The Religious Archives Special Interest Section came into being during a half-day meeting of religious archivists, held at the 1985 ACA Conference in Edmonton, Alberta. Many core topics were discussed that day, included funding, research access, the promotion of archives to parent institutions, and the isolation of religious archivists. One year later, RASIS was officially formed, and the dialogue continues.
Today, RASIS strives to address current archival issues and the interests of the membership. Specifically, the Section exists to provide a forum for ACA members working or interested in religious archives in order to discuss issues of common concern. And, if appropriate, RASIS will formulate recommendations regarding these issues for action by the ACA Board of Directors.
The Section's members are a diverse group, including archivists working in a variety of religious settings, as well as a number of professional historians and university and college archival studies students. Mindful of this diversity, RASIS continually re-evaluates its purpose, its direction, and its relevance as it faces the challenges of a developing profession
Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of RASIS are:
- Provide a forum for discussion for ACA members with a primary interest in Religious Archives;
- Attract new members with an interest in Religious Archives to the ACA and RASIS;
- Identify possible interests and concerns of Religious Archives nationally;
- Strive for active involvement of members through participation in the AGM, the submissions of articles to the Bulletin, the ACA Web Site, or Archivaria, or possibly through specials projects, and through continued communication with the Chair and Secretary;
- Plan and recommend future directions for RASIS based on present concerns or issues raised by the membership;
- Education and inform the wider ACA membership regarding the uniqueness of Religious Archives with regard to a) types of records dealt with, b) types of institutions religious archives are a part of, and c) special archival needs;
- Act as a 'support group' for each other as religious archivists and encourage informal communication of questions or concerns as religious archivists; and
- Encourage members to learn more about archives of differing denominations and how those denominations.
The goals and objectives of the Chair of RASIS are:
- Act as a leader in ensuring that RASIS strives to achieve the above stated goals and objectives;
- Find a focus for the Section that is timely and attracts the interest of at least a majority of the members. This focus may be dealt with through article submissions, round table discussions or presentations at the AGM, the creation of special projects or other ways; and
- Facilitate the planning of high quality annual meeting sessions for RASIS which go beyond the regular yearly business of election of officers and which address the concerns of Religious Archives and Archivists.
Communicating With Our Membership
Communication between RASIS members is maintained through several avenues, including submissions to the ACA Bulletin, the RASIS Web Page, the RASIS e-mail list, annual mailings, and the Section's Annual General Meeting held at the ACA Annual Conference. All members are encouraged to participate in any and all of these forums.
The nature of the RASIS Annual General Meeting has varied over the years. In the past, the gathering has functioned both as an informal setting for information sharing and brainstorming, as well as a structured session complete with formal presentations. The AGM also includes an annual business meeting in which the Section's goals and accomplishments are discussed. All ACA conference attendees are welcome to join the meeting.
- Melanie Wallace (RASIS Chair)