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Judy Ruttenberg
Reconfiguring the Professional Workforce

Society of American Archivists (SAA) Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Program

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The Society of American Archivists (SAA) offers a Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) program, which comprises both online and in-person courses. These courses provide “education and training to ensure that archivists adopt appropriate practices for appraising, capturing, preserving, and providing access” to born-digital special collections. ARL is partnering with SAA to package select DAS courses and deliver them as week-long workshops to staff at regional ARL libraries. Currently, ARL is working to negotiate with host institutions and SAA for workshops in 2013.

As organizations and roles realign to meet the demands of collecting born-digital resources, ARL believes a week-long immersion that encompasses four core courses of the DAS program, taken alongside other staff at ARL libraries, will benefit the membership.

The DAS program introduces participants to the requisite skill sets for managing born-digital materials and is designed for the working archivist or librarian as continuing education. SAA works with individual institutions and regional archival associations to provide DAS workshops. Its partnership with ARL is intended to deliver a week-long immersion in four core courses of the DAS program for ARL library staff to take alongside their peers.

Goals of the partnership include:

  • Re-skilling library staff, including staff unfamiliar with born-digital materials.
  • Providing regional professional development opportunities that achieve economies of scale for participants.
  • Providing regional networking opportunities that might lead to new collaborations among the membership.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to leverage and tailor a great curriculum to ARL's strategic need to grow expertise in handling born-digital materials.” - Anne Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian, Cornell University, and Past-Chair of the ARL Transforming Special Collections in the Digital Age Working Group

"SAA is thrilled to be working with ARL on this joint venture, and we look forward to reaching more academic archivists and others involved in managing born-digital content through this partnership." - Jackie Dooley, SAA President and member of the ARL Transforming Special Collections in the Digital Age Working Group