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Elizabeth Yakel earns Society of American Archivists Council Exemplary Service Award

Friday, 08/07/2020

Elizabeth Yakel, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Information at the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI), has been honored by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) for her work developing Archival Metrics, a collection of standardized user-based evaluation tools and other performance measures for archives.

Yakel, along with her co-investigators Dean and Professor Wendy Duff (University of Toronto) and Professor Helen Tibbo (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) were recognized by SAA at its recent annual meeting with the organization’s Council Exemplary Service Award which recognizes significant contributions to the archives profession.

"I am very happy to receive this award in recognition of my research,” said Yakel. “I am also pleased that this body of work has had a lasting impact through activities that have built on it in recent years, such as the SAA-ACRL/RBMS Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries, SAA-ACRL/RBMS Guidelines for Standardized Holdings Counts and Measures for Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries, and the SAA Committee on Research, Data, and Assessment."

The seeds for Archival Metrics were first planted in 2004 at a "Users, Metrics, Archives” meeting at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among other publications from this research, Yakel, Duff and Tibbo published “The Development, Testing, and Evaluation of the Archival Metrics Toolkits” in 2010.

Since that time, Archival Metrics has produced seven easy-to-use, publicly available, user-based evaluation toolkits that cover a broad range of archival services and tools such as online finding aids, repository websites and access tools, student orientations, use of archives in teaching and instruction, economic impact of government archives, and use of the focus group method in data collection.

 “Archival Metrics has set a model for the archives profession to evaluate and understand the impact of archives in society,” said SAA in a release. “Through the expert leadership of its principal investigator, Professor Elizabeth Yakel and co-investigators Professor Wendy Duff and Professor Helen Tibbo, Archival Metrics has pioneered the development of user-based evaluation toolkits for assessing the impact of archives and their services.”

- Jessica Webster, UMSI PR Specialist