/or revising an existing document so that it can be considered for formal adoption as an SAA standard. Please contact the co-chairs of the Standards Committee for further information. [Member Roster]
Approved by SAA Council: June 1995
Revised: February 2010, January 2012
¹ The Standards Committee has modified the best practice definition from: A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from: http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=1770