Phase 1 and 2

About Us


Archivists without Borders (AwB) is an international network of associated chapters in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, France, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. Founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1998, its main objective is to promote cooperative efforts among archivists to provide aid and resources to countries whose documentary heritage is in danger of disappearing and/or of suffering irreversible damage. A particular emphasis is placed on the protection of human rights and the promotion of accountability through the archives.

AwB International is governed by an International Charter (2008) and by the Regulations of the International Coordination Council of AwB International (2009).

United States

In February 2012, a core working group met to formally discuss the necessity and logistics of starting a chapter of Archivists without Borders in the United States. This group recognized a growing number of archival professionals who are interested in the work AwB does in support of human rights, endangered archives, and underrepresented communities and wanted to act on this enthusiasm. Spurred by the desire to be part of an international, collaborative community, AwB can serve as a network for information and advocacy, a clearinghouse for relevant news and information, and a hub for volunteer activities within and outside United States borders. The core working group believes that there are endangered archives, underrepresented communities, and other projects in the United States that merit professional attention.

Mission Statement

The United States Chapter of Archivists without Borders (AwB-United States) is a member of Archivists without Borders International.  AwB-United States’ mission is to unite archival professionals through education, outreach, and advocacy to support human rights efforts, underrepresented populations, and endangered archives both in the United States and in collaboration with international chapters.


Human Rights

  • Promote and defend human rights through the protection and conservation of archives produced by public and private bodies.
  • Promote the development of relationships with human rights organizations.

Underrepresented Populations & Endangered Archives

  • Protect the identity and historical memory of culturally diverse communities.
  • Collaborate to preserve and protect the fullest identity and historical memory of communities by supporting efforts to ensure that the historical record reflects the diversity of their citizens.
  • Support cultural and ethnic diversity among professionals during discussions and deliberations regarding archival materials in the U.S. and abroad.


  • Provide continuing archival education for caretakers of archival and documentary holdings to ensure their preservation, conservation, and dissemination.
  • Facilitate mutual capacity- and skill-building through collaborative educational and resource sharing with caretakers of archival and documentary holdings.
  • Raise social awareness of the usefulness of conserving and using archives to ensure respect for the rights of citizens, government accountability, support for researchers, and as a basis for the economic, social, scientific and technological development and fostering of culture, recovery of historical memory and community identities.

Outreach and Advocacy

  • Foster social, human and solidarity-based relationships between archivists in the United States and abroad and promote  protection and respect for human rights within the archival community.
  • Provide support and collaborative involvement with other archivists and cultural heritage professionals in cooperative archival administrative projects at local, national, and international levels.
  • Lead outreach and advocacy movements to empower citizens to understand and access archives.
  • Protect, conserve, organize and disseminate* documentary heritage in danger of disappearance or irreversible damage through the design, coordination, development and dissemination of plans, programs and projects, including actions for the safeguarding and recovery of documentary heritage related with guaranteeing the human, individual and group rights of citizens.

*We will always respect and acknowledge cultural traditions that prohibit dissemination of records.


Membership Categories

  •  Full Member: Open to any person of full legal age who engages professionally in archivist work in any public or private archive,  persons who work in professions linked with archives, and students currently enrolled in graduate programs in professions linked with archives. Can fully participate in any projects, national and international, in which AwB-US participates. Will have full voting rights within the organization; are eligible to hold elected offices; will receive copies of any publications created by AwB-US; will have access to AwB-US listserv.

Membership Fees*

  • Unemployed/Under-employed: $35 per year**
  • Student: $25 per year
  • Regular : $50 per year

*The use of membership dues by AwB US is further explicated in the Finance portion of this proposal.

**The unemployed/under-employed rate is available to members for two consecutive years and is not a benefit that is only available once for members.



About Us (draft 1) (draft 2)

Mission Statement (draft 1) (draft 2)

Goals (draft 1)

Membership (draft 1)


7 responses to “Phase 1 and 2

  1. Pingback: Phase 3 | Archivists without Borders

  2. This looks great, thanks so much for your hard work. I noticed there is no mention in the human rights sections of archives as preserving (and making accessible) evidentiary material. While it might be understood to those of us in the field the connection between archives and human rights, I’m wondering it shouldn’t be more clear to the non-archivist. I am coming into AwB-US late in the game, so forgive me if this issue was addressed.

  3. Can I make a suggestion regarding membership? Could you consider adding an “allied professional” membership? I think SAA has something like that for people that are not archivists but that have similar interests such librarians and museum specialists that may not work with archives directly but they do it indirectly. This is the way SAA described this type of association:

    “Associate membership is open to those who wish to support the objectives of SAA. Associate members receive all of the benefits of full membership but may not vote, hold office, or serve on appointed groups. Domestic associate membership is for individuals residing in the United States and is limited to those who are not professionally responsible for custody or control of records, archives, or private papers and who are not engaged in the study or teaching of archives.”

    As a member of SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials) and my experience attending their conference on Human Rights and Archives in Latin America last July 2010, there are a lot of librarians working with archival issues and human rights that may be interested to support AwB-US chapter.

    Overall, I am loving what I am seeing so far and I can’t wait to see AwB-US a reality. Thanks for the great job!

  4. I think all of this looks good, and I’m really glad to see that this has gotten so far. I do have one question. I’m not sure I completely understand how far AwB-US is willing to go to help protect, arrange, describe and promote material.

    Specifically, the last point under “Outreach and Advocacy” states: “Protect, conserve, organize and disseminate* documentary heritage in danger of disappearance or irreversible damage through the design, coordination, development and dissemination of plans, programs and projects, including actions for the safeguarding and recovery of documentary heritage related with guaranteeing the human, individual and group rights of citizens.”

    As members of AwB-US, would we be going to specific sites to help individuals collect, arrange and preserve material? (Personally, I think this would be great.)

    (I have a related question in terms of the use of member fees, which I’ll be adding to the comments on the relevant page.)

    Again, I’m excited and grateful for all the hard work, and I look forward to being a member. Thanks for any clarifications.

  5. Great proposal so far… thank you so much everyone for helping to get this off of the ground. A few things to consider:

    1. Like Scott who commented above, I wonder if there is room in the proposal for practical and logistical information. Perhaps this proposal is meant to read like a Mission Statement, which doesn’t require practical details. Still, I am curious to know what AwB-US members will be doing on the ground, and if this info should be incorporated into the proposal.

    2. It would be great to see some reference in the Outreach and Advocacy section about involvement of the communities that are represented in the archive’s collections, or local people who are interested in participating in archives activities. Community members often run archives as volunteers, particularly those that represent vulnerable or minority groups. Encouraging local community members to become caretakers, or fostering an environment of participation (exhibitions, readings & events programming, cataloging/organizing, book sales or giveaways of archives discards, etc.) is absolutely critical to the long-term survival of any archive and its collections, especially archives with collections of materials of underrepresented communities.

    3. Archives representing vulnerable communities are sometimes under surveillance or are threatened by discriminatory groups, individuals or governments. I’m not exactly sure how this might fit into the proposal, but it is an important factor to consider for anyone archiving evidentiary or human rights-related materials. In any human right-related context, it should be addressed.

    Thanks for reading and for your work!!

  6. Pingback: Archivists Without Borders U.S. Call for Comments « Start an Archives!

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