Frans Smit (Netherlands) and Bethany Anderson (USA) are new Editors-in-Chief of Comma

The International Council on Archives (ICA) is pleased to introduce Frans Smit and Bethany Anderson as the next Editors-in-Chief of Comma: International Journal on Archives. Smit, senior inspector at the Information and Heritage Inspectorate of the Netherlands, and Anderson, assistant professor and Natural and Applied Sciences Archivist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA), will initially serve a four-year term together beginning in October 2021. Comma, established in 2000 as the successor to the long-standing ICA journals Archivum and Janus, is published semi-annually by ICA and is a multilingual archival journal with a global distribution. 

Frans Smit, who holds a doctorate in Modern History and Italian from the Free University in Amsterdam, has earned distinction as an educator, consultant, and linguist. Since 2014 he has been an instructor of archival science and recordkeeping inspection at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam, and for more than a decade has been the principal in Frans Smit Information Consultancy. Proficient in five languages—Dutch, English, French, German and Italian—he has contributed widely to the archival profession through presentations at conferences and publication. He is the co-editor and author of two publications by the Dutch Society for Archival Publications: Archives in Liquid Times (2017) on information philosophy, and Profiteer, Profileer, Prioriteer! (2013) on archival auditing. Within ICA, Frans is currently a member of the Expert Group - Managing Digital and Physical Records and a past member of the Expert Group on Records Management. His article “The Metamorphosis of the Records Manager,” was published in 2013 by Comma and is based on his presentation given that year at the ICA Congress in Brussels. 

“It’s a great honour to serve together with Bethany Anderson as the new Editors-in-Chief of Comma,” Frans said. “We will build ideas not on compromise but consensus.” 

Bethany Anderson, who holds a master of science in Archival Studies and Records Management from the University of Texas at Austin and a master of arts in Near Eastern Art and Archaeology from the University of Chicago, brings extensive editorial and writing experience as well as professional initiative to the new post. She is completing her second term as Reviews Editor of American Archivist, the journal of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), where she has transformed the online Reviews Portal to feature a diversity of authors, creators, and publications; sought and recruited reviewers from beyond the United States’ borders; and by including reviews of books published in languages other than English. She is co-editor of the Archival Futures Book Series (jointly published by SAA and the American Library Association) and a founding member of the SAA podcast, Archives In Context. Her published work has appeared in Archivaria, American Archivist, and the Journal of Open Humanities Data. Bethany has cited ICA as instrumental in her development as an archivist, and is engaged internationally as a result of attendance at ICA conferences and participation in forums. In 2017, she  
co-founded the Committee on the Archives of Science and Technology (CAST) of the ICA Section on University and Research Institution Archives. 

“As Editors-in-Chief of Comma, Frans Smit and I have the opportunity to continue to foster important conversations within the archival community,” Bethany said. “That opportunity is even more significant because as an international journal, Comma is a vital space for expanding the community of people who are included in our conversations.” 

The selection of the Editors-in-Chief of Comma completes a lengthy search by its Editorial Board, one that included broad distribution of a call for applicants and attracted a strong pool of candidates from North America, Europe, and the Middle East. The Comma Editor Search Committee, comprised of Comma Editorial Board Members Rosana De Andrés Díaz (Government of Spain Ministry of the Interior), Teresa Brinati (Society of American Archivists), Jörg Ludwig (Saxony State Ministry of the Interior, Germany), and, in an advisory role, current Editor-in-Chief of Comma Margaret Procter. 

Search Committee Chair Dr. De Andrés Díaz noted that the caliber of experience of the interviewees led the Search Committee to make an innovative decision about the Editor-in-Chief post: the expansion of the volunteer post from a single Editor to two Editors-in-Chief.  Ms. De Andrés Díaz added that this new model of leadership increases the range of skills, expertise, and networking opportunities available to Comma and its Editorial Board while addressing the operating realties of multilingual and multimedia journal production. The demands are immense and will continue to grow.   

Frans and Bethany will succeed Margaret Procter, who is stepping down after thirteen years as Editor of Comma, where she has overseen the successful production of more than two dozen issues. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Frans and Bethany as Editors-in-Chief,” said Rosana De Andrés Díaz, “And we also owe a debt of gratitude to Margaret for her significant contributions in producing high-quality journal content for a long period of time, and for expanding Comma to digital editions in partnership with Liverpool University Press.”  

The new Editors-in-Chief may be reached at