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SAA Names Seven New Fellows

November 2000


Seven members were named Fellows of the Society of American Archivists on August 31, 2000, during an awards ceremony at SAA's 64th annual meeting in Denver. Bruce Ambacher, Jackie Dooley, Anne Gilliland-Swetland, Kristi Kiesling, Philip Mooney, Richard Szary and Kenneth Thibodeau received the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA, thus joining 127 current members so honored. Established in 1957 and conferred annually, this distinction is awarded to a limited number of individuals for their outstanding contributions to the archival profession.

The Committee for the Selection of SAA Fellows evaluates nominees on the following criteria: appropriate academic education and professional and technical training; a minimum of seven years professional experience in any of the fields encompassed in the archival profession; writing of superior quality and usefulness in advancing SAA objectives; and contributions to the archival profession through work in and for SAA.

As specified by the SAA constitution, election as Fellow is by 75 percent vote of the Committee for the Selection of SAA Fellows. The committee consists of the five immediate past presidents of SAA and three Fellows selected by Council. The members this year were William J. Maher (chair), Luciana Duranti, Nicholas C. Burckel, Brenda Banks, Maygene Daniels, Timothy L. Ericson, William K. Wallach, and Elizabeth Yakel.

Following are citations given by presenters during the awards ceremony.

Bruce Ambacher
Jackie Dooley
Anne Gilliland-Swetland
Kristi Kiesling
Philip Mooney
Richard V. Szary
Kenneth Thibodeau

See also "And the 2000 SAA Awards Go To..."

Back to SAA Recognitions home page

Bruce Ambacher

Bruce Ambacher has held a variety of positions at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) since 1976, and he has been a member of SAA for more than 20 years. He has served both NARA and the profession exceptionally well. At NARA he has been recognized for exceptional service five separate times, including more recently in his current capacity as special assistant to the director of the Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division. While his publications include several historical pieces, his major research contributions have dealt with records management and electronic records. He has presented his research at a number of national and regional professional meetings, including SAA, ARMA, NAGARA, and MARAC. Within SAA Bruce has co-chaired both the host and program committees, and chaired sections on government records and acquisitions and appraisal. Bruce served as associate editor of the Mid-Atlantic Archivist and MARAC president, and he is currently treasurer of the National Archives Assembly, having served earlier as its vice president and president. He also teaches the "Administration of Archives and Manuscripts" course at George Mason University and is the electronic records instructor for the Modern Archives Institute.

In his electronic records role at NARA, Bruce has dealt with such sensitive issues as updating the FBI's records schedule, evaluation of CIA records, preservation of the PROFS case electronic records, and coordination of the agency's participation in the Federal Geographic Data Committee. Bruce is also contributing to an effort to develop an ISO standard for an Open Archival Information System.

For his past and continuing contributions to SAA and the profession, we are proud to welcome Bruce Ambacher as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

Nicholas C. Burckel, Marquette University

Jackie Dooley

Many of us were probably first introduced to Jackie Dooley through her 1988 article "An Introduction to Authority Control for Archivists" (Archival Informatics Newsletter and Technical Reports, part 2, summer 1988), a cogent and clear explanation, as one supporter wrote, "of a critically important concept [which] helped many an archivist enter the world of online information retrieval with a real understanding of the power of indexing and shared vocabulary." As head of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of California, Irvine and throughout her career, Jackie has "energized the development of national standards for intellectual access to visual materials, archives and special collections." She has argued persuasively in papers, articles, and committee meetings for archivists to provide more subject indexing, for standardized form and genre terms, and authority-controlled headings so that varied user communities could locate relevant research resources in both published and unpublished sources. She has cajoled her colleagues to improve descriptive approaches and preached an adherence to national standards.

Jackie's work with visual materials, rare books and archives has provided her with a somewhat unique understanding and perspective on the issues facing archives and special collections libraries, which has led her to recognize the intersection of interests among archivists, special collections librarians, and other professionals in cultural agencies. Through her considerable political skills and her network of colleagues, she has worked to bring these communities together in a variety of projects and programs. According to one admirer, Jackie sees "professional affinities where others ignore them," and she emphasizes "those affinities for the benefit of users of information worldwide." This ability to bring people together to work toward common goals is one of the hallmarks of Jackie's career. Her professional vision is one of inclusion, where a variety of cultural agencies with common goals, shared needs, and a variety of methods and tools come together for mutual benefit.

As an example, Jackie played an indispensable role in contributing to the development and success of Encoded Archival Description (EAD). In the early 1990s, Daniel Pitti, the chief architect of EAD, and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley were attempting to build a system for machine-readable finding aids. They envisioned, according to Pitti "only a local, provisional solution." Jackie encouraged a totally different solution, one that encompassed a national and ultimately international effort, a solution that was based on engaging the wider community. Her contributions did not rest there, however, as she became a leading member of the development team, taking on the task of organizing two special issues of the American Archivist devoted to EAD (vol. 60, nos. 3 & 4), assuming editorial responsibilities for the EAD Tag Library (SAA, 1998) and the EAD Application Guidelines (SAA, 1999), and working to ensure EAD's emergence as a standard.

For her ability to move us all beyond the walls of our separate repositories, libraries and archives in the interest of the common good, please join me in recognizing Jackie Dooley as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

William K. Wallach, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

Anne Gilliland-Swetland

It is with great happiness that I announce the selection of Anne Gilliland-Swetland as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Anne's contributions to the archival profession have been both varied and significant. In the areas of research and writing, professional service and teaching, she has helped to move the archival profession forward and better prepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Anne is a leading researcher in the area of electronic records and digital technologies. From examining electronic conferencing, to designing an expert system for the appraisal of electronic mail, to examining ways in which archival materials could be presented on the World Wide Web to enhance instruction in the K-12 environment, to the current InterPARES (International Research on Permanent Authentic Electronic Records in Electronic Systems) project that addresses the problems of maintaining the authenticity of electronic records of enduring value over time, Anne has made significant contributions to the archival knowledge bases in the digital realm.

Professional service is a prominent feature on Anne's resumé. She served on SAA Council and on numerous SAA committees; yet this only represents a small portion of her professional service. Anne is also active in regional organizations and has been a member of advisory and review committees for archives across the country. As in her research, Anne's professional service has an international dimension. She was also selected by Monash University in Australia to be an international expert reviewer for the SPIRT (Recordkeeping Metadata Standards for Managing and Accessing Information Resources in Networked Environments Over Time for Government, Commerce, Social, and Cultural Purposes) research project.

Perhaps no area impacts the future of the archival profession more than teaching. First at the University of Michigan and since 1995 as an assistant professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, Anne has taught and helped to shape the next generation of archivists. Over the years, I have seen her interact with and encourage students not only to understand archival concepts, but also to challenge traditional paradigms. Following her example, many of Anne's students are also professionally active and frequent contributors to archival publications.

A colleague noted "Anne may have begun her career in the Old World, but she has taken the New World by storm." Anne's energy has always impressed me, but when I think of her I often think of the other things she has shared with us: friendship, enthusiasm, and wry, insightful humor. It is a pleasure for me to be the first to officially congratulate Anne on her election as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

Elizabeth Yakel, University of Michigan

Kris Kiesling

It is a special thrill for me to introduce Kris Kiesling as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists. I first met Kris in the late 1970s at the University of Minnesota's Social Welfare History Archives, where we were both introduced to archival work. Later, after her graduate education at the University of Michigan, Kris successfully competed for one of the prized positions in American archives, that of head of the Department of Manuscripts and Archives at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. Kris has built a truly impressive archival career and her contributions to the Society of American Archivists over the past decade have been little less than remarkable. Those who nominated her for this honor showered her with adjectives modifying her qualities, adverbs modifying her actions, and superlatives when regular adjectives and adverbs just wouldn't do—and rightly so. They called her exceptional, outstanding, extraordinary, tireless, innovative, intelligent, committed, stunning, resourceful, devoted, eloquent, and most interestingly, she was described as a "human Rosetta stone" and a "veritable human lightning rod."

So, why all the fuss about Kristi Kiesling? Simply put, Kris has for the past several years been at the center of a sea change in archival descriptive standards and practice. While her professional activism includes major SAA committee assignments and collaborative projects such as leading RLG's primary resources initiative and directing a statewide effort known as the Texas Archival Resources Online, Kris is best known perhaps for her tireless efforts along with others to develop Encoded Archival Description (EAD). She quickly realized EAD would be an important addition to the descriptive tools available to the archival community.

Through her leadership roles on the Committee on Archival Information Exchange and as chair of the EAD Working Group she explored the potential of EAD and promoted its use. Kris was instrumental in securing funding for the development of EAD, establishing the organizational structure within SAA through which EAD could evolve, negotiating with the Library of Congress for shared governance of EAD, establishing EAD as a new archival descriptive standard, and serving as taskmaster for, as well as co-contributor to, the EAD Tag Library (SAA, 1998) and the EAD Application Guidelines (SAA, 1999).

Additionally, through SAA's EAD workshop, which she co-developed and co-taught more than 32 times, she has introduced more than one thousand archivists to this powerful descriptive tool. As one supporter wrote, "her expertise in archival description and her calm certainty about the importance of improving finding aid structures helped us all reach beyond legacy data practices." For her leadership abilities, her organizational skills, her productivity, her thorough understanding of her chosen specialty in archival description, and her talent to convey technical knowledge to colleagues in a compelling and comprehensible manner, please join me in welcoming Kris Kiesling as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

William K. Wallach, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

Philip Mooney

Philip Mooney is, in the words of one nomination supporter, "the business archivist's archivist. The archival program at the Coca-Cola Company is no archival theory; it is one of the most successful and long-running corporate archival programs in the country and a model to which most other business archivists aspire. Phil has built this program in an environment that is not known for supporting archival endeavors. That he has been managing this program in the private sector for 23 years is a testimony to his skill and talent."

In addition to building the program at Coca-Cola, Phil Mooney gives generously of his time, his energy, and his knowledge to colleagues in the profession. An SAA member since 1969, he served on the Archives and Society Task Force, and as one of the early leaders in the Business Archives Section he helped to make the section one of the most active and productive groups in the SAA. Phil has served on numerous program and local arrangements committees; chaired the Nominating Committee; and became an instrumental player in the formation and development of the Academy of Certified Archivists.

Phil's record of publication rivals or exceeds many of his peers based in academic settings. Most recently he has contributed chapters in Advocating Archives (SAA, 1994) and the Records of American Business (SAA, 1997). Over the years Phil's writing has reminded us that scholarship and academic values are not the only justifications for archives—concerns such as trademark, licensing, marketing, and the bottom line have their place as well.

To many, Phil Mooney is best known for his longstanding tenure as an instructor in the SAA workshop "Business Archives: The Basics and Beyond," which he began teaching in 1979. In this role he has helped to launch the careers of many business archivists. As one put it, "I have carried the lessons learned during the business archives workshop with me to the professional realm, and continue to draw upon them in my daily work." As another supporter observed, "Phil Mooney is to business archives education what Cats was to Broadway, except that Phil has had a longer run!"

Perhaps his most important contribution has been, as one recent workshop student wrote, as a "welcoming," "affable," and "approachable" representative of SAA and the profession generally. One colleague who first joined SAA in the 1970s recalled, "As a new member...I was eager to participate in SAA activities, but was uncertain how to get involved. I recall Phil's encouraging and friendly introduction to SAA when we just happened to sit next to one another as a session. Since there was no briefing at that time for first-time attendees or new SAA members I was particularly grateful for this engaging description of the organization and how it worked."

So for these and other contributions, the SAA is very pleased to say "thanks" to Phil Mooney and welcome him as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

Timothy L. Ericson, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Richard V. Szary

A most distinguished group of archivists has recognized Richard V. Szary for his consistent excellence as an archivist at the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University and as a seminal thinker and leader of the profession, who employs new technology to improve descriptive and user access. What is most notable, however, is the constant theme among his colleagues that Richard is "not one to seek or dominate the limelight, but he is always there, lending his expertise, supporting the work of others, and advancing our field." Others note that "He focuses on actually solving complex, difficult issues of archival access, not on promoting his own persona, pronouncements, or predilections." At the same time, Richard's solid intellect and mode of analysis has enabled him to make visionary contributions to the development of descriptive practice, especially in the area of authority control, standards, and Encoded Archival Description.

Following Asian Studies graduate work at the University of Illinois, Richard worked from 1975 to 1988 at the Smithsonian Institution, first in the archives and then in the Office of Information Resource Management. At Yale University since 1988, Richard has earned a strong reputation as a leader and highly effective archivist. In a tough, competitive academic environment, Richard has obtained $1.5 million in institutional support to rebuild the Yale University Archives, no doubt through his quiet, persistent, and thoroughly professional advocacy for archives, heritage, and user services. A cosmopolitan roster of supporters of Szary's nomination praised him for his visionary leadership in international description standards. Few would disagree with one reviewer's comment that Richard's work at Yale to be the most important of his many contributions to this profession. Through election to Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, we honor the model he provides of an intelligent, passionate, compassionate, and dedicated archivist who is indeed one of the "quiet giants" of the profession.

William J. Maher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kenneth Thibodeau

I am honored to announce the election of a Fellow who has distinguished himself and our profession through his strategic vision and leadership in the effort to resolve critical issues in archival administration of electronic records. Kenneth Thibodeau began his career in 1971 as a teacher of the history of science and great books at the University of Notre Dame. In 1975 he joined the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as an archivist in the original Machine-Readable Archives Division, which then was engaged in early efforts to manage digital data. From 1978 to 1988, he was responsible for records management at the National Institutes of Health and was involved in strategic planning for information resources there, an experience which gave him important practical knowledge of the needs and problems of creators and users of digital data.

In 1988, Ken returned to NARA as the new director of electronic records programs. Since then, he has had a key role in developing responses to key issues in the archival management of electronic records in the federal government and beyond. Under his leadership, the NARA Center for Electronic Records has formulated integrated solutions for tracking and preserving electronic records with permanent value. The Archival Preservation System, which evolved under his guidance, established a technically sophisticated means to preserve major data files that made it possible for NARA to successfully respond to critical legal requirements. The Center's Electronic Records Inspection and Control System automated the verification process for accessioning electronic data.

Beyond these accomplishments, Ken has served his profession through his tireless efforts to promote an understanding of electronic records in the larger archival community. He has sought opportunities to explain issues and strategies for managing electronic records—publishing widely and giving an astonishing 75 presentations during the past 12 years alone. He has recognized the importance of electronic records in the international arena and used his knowledge and professional standing to advance discussion within the International Council on Archives. He has worked with designers of information systems to establish a broader understanding of archival requirements.

Ken is known for his generosity in sharing his knowledge, for his ability to present complex ideas with clarity, for his skill in working with his colleagues to accomplish practical goals to serve the American people. He is a model archivist in our complex new electronic world, and for this we are honored to name him a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

Maygene Daniels, National Gallery of Art

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