ARCHIVES 2015 has ended
Tuesday, August 18 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Research Forum Session 8: Archival Challenges and Progress - Accessing Restricted Records While Protecting Personal Data: An Ethical Balancing Act

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Providing security to records and promoting individual rights, often thought of as the domain of government archives, can present complex problems for archivists in non-government archives. Because of the wide range of records and personal collections they contain, university and other research institution archives often face particular challenges navigating conflicting needs of access to records and protection of personal privacy. Such diverse collections can include varying degrees of sensitive or private information in administrative records, personal papers, oral histories, literary works, legal and health records, and research data. These records and personal papers come with unique sets of considerations before access to researchers can be granted. These archivists must think of personal identifying information, the protection of research subjects, third party privacy, and compliance with legal mandates.

This presentation will address the variety of restrictions possible in such hybrid archives and practical solutions of how to balance the archival ethics of protecting privacy and providing access. Multiple strategies will be explored relating to creating and negotiating formal policies for access. It will also consider limits on the effectiveness of even the best articulated access policies when facing legal or political pressures. This research contributes to ongoing discussions and provide useful solutions on the protection of third parties and donors, fulfilling legal mandates for access and restriction, and fulfilling the ethics set by the archival profession as well as what advisory or advocacy role the profession might adopt to ensure that best professional practice can withstand political pressure.

About the Authors: 

Cara Bertram is a Visiting Archival Operations and Reference Specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she provides reference services for the University Archivesand manages the American Library Association Archives. She received her BA and MA in History at Western Washington University, along with a certificate in Archives and Records Management.

Jameatris Y. Rimkus is currently the Archivist for Reference & User Engagement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she provides Archival Instruction and Reference Services for the University Archives. She received her M.S. in Library and Information Science from the Graduate School of Library & Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. 

avatar for Cara Bertram

Cara Bertram

Archives Program Officer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jameatris Y. Rimkus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Jameatris Rimkus is the Archivist for Reference and User Engagement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2012. She is a member of the Society of American Archivists. Her research interests include the arrangement and description of culturally sensitive materials... Read More →

Tuesday August 18, 2015 3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT
Room 26A Cleveland Convention Center, 300 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114

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