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Big Digital Step For SAA: American Archivist Online

SAA LogoThe Society of American Archivists has officially launched American Archivist Online (also available via the Members Only page once you login to

Here are a few key points that caught my eye from the FAQ :

  • Content is available as PDF files with embedded searchable text (one file per article or section of the journal)
  • It is hosted by MetaPress
  • The online version will be produced in parallel with the print version

What issues are online?

Fall/Winter 2000 (Volume 63 – Number 2) through the most recent issue – Fall/Winter 2007. The FAQ reports that additional back issues will be digitized over time.

How is it structured?

Each journal article is a separate PDF file. Talk about a boon to graduate students and archives professors everywhere! Even the front matter is there separated out – perfect for printing and attaching to your article printouts for future reference. Of course, if you are feeling green (and better at reading on screen than I am) you can bookmark them or save them locally for future reference.

Who can access it?

Officially, only members of SAA and individual or institutional subscribers to the journal can access all available issues. In reality, it appears most of the issues are available to everyone. Currently only the Fall/Winter issues of 2005, 2006 & 2007 restrict access to all the content. Even for these issues there is access to some of the articles – such as the Book Reviews section in both the 2005 and 2007 Fall/Winter issues.

The FAQ claims that non-subscribers must pay a fee to print an article – but I don’t see how they will enforce that. When viewing a PDF of an article from the most recent issue I was able to save it to my local desktop and print it without a problem. Not sure if that is a bug or how it will remain – or if maybe they are talking about official reprints that are sent through the mail?

Other features

  • Try the handy Article Category search links – like this one that shows all the Presidential Addresses.
  • Mark or save articles to your own private lists (if you are logged in)
  • Search the full text – either across the journal or within an individual issue.
  • Subscribe to the RSS feed (I spotted on the All Issues page). The feed includes the article abstract, category, author and source issue information. Be the first archivist on your block to know the instant the new issue is published online!

Final Thoughts

I think that everyone who heard President Adkins announce at SAA in Chicago that the American Archivist was going online was excited (well.. there was lots of clapping – that is for sure). That announcement was a strong indications to me of SAA’s commitment to improving their online offerings.

Finally seeing it available online is even better – action speaks louder than words.

Image Credit: SAA Logo from

Posted in access, archival community, SAA2008