The Society of American Archivists (SAA) has presented the 2020 SAA Council Exemplary Service Award to Helen Tibbo, Alumni Distinguished Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), for her work on the Archival Metrics project.
Tibbo shares the honor with two other project leaders, principal investigator Elizabeth Yakel of the University of Michigan and co-investigator Wendy Duff of the University of Toronto.
According to the SAA award proclamation, Archival Metrics “set a model for the archives profession to evaluate and understand the impact of archives in society.”
The idea for the project emerged from the "Users, Metrics, Archives” meeting SILS hosted in 2004. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the project resulted in several notable publications, including “The Development, Testing, and Evaluation of the Archival Metrics Toolkits” in 2010.
The award proclamation cites the project’s development of seven easy-to-use, publicly available, user-based evaluation toolkits, which help archive professionals asses online finding aids, repository websites, student orientations, teaching and instruction, the economic impact of government archives, and the use of the focus group method in data collection.
“The user-based evaluation toolkits developed by Archival Metrics and the findings generated through the continued use of these toolkits have helped archivists make evidence-based decisions to improve archival programs, services, and resources for their users,” reads the proclamation.
Tibbo, Yakel, and Duff were also praised for their mentorship of junior scholars, which helped to “wide the pool of researchers who continue to engage in the area of user-based evaluation and assessment in the field.”
A fellow and former president of the SAA, Tibbo has been principal investigator on several Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded projects that have helped define digital curation best practices, particularly for government and scientific research data. Most recently, she received IMLS funding for “Curating Research Assets and Data using Lifecycle Education: Data Management Education Tools for Librarians, Archivists, & Content Creators" or CRADLE, a project that funded the creation of the Research Data Management and Sharing MOOC.
At Carolina, Tibbo developed the Archives and Records Management (ARM) concentration for SILS master’s students and the Professional Science Master’s Degree in Digital Curation – the first master’s degree focused on digital curation in the U.S. – which she now directs.