The Journal of Western Archives "Best General Interest Article Award" is given every five years at the Western Archivists Meeting to up to two articles published in the journal since the previous meeting. This year, the awards committee evaluated all 33 articles published over the past five years, from 2015 to 2019, scoring them using the following criteria:
We narrowed the field to six finalists, then discussed the merits of each article. Using this method, the committee is recognizing two articles this year. Both are well-written and accessible, and address topics that are timely and will remain relevant to the profession for years to come.
The winner of the Journal of Western Archives Best General Interest Award is '"The Right to Know': Decolonizing Native American Archives" by Jennifer O'Neal from the University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. Ms. O'Neal's article was part of our Native American Archives special issue in 2015. "'The Right to Know'" focuses on the movement to restore control of tribal history to Indigenous Peoples, as opposed to the material being held and interpreted by non-tribal institutions. The article is grounded in significant national and international policies that archivists can use to raise awareness and bring change to their own institutions. It was also the most frequently downloaded article published in the past five years, demonstrating the profession's continued interest in it.
In addition to the Best General Interest Award, the committee is awarding honorable mention to "Jumping In: Creating an Assessment Program for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Reading Room," which was published last year and co-authored by Cindy Brightenburg and Gordon Daines, both from Brigham Young University. As the JWA's editor, Mr. Daines recused himself from the awards committee when he saw that his article was a finalist and he is not accepting the monetary award. In spite of Mr. Daines' position, the committee did very much want to recognize the article and the work of Cindy Brightenburg in co-authoring one of the top articles of the last five years. "Jumping In" pioneers the application of the new SAA/RBMS guidelines for public service metrics, provides original user services data, and offers a model that can be adapted for use at other institutions.
The JWA Awards Committee