Society of American Archivists (SAA)

Publication Profiles > Book Publishers > Society of American Archivists (SAA)


Publisher analysis

About the publisher

Name: Society of American Archivists


Purpose, objective, or mission: SAA is North America’s oldest and largest professional association for archives and archivists. Their mission is to promote “the value and diversity of archives and archivists.” Their core values include “advancing the public standing of archivists,” “fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation across the association” and a commitment to “social responsibility and the public good.”1

Target audience: Students and professional archivists in North America.

Owner: Society of American Archivists.

Are published books peer reviewed? Yes.

Types of books published: Guides and guidelines, reference books, book series, essay collections.

Medium: Print and electronic.

Topics covered: Trends in archiving practices, ethics, case studies, contemporary issues pertaining to archives, archivists, and allied professions.

Number of titles published per year: An exact number is unknown, but SAA has published over 150 books since the 1970s.2

About the publisher’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of submissions accepted: Book proposals.

Submission and review process: Potential authors should first submit a prospectus to the Publications Editor.

Be sure to address the following:

  • “the theme, purpose and scope of the publication;
  • the estimated format and length of the publication;
  • whether the topic and approach are better suited to print or online format
  • an annotated outline or table of contents;
  • the intended audience and the potential market;
  • the prospective value to the archival profession;
  • the relationship of the proposed publication to the literature in the field;
  • the possibility of co-sponsorship with another organization;
  • the possibility of outside financial support;
  • graphics and illustrations the publication might use;
  • co-authors or contributors in the case of an edited work; and
  • the anticipated schedule for preparation of the publication.”3

The Publications Editor reviews the prospectus and sends it to the Publications Board, Director of Publishing and, if necessary, subject specialists. Depending on the author’s writing experience, two or more sample chapters and a detailed table of contents may be requested.4

Once a prospectus is accepted by the Publications Board, a member of the Board is assigned to the project as a liaison to the author and to oversee the project until the manuscript is finished and submitted.5

Editorial tone: Professional.

Style guide used: The Chicago Manual of Style.6

Conclusion: Evaluation of publisher’s potential for LIS authors

Publishing with SAA focuses primarily on the archiving field, so it may not be a good fit for many LIS authors. However, there is some crossover in resources and initiatives with allied professions (libraries, museums, and historians). For example, SAA publishes a few books that have broader audiences (i.e. Exhibits in Archives and Special Collections Libraries and Archives in Libraries: What Librarians and Archivists Need to Know to Work Together). They occasionally partner with other allied professional associations to develop resources, such as the American Library Association.

Their Guidelines for Book Proposals states that they seek to “nurture new voices,” but keep in mind that the prospectus requires a lot of initial book information to be prepared by the author, including a defined audience and market.7


Audience analysis

About the publisher’s audience

Size: SAA has 6,200 members.8

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: SAA primarily serves archivists and students within North America.

Reader characteristics: Readers of SAA publications are archivist students or professionals with a working knowledge in the field. Currently featured titles on their online store, including Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists and Navigating Legal Issues in Archives, indicate that many newly published SAA releases discuss contemporary issues in the field.9

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Readers may have less knowledge on general LIS subject matter than readers of other LIS book publishers in the field, with SAA serving primarily to archives and archivists.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

SAA’s website states that their publications are “largely driven by members. Members write articles, chapters and books which are then vetted by members on the Editorial Board and Publications Board, who strive to maintain SAA’s commitment to furthering best practices in the field.”10 Potential authors can expect their publications to be read by professionals, and experts, in the field.

Last updated: April 16, 2018


Show 10 footnotes

  1. “Who We Are,”, accessed February 26, 2018,
  2. “Book Publishing with SAA,”, accessed February 26, 2018,
  3. “Guidelines for Book Proposals,”, accessed February 26, 2018,
  4. “Guidelines for Book Proposals.”
  5. “Guidelines for Book Proposals.”
  6. “Guidelines for Manuscript Submissions,”, accessed March 2, 2018,
  7. “Guidelines for Book Proposals.”
  8. “Who We Are.”
  9. “SAA Bookstore.”
  10. “Publications,”, accessed February 27, 2018,
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