SILS alumna Katherine Wisser named Fellow of the Society of American Archivists

June 25, 2021

Katherine Wisser (MSLS ’00, PhD ’09), Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science and Director of the Archives Concentration and Archives Certificate programs at Simmons University in Boston, Mass., will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) on August 4 during a virtual ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting.

Katherine Wisser stands in front of white shelves loaded with books.
Dr. Katherine Wisser, PhD

The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession. The SAA’s announcement of the honor describes Wissner as “an enthusiastic educator and indefatigable leader in archival standards development.”

Wisser holds a master’s degree in American history from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree and PhD in information and library science from the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS). She is one of only two fellows named in 2021, joining the 196 current fellows, including SILS Professors Helen Tibbo and Christopher “Cal” Lee.

Wisser has held a number of leadership positions within SAA’s sections on metadata and description. From 2006 to 2011, she chaired SAA’s Encoded Archival Context Working Group, shepherding Encoded Archival Context–Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC–CPF) through approval and publication.

She then served as co-chair of the Technical Subcommittee for Encoded Archival Context and the Technical Subcommittee for Encoded Archival Standards, working to revise the Encoded Archival Description, Version 3 (EAD3) standard.

Her work on EAC-CPF and EAD3 cemented SAA's status as a cooperative partner in the international archival standards community, advanced the technological underpinnings of archival metadata, and promoted a new networked model of archival description, according to the SAA announcement.

In addition, Wisser has written, presented, and taught extensively on these standards, enabling their practical and widespread application.

One of Wisser’s supporters notes that her work has made “critically important contributions to understanding hidden biases that may be embedded in both past and emergent archival description practices.” Another wrote that she “infuses her standards development work at the national and international level with a deep understanding of the people working on the ground.”

Read more about Wisser’s work advancing technical standards for archival metadata.