Research Post: the National Security Entry Exit Registration System, past, present, and future

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts. Each post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This comes from On-Call Research Team #2, which looks into real-time issues affecting archivists and archives. 

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Section.

In 2002, the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS) established a national registry for foreign visitors from 25 predominantly Middle Eastern countries (Gamboa 2003). NSEERS, also referred to as “Special Registration,” was a post-9/11 program that consisted of three components:

  • non-citizens had to register when they entered the U.S.
  • they had to regularly check in with immigration officials
  • and those leaving the country were tracked to ensure that people did not remain in the country illegally

Registering entailed getting fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. Those in violation of this program would be arrested, fined, and possibly deported (Muaddi 2016).

The program did not operate fully, even early on; parts of the program were dropped beginning in 2003. At that time, the registration portion of NSEERS ended because it was made redundant by other programs in place or being developed (Gamboa 2003). The Obama administration suspended NSEERS in 2011, though it technically remained in place, and finally ended it in December 2016.

While in place, NSEERS resulted in zero terrorism convictions and even the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) thought the program was redundant and ineffective (Mauddi 2016). In his letter to President Obama calling for the end of the NSEERS program, Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General, wrote that not only did it not reduce terrorist activity, but it encouraged mistrust and fear towards law enforcement in some communities (Liptak & Peled 2016).

The United States enacted similar programs in the recent past. From 1942-1946, the U.S. incarcerated as many as 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent in ten concentration camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. This program has been widely panned as unjust and a national disgrace, yet some supporters of a national Muslim registry have referred to this program as precedent (Ford 2015; Hawkins 2016). Similarly cited, Carter’s efforts during the Iran hostage crisis, 1979-1981, banned Iranians from entering the U.S. (with some exceptions for religious minorities and those with medical emergencies) and required the registration of roughly 60,000 Iranian students already in America. Experts find the comparisons don’t hold up (Jacobson 2015).

Other modern programs that are reminiscent of NSEERS include the influence of “see something, say something” initiatives in the U.S. (Mirza 2016) that mirror a DHS initiative begun around 2010; the growing network of facial recognition databases being used by law enforcement agencies across the country and globally (Newman 2016; Beaumont 2013); and the terrorist watch list, which is notorious for incorrectly including people on its various manifestations (Zetter 2016).

The Trump administration may roll back the Obama administration’s full NSEERS cancellation. Should NSEERS prove to be gone forever, the historic record demonstrates that future programs will follow.

 

Sources Cited

  • Beaumont, P. “NSA leaks: US and Britain team up on mass surveillance.” The Guardian, 2013 June 22. Retrieved 2017 February 27.
  • Ford, M. “The Return of Korematsu.” The Atlantic, 2015 November 19. Retrieved 2017 January 29.
  • Gamboa, S. “Homeland Security Ends Registration.” Associated Press, 2003 December 1.
  • Hawkins, D. “Japanese American internment is ‘precedent’ for national Muslim registry, prominent Trump backer says.” Washington Post, 2016 November 17. Retrieved 2017 January 29.
  • Jacobson, L. “Why Trump’s Muslim Ban Isn’t Like Jimmy Carter’s Actions on Iranians.” Politifact, 2015 December 17. Retrieved 2017 January 29.
  • Liptak, K. & Peled, S. “Obama administration ending program once used to track mostly Arab and Muslim men.” CNN, 2016 December 22. Retrieved 2017 February 27.
  • Mirza, W. “‘See something, say something’ culture is dangerous: How it spawns Islamophobia and keeps America insecure.” Salon, 2016 August 20. Retrieved 2017 January 29.
  • Muaddi, N. “The Bush-era Muslim registry failed. Yet the US could be trying it again.” CNN, 2016 December 22. Retrieved 2017 February 27.
  • Newman, K.H. “Cops Have a Database of 117M Faces. You’re Probably In It.” Wired, 2016 October 18. Retrieved 2017 January 29.
  • Zetter, K. “How Does the FBI Watch List Work? And Could It Have Prevented Orlando?” Wired, 2016 June 17. Retrieved 2017 January 29.

Research Post: “Protect from Potential Grizzlies”: How Local, State and Federal Concealed Carry Rules Apply to Libraries, Archives, and Museums

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #1, which looks into real-time issues affecting archivists and archives. 

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Proposed and already enacted concealed carry legislation in numerous states has spurred questions regarding policies for libraries, archives, and museums. What can – and cannot – individual institutions and organizations do regarding patrons and guns given their locally applicable bills? Concerns vary not just by state and institution type, but even by possible need for concealed weapons.  For example, Wyoming’s need for weapons in primary and secondary schools may be affected by the potential for grizzly bears nearby, a suggestion posed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

On American college campuses, various state rules apply to concealed carry. Four states allow guns on campuses, six states allow for guns on campus in restricted areas, 10 states allow campuses to choose, 10 states allow storage of weapons in vehicles, and 20 states prohibit guns on all campuses. Employment status can be a factor, as well. In Tennessee, although students can only store weapons in vehicles, faculty and staff are allowed concealed carry. While these variations only apply to college campuses, laws can be more convoluted with other institutions: public or federal buildings and state parks, for example. Since libraries, archives, and museums can be within public, state, corporate, federal, or college entities, we will all be affected by concealed carry laws differently.

Proponents for concealed carry argue that states that allow it on campuses, provide improved safety and that threats to the learning environment are false. These proponents argue instead that active shooter incidents such as the Virginia Tech massacre may have ended more quickly and safely with an armed student body on hand.

People working in libraries, archives, and museums voice concerns that guns can create more violence rather than less, but they are also concerned that concealed carry can limit free speech and introduces complicated security issues. Faculty and students may not safe practicing academic freedom under the new rules. In one instance in Utah, a feminist speaker backed out of a campus event after threats were made on her life and the Utah State University could not provide increased support for her safety. Concealed carry proponents believe that such situations can be mitigated and that the university could have provided better security, albeit at increased cost and intrusiveness of individual searches.

Another, more common example of security complications can be found in archives and manuscript repositories. They typically have patrons place bulky materials, such as jackets and bags, in lockers, but having patrons remove guns can violate state laws and possibly be illegal.

Many states have been in the news for legislation regarding concealed weapons on college campuses, which covers Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Texas. At the University of Texas at Austin, guns are restricted in its Tower area, due to the 1966 sniper attacks by Charles Whitman. Often, libraries are not included as restricted areas on college campuses. Some areas can be negotiated, but if a state wholly allows for concealed carry, then libraries and archives cannot create rules or policies that negate the relevant legislation. Virginia’s Richmond Public Library found this out when they posted that guns were prohibited and the Virginia’s Citizens Defense League (rightly) disagreed. After changing the rule to read that it was prohibited “except as permitted by the law,” the League still determined the language was not acceptable and protested.

Overall, it is the burden of each library, archives, and museum to determine what policies they are allowed to enact based on the laws and regulations of their state and the rules within their affiliated institutions. This poses issues for creating standards and for enacting and managing policies effectively. After all, your institution may need protection from a grizzly.

A bibliography is provided below. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and some articles may require a subscription.

All States

Texas

Tennessee

Colorado

Utah

  • Annale Renneker, “Packing More than Just a Backpack.” Journal of Law and
    Education, vol. 44, no. 2 (Spring 2015): 273-282.
  • Jennifer Sinor, “Guns on Campus Have Already Curtailed Free Speech.”
    Chronicle of Higher Education, vol. 61, no. 10., 2014 October 27. Accessed January 3, 2017. http://www.chronicle.com/article/Guns-on-Campus-Have-Already/149663

Idaho

Resources for understanding and tracking legislation

RESEARCH POST: DIGITAL CAMERAS-GODSEND OR CASH COW

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from the General News Media Research Team, which monitors news media for issues related to archives.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE

Digital cameras, including those on smartphones, and portable scanners have become an important tool for researchers and other members of the public. Allowing visitors to scan and shoot documents with their own equipment saves staff time, discourages the overuse of paper and toner, and produces a better quality image than that of a photocopier, one that can be used immediately. (1) Many research rooms and service desks provide stands for cameras and outlets for scanners.

However, some organizations, especially government agencies, either prohibit the use of cameras or charge visitors fees to use their own cameras to shoot images.

The ACRL/SAA Joint Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries states that “repositories should strive to provide access to their holdings at no direct cost to the researcher.” And where this is not possible, fees should not be prohibitive. (2)

In December 2014 Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen handed down a legal opinion stating that Wisconsin court officials should not charge fees to people who make copies with cellphone cameras or scanners. He originally had approved a charge of $1.25 per page. (3) However, Van Hollen also said that court custodians could choose to prohibit users from making their own copies of any sort, in which case the court custodians could charge a fee. (4)

As of last March, 24 of the 31 Wisconsin county clerks who responded to a survey were still charging fees for images shot with personal cameras. An editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal stated, “Even the National Gallery in Washington allows flash photography …  yet here in Wisconsin county clerks of courts still claim that taking pictures of court records risks damaging the documents.” The real issue is money; as the editorial pointed out, that $1.25 per page fee brings in more than $800,000 a year statewide. (5) In comparison, federal courts in the state charge only 10 cents per page. (6)

Those county clerks who don’t charge gave varying reasons. Primarily, clerks don’t feel they have the resources to prevent photography, because the documents are viewable on a computer screen and patrons could simply photograph the screen. In other words, it would be a burden on staff to monitor computer users. (7)

Wisconsin counties are not alone in charging for photography and scanning. To name a few examples, the Colorado State Archives has a $15 per day personal camera use fee, and a $15 scanner rental fee. (8) The Missouri History Museum charges $10 per day for the same. (9) The Maryland Historical Society charges 50 cents per image. (10) A recent article on archives and camera policies in the United Kingdom reported fees varying from 2 pounds to 25 pounds (about $2.60 to $32.50) per camera per day. That article pointed out that not only do these fees potentially hurt student researchers, but since transcribing documents (often the alternative) is so time consuming, it may force researchers to rely on more limited sources, making the quality of research suffer. (11)

Saying that government agencies should be able to prohibit, or charge for, personal camera use because they need the money is an insufficient argument, since there would be a savings in money budgeted for staff time, as well as agencies’ scanning and copying equipment and the maintenance of that equipment, by allowing the free use of personal equipment. (12)

Additionally, federal, state, and local government archives are taxpayer funded repositories of public records, so charging fees for personally made digital copies seems unethical.

Whether an archives decides to charge fees or not, access fees should be clearly stated on the organization’s website. (13) The Ohio History Connection’s site, for example, has a Digital Camera Use Policy that outlines its digital cameras regulations. It is free to use a digital camera without a flash, but scanners are forbidden. (14) And the University of Winnipeg judges whether to allow scanner use on a case-by-case basis, and “a supervision/setup charge may apply.” (15)

Of course, archivists should be aware that sometimes they may need to prohibit personal reproduction devices in order to protect especially fragile or valuable materials. The Huntington Library is one of many rare book and manuscript repositories that performs all reproduction by its staff. (16) Other archives leave the decision to the archivists’ discretion—the Field Museum in Chicago, for example, does this “if copying will either damage or degrade the material, or if donor, acquisition or legal restrictions prohibit reproduction.” (17) Some archives prohibit handheld scanners, on the rationale that putting the pressure of a handheld scanner on top of a document could damage the paper. As stated in Managing Local Government Archives, “The archives should always reserve the right to refuse any technique of reproduction that might endanger the document.” (18)

But in most cases archives and libraries can only benefit from providing free use of personal cameras and scanners to researchers. As an OCLC Research report stated in 2010, “the benefits to researchers, repositories and collections is undeniable.” (19) And as an archivist on the SAA Lone Arrangers list put it, “The amount of time and resources that we’ll be saving by not photocopying is a major payoff in itself.” (20)

Sources Cited

(1) John H. Slate and Kaye Lanning Minchew, Managing Local Government Archives. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, p. 119.

(2) “ACRL/SAA Joint Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries,” accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/jointstatement.

(3) Todd Richmond, “Attorney General Says Clerks Shouldn’t Charge for Court Copies Made With Personal Technology,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, December 30, 2014, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.startribune.com/ag-clerks-shouldn-t-charge-for-personal-copies/287124321/

(4) State of Wisconsin Department of Justice, Opinion of Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, December 30, 2014, accessed August 6, 2016, https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/oag/recent/oag_12_14.pdf.

(5) “Courts Paint Phony Picture to Justify Fees,” Wisconsin State Journal, March 25, 2016, accessed August 6, 2016, http://host.madison.com/wsj/opinion/editorial/courts-paint-phony-picture-to-justify-fees/article_3b8d1a03-85e8-54cf-aa8c-c0d8121247a3.html.

(6) Jonathan Anderson and Sari Lesk, “Want Court Records? Pay Up,” Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, March 22, 2016, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/news/investigations/2016/03/18/want-court-records-pay-up/81874300/.

(7) Ibid.

(8) “Our Fees,” Colorado State Archives, accessed August 6, 2016,  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/archives/our-fees.

(9) “Reading Room Procedures,” Missouri History Library and Museum, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.mohistory.org/lrc/your-visit/doing-research/procedures.

(10) “Personal Camera Use,” Maryland Historical Society, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.mdhs.org/personal-camera-use.

(11) Nell Darby, “The Cost of Historical Research: Why Archives Need to Move With the Times,” The Guardian, May 23, 2013, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/may/23/history-research-costs-archive-fees.

(12) Mutschler, Charles V., <cmutschler@ewu.edu> “Re: Camera Use Fees,” October 22, 2015, SAA Archives & Archivists List, <http://forums.archivists.org/read/messages?id=158241#158241>, accessed August 6, 2016.

(13) Slate and Minchew, p. 118.

(14) “Ohio History Connection Digital Camera Use Form,” accessed August 6, 2016,  https://www.ohiohistory.org/OHC/media/OHC-Media/Learn/Archives-Library%20Documents/DigitalCameraUseForm_Policy.pdf.

(15) “The University of Winnipeg Reproduction Fees,” accessed August 6, 2016,  http://archives.uwinnipeg.ca/info-for-researchers/reproduction-fees.html.

(16) “Imaging services at the Huntington,” Huntington Library, accessed August 6, 2016, http://huntington.org/WebAssets/Templates/content.aspx?id=1924.

(17) “Field Museum Archives Policies,” accessed August 6, 2016, https://www.fieldmuseum.org/science/research/area/museum-archives/museum-archives-policies.

(18) Slate and Minchew, p. 119.

(19) Lisa Miller, Steven K. Galbraith, et al. “ ‘Capture and Release’: Digital Cameras in the Reading Room,’ “ report produced by OCLC Research, 2010, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2010/2010-05.pdf.

(20) Schergen, Rena, <renaschergen@archstl.org> “Re: Researcher Camera Policy,” October 24, 2013, SAA Lone Arrangers List, <http://forums.archivists.org/read/messages?id=114374#114374>, accessed August 6, 2016.

Other Sources

“Digital Camera Use Policy,” Houghton Library, accessed August 6, 2016, http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/digital_camera_policy.cfm.

“Archives: Find Resources,” Pratt Institute Libraries, accessed August 6, 2016, https://library.pratt.edu/find_resources/archives/.

“Digital Photography Policy,” Ukrainian Historical and Education Center of New Jersey, accessed August 6, 2016, https://www.ukrhec.org/collections/archives/digital-photography-policy.

“King County (WA) Copy and Service Fees,” accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/archives/about-us/fees.aspx.

“New York State Archives Fee Schedule for Copies of Records,” accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.archives.nysed.gov/research/res_serv_fee.shtml.

 

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank the General News Media Research Team, and in particular, Daria Labinsky, for writing this post.

The General News Media Research Team is:

Jeremy Brett, Leader

Anna Trammell

Daria Labinsky

Chelsea Gunn

Meghan Kennedy

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: Personal Archiving and Empowerment

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from the General News Media Research Team, which monitors news media for issues related to archives.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE

Personal archiving has been an increasingly common topic among library and archives professionals. Digital preservation, defined broadly, has received fairly frequent coverage in mainstream media outlets recently as well. As personal records are created more frequently in digital environments, public concern for the preservation of born-digital personal archives becomes increasingly pervasive. (1) The term “personal archiving” is itself an interesting one, particularly when positioned within communities of professional archivists. It may gesture toward a shift in attention from working with collections at inactive stages in their lifecycles and providing access to researchers, to educating the public to be informed custodians of their own records, with intervention beginning much earlier in the record lifecycle. Librarians and archivists are increasingly relied upon to provide education and training to the public, empowering individuals to take control of the long-term maintenance and preservation of their own records, digital or otherwise.

Articles in popular media intended for a general audience reflect a widespread concern—and in some cases, panic—about the preservation of digital records, from personal documents or photographs stored on computer hard drives to blogs and files stored in the cloud. It has been noted that these articles rarely interview archivists or other professionals engaged in this very work. (2)

Of course, within professional literature and practice, much work has been devoted to exploring the roles that information professionals can (and do) play in working with the public on the organization and preservation of personal, family, and community records. (3)

At the same time, much has also been written recently on the (often lack of) diversity represented both in archival collections and in the profession itself. In addition to responding to concerns about digital preservation and the “digital black hole,” personal archiving outreach initiatives have the potential to address this scarcity of diverse representations in the historical record. (4)(5) But in order to do so, archivists and librarians must expand outreach efforts to include their complete communities. Who is included in personal archiving education and conversation? In the instance of a public program, archivists and librarians might treat this statistically and ask if those in attendance constitute a representative sample of the population of the community in which the hosting organization is situated.

This outreach may also potentially include pitching more articles to popular publications to counteract those in which archival work is largely invisible. It might also include cooperative efforts, both large- and small-scale, between members of the profession and personal archivists in sharing information, expertise, and resources. As community members themselves, archivists and librarians might consider how they are reaching their constituents, and how they are empowering their complete communities to work with them to preserve community histories, independently or as collaborators.

An additional key issue here involves differing uses of the term “archivist.” Who is included in the phrase “members of the archival community”? Does it include so-called “citizen archivists,” or is the title of “archivist” reserved for qualified and employed professionals? If the latter, are archivists and librarians denying themselves the value of experience provided by amateur collectors? These are questions archivists and librarians face when discussing the future of their professional identities and their relationships with their publics and community partners.

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF COVERAGE OF THE ISSUE:

Sources cited:

(1) Weiner, Eric. “Will Future Historians Consider These Days the Digital Dark Ages?” On the Media (January 4, 2016). http://www.npr.org/2016/01/04/461878724/will-future-historians-consider-these-times-the-digital-dark-ages

(2) Lyons, Bertram. “There Will Be No Digital Dark Age.” Issues and Advocacy Blog (May 11, 2016). https://issuesandadvocacy.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/there-will-be-no-digital-dark-age

(3) Personal Digital Archiving 2016 conference schedule. http://www.lib.umich.edu/pda2016

(4) Mass Memories Road Show. http://openarchives.umb.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15774coll6

(5) The Memory Lab at DC Public Library. http://www.dclibrary.org/labs/memorylab

Additional sources:

Ashenfelder, Mike, “Personal Archiving in the Cloud,” in National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Library of Congress, Perspectives on Personal Digital Archiving (Library of Congress: Washington, D.C., 2013): 21. http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/documents/ebookpdf_march18.pdf

Becker, Devin and Collier Nogues, “Saving-Over, Over-Saving, and the Future Mess of Writers’ Digital Archives: A Survey Report on the Personal Digital Archiving Practices of Emerging Writers.” The American Archivist 75:2 (Fall/Winter 2012): 509. http://americanarchivist.org/doi/pdf/10.17723/aarc.75.2.t024180533382067

Brown, Nathan, “Helping Members of the Community Manage Their Digital Lives: Developing a Personal Digital Archiving Workshop.” D-Lib Magazine 21:5/6 (May/June 2015). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may15/brown/05brown.html

Cushing, Amber L., “Highlighting the Archives Perspective in the Personal Digital Archiving Discussion,” Library Hi Tech 28:2 (2010): 305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07378831011047695

Drake, Jarrett. “Expanding #ArchivesForBlackLives to Traditional Archival Repositories” (June 27, 2016). https://medium.com/on-archivy/expanding-archivesforblacklives-to-traditional-archival-repositories-b88641e2daf6#.20feffxdh

LaFrance, Adrienne. “Raiders of the lost web.” The Atlantic (October 14, 2015). http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/10/raiders-of-the-lost-web/409210/

Marshall, Catherine, “Challenges and Opportunities for Personal Digital Archiving,” in I, Digital: Personal Collections in the Digital Era, Christopher Lee, ed., (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2011): 97. http://saa.archivists.org/store/i-digital-personal-collections-in-the-digital-era/2217/

Marshall, Catherine C., “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving: Part 1.” D-Lib Magazine 14 (March/April 2008). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march08/marshall/03marshall-pt1.html

Marshall, Catherine, Sara Bly, and Francoise Brun-Cottan, “The Long-Term Fate of Our Personal Digital Belongings: Toward a Service Model for Personal Archives,” in Proceedings of Archiving (Ottawa: Society of Imaging Science and Technology, 2006): 25.

Pardes, Arielle. “How digital storage is changing the way we preserve history.” Vice (February 19, 2016). http://www.vice.com/read/how-digital-storage-is-changing-the-way-we-preserve-history

Redwine, Gabriela, Personal Digital Archiving (Great Britain: Digital Preservation Coalition, 2015): 2. http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr15-01

Soleau, Teresa. “Preventing digital decay.” The Iris: Behind the Scenes at the Getty (October 20, 2014). http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/preventing-digital-decay/

Strausheim, Carl. “Preventing a digital dark age.” Inside Higher Ed (March 10, 2016). https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/03/10/researchers-build-preservation-ecosystem-avert-digital-dark-age

Winsborough, Dave; Lovric, Darko; Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. “Personality, Privacy, and Our Digital Selves.” The Guardian (July 18, 2016). https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2016/jul/18/personality-privacy-digital-selves

Wortham, Jenna. “How an archive of the internet could change history.” The New York Times (June 21, 2016). http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/magazine/how-an-archive-of-the-internet-could-change-history.html?_r=0

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank the General News Media Research Team, and in particular, Chelsea Gunn, for writing this post.

The General News Media Research Team is:

Jeremy Brett, Leader
Anna Trammell
Daria Labinsky
Chelsea Gunn
Meghan Kennedy

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: The Right to Be Forgotten

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from the Other Professional Associations’ Communications Research Team, which monitors the communications of other associations, for issues related to archives.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

This is the first in a series of posts about the Right to Be Forgotten. Stay tuned for additional coverage.

SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE

The Right to be Forgotten (RTBF) is a 2014 legal ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that gives individuals the right to have information found on the Internet regarding themselves delisted (be made difficult to find) in search engines and in other data providers (such as websites). The CJEU’s ruling stems from a 2010 legal case in Spain in which a Spanish citizen filed a complaint with Spain’s national data protection agency against a Spanish newspaper, which published a true fact about the person, and Google Spain/Google Inc., whose search engine results linked to the information about the person. The citizen argued that the information about him was no longer relevant and that the search engine results infringed upon his privacy rights. (3) In February 2016, the French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), which chairs the Article 29 Working Group (European Union privacy regulators), extended the implementation of the RTBF law to all domains (extensions) of a search engine. (7) Previously, the delisting would only happen in the country of the individual who requested (and was approved) the delisting. In February 2015, the Guardian reported that Google said it had “received 386,038 ‘right to be forgotten’ removal requests since the ruling, and has accepted approximately 42% of them.” (4)  A year later, the Guardian further reported that Google had delisted 600,000 search results. (7)

Some main points of the RTBF ruling:

  1. Individuals have the right to request information about themselves found on the Internet be delisted if the “information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing.” (3)
  2. According to the CJEU’s ruling the request for delisting needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis because neither the right to the protection of personal data nor the right to freedom of expression are absolute rights. Therefore each case needs to be assessed individually considering the personal privacy of the individual versus the freedom of expression and access to information. (3)
  3. The data providers (for example Google, Inc.) are tasked with the application of the RTBF ruling. Delisting of information on the Internet will be decided by the data providers, not legal or governmental bodies.
  4. Data providers cannot disclose internal processes, or what has been subject to delisting on the Internet. The original publisher or owner of a website cannot be notified when something is delisted.
  5. There are previous rulings in the European Union that prefigured the 2014 ruling, such as the European Union Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC of 1995. In Germany, an individual has the right to privacy and to rehabilitation after they have paid their debts to society (for example after completing a term of a prison sentence).
  6. Public figures are not (usually) subject to the RTBF ruling.
  7. The CJEU believes that the RTBF ruling “strikes the balance between the right to the protection of personal data and freedom of expression.” (3)

In February 2016, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), issued an official statement regarding the 2014 RTBF ruling. In the statement, IFLA addressed the issues of the RTBF ruling and its implications for libraries and urged its members to participate in policy discussion regarding RTBF. (1)

IFLA’s list of issues for libraries concerning the RTBF ruling:

  1. Integrity of and access to the historical record.
  2. Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression. This is based upon Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (6)
  3. Privacy of the individual.

The RTBF ruling strikes at some of our core values as archivists, librarians, and information professionals. We strive to protect privacy rights of the individual, yet we also strive to protect the integrity of our information sources, support the freedom of expression, and advocate for access to information. Further, the delisting of information, especially information that is truthful and accurate, goes against some of the core values and code of ethics outlined in the Society of American Archivists’ “Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics.” (8)

In 2015, a public debate was held in New York City on the RTBF ruling titled “The U.S. should adopt the Right to be Forgotten Online.” (5) [The video is available online.] One of the participants of the debate, Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said that the United States should not adopt the RTBF because he felt that the RTBF ruling was “a very bad solution to a very real problem.” He gave the following analogy that we as archivists, librarians, and information professionals can relate to regarding the delisting of information on the Internet: “It’s like saying the books can stay in the library, but you have to set fire to the card catalogs.” (5)

Some critiques of the RTBF ruling include:

  • The rules (of the RTBF ruling) are vague and unclear.
  • The decisions for delisting/erasure are left to corporations.
  • There is no transparency or accountability to the delisting of information.
  • Due to the vagueness of the ruling, the principle could expand beyond search engines.
  • RTBF is censorship (particularly when delisted information is true/factual/accurate).
  • The territorial scope of the RTBF ruling goes beyond the European Union.

As the IFLA statement on the RTBF ruling advised, we need to monitor how the RTBF ruling is being applied in Europe and around the world and how it affects the integrity of and access to the historical record on the Internet. Countries outside of Europe, including Japan, Colombia, Brazil, and the United States have implemented similar rulings or have delisted information on the Internet. (2) In 2018, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will supersede previous data protection laws In Europe. (9) Understanding the new 2018 regulations and how they may affect privacy rights of the individual, freedom of expression, access to information, and the integrity of the historical record on the Internet will be crucial.

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF COVERAGE OF THE ISSUE:

Sources cited:

(1) “IFLA Statement on the Right to be Forgotten.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.ifla.org/node/10272?og=29

(2) “Background on the Right to be Forgotten in National and Regional Contexts.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.  Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/clm/statements/rtbf_background.pdf

(3) Fact Sheet on the “Right to be Forgotten” ruling (c-131/12). European Commission. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/files/factsheets/factsheet_data_protection_en.pdf

(4) Gibbs, Samuel. “Google to Extend ‘Right to be Forgotten’ to all its Domains Accessed in EU.” The Guardian. (February 11, 2016). Accessed 2016 April 26. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/11/google-extend-right-to-be-forgotten-googlecom

(5) “The U.S. should adopt the “Right to be Forgotten Online.” Intelligence Squared Debates. (March 17, 2015) Video accessed 2016 April 26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDzW-2q1ZQ

(6) United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

(7) Hern, Alex. “Google takes right to be forgotten battle to France’s highest court.” The Guardian. (May 19, 2016). Accessed 2016 June 2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/19/google-right-to-be-forgotten-fight-france-highest-court

(8) “SAA Statement of  Core Values and Code of Ethics.” Society of American Archivists. Accessed 2016 June 2. http://www2.archivists.org/statements/saa-core-values-statement-and-code-of-ethics#.V1GPnzUrKUm

(9) “Reform of EU Data Protection Rules.” European Commission. Accessed 2016 June 2. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/reform/index_en.htm

Other sources regarding the RTBF:

Toobin, Jeffrey. “The Solace of Oblivion.” The New Yorker. (September 24, 2014). Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/solace-oblivion

Scott, Mark. “Europe Tried to Reign in Google. It Backfired.” The New York Times. (April 18, 2016). Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/technology/google-europe-privacy-watchdog.html

“Freedom: the right to be forgotten.” My Digital Rights. British Library. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.bl.uk/my-digital-rights/videos/freedom-the-right-to-be-forgotten

Google Transparency Report. “European privacy requests for search removals.” Google. Accessed 2016 June 2. https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/europeprivacy/?hl=en

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank Patricia Glowinski and Blake Relle for writing this post.

The Other Professional Associations’ Communications Research Team is:

Tara Kelley, Leader
Jamillah Gabriel
Patricia Glowinski
Jasmine Jones
Blake Relle

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: Is the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture a Federal or Congressional Record?

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #2, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Summary of the Issue

Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and Interrogation Program (Senate Report 113-288), also referred to in the media as the “Senate Torture Report” was sent to President Obama, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the CIA, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Director of the FBI, and the CIA Inspector General on December 10, 2014. This report was an extensive five year Senate investigation of the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects. It lays bare the extreme violence, severe tactics, and brutality against the suspects as well as the government’s dishonesty to cover that up.

Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy wrote to the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of the FBI on November 5, 2015 and expressed disappointment that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was citing a still pending FOIA case (ACLU v. CIA) as justification for not allowing Executive Branch officials to read the full 6,700 page report. They were also concerned that personnel at NARA said they would not respond to inquiries on whether the report constitutes a record under the Federal Records Act because the FOIA case was pending, based on guidance from the DOJ. On April 28, 2016, members of various open government, human rights, civil liberties, and media organizations wrote a letter to the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. This letter justified their stance that Ferriero should use his statutory authority to determine that the report is indeed a federal document. Many in the general public are concerned that the report could disappear if it is not deemed a federal document and that it may thus never be made available. Developments on this issue include Richard Burr, who replaced Feinstein as Committee Chair, writing to agencies who received the report and requesting they return all copies back to the Senate. He also wrote to the White House and instructed them not to enter the report into the Executive Branch system of records, which was contrary to Feinstein’s instructions when the report was released. The ACLU filed an emergency motion in their FOIA suit and all agencies have committed to retaining their copies of the full report during the pending litigation. However, the CIA acknowledged that it destroyed its only copy of the report, “by mistake.”

bibliography of coverage of the issue:

January 21 2016 (updated) “Senate Torture Report – FOIA” American Civil Liberties Union
https://www.aclu.org/cases/senate-torture-report-foia

February 18, 2016 article “The CIA torture report belongs to the public” Al Jazeera America
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2016/2/the-cia-torture-report-belongs-to-the-public.html

February 29, 2016 interview “Is the torture report a public record? An interview with the National Security Archive’s Lauren Harper” Melville House Books
http://www.mhpbooks.com/is-the-torture-report-a-public-record-an-interview-with-the-national-security-archives-lauren-harper/

April 28, 2016 Letter to Archivist on Executive Branch copies of Senate torture report
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B03viEiWh0qWYnl0UGtleEdSY2M/view

May 2, 2016 article “Will the Senate Torture Report Disappear?” Bill of Rights Defense Committee
http://bordc.org/news/will-the-senate-torture-report-disappear/

May 3, 2016 article “Feds Urged to Preserve ‘Torture Report'” Courthouse News Service
http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/05/03/feds-urged-to-preserve-torture-report.htm

May 5, 2016 article “National Archives’ Refusal to Ensure Preservation of CIA Torture Report Alarms Rights Groups” AllGov
http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/national-archives-refusal-to-ensure-preservation-of-cia-torture-report-alarms-rights-groups-160505?news=858766

May 6, 2016 post “Archivist won’t Call ‘Torture Report’ a Permanent Record” Federation of American Scientists blog
https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2016/05/archivist-record/

May 13, 2016 article “Appeals Court Declines to Release Full ‘Senate Torture Report,” ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/appeals-court-declines-release-full-senate-torture-report/story?id=39101136

May 13, 2016 article “American Public Is Not Entitled to See Full Senate Torture Report, Court Rules” Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senate-torture-report-full_us_573622e3e4b08f96c1832750

May 16, 2016 article “CIA Watchdog Accidentally Deleted Lengthy Torture Report” Government Executive
http://www.govexec.com/management/2016/05/cia-watchdog-accidentally-deleted-lengthy-torture-report/128342/

May 17, 2016 article “Will the CIA Disappear the Senate Torture Report?” Bill of Rights Defense Committee
http://bordc.org/news/will-the-cia-disappear-the-senate-torture-report/

March 17, 2016 article “Judges Consider Release of Full CIA Torture Report” U.S. News & World Report
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-03-17/judges-consider-release-of-full-cia-torture-report

May 17, 2016 article “Senate Report on CIA Torture is One Step Closer to Disappearing” World News Daily Information Clearing House
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44678.htm

May 20, 2016 article “‘Urgent’ action needed to preserve CIA torture documents, groups warn” Yahoo News
https://www.yahoo.com/news/urgent-action-needed-to-preserve-cia-torture-165007608.html

May 20, 2016 article “Why Federal Agencies Must Still Preserve (and Should Finally Read) the SSCI Torture Report” Just Security
https://www.justsecurity.org/31197/federal-agencies-preserve-and-finally-read-ssci-torture-report/

June 3, 2016 post “FOIA Ombudsman’s Departure Worrisome, Archivist Will Not Call Torture Report a Federal Record and More: FRINFORMSUM 5/12/2016” National Security Archive blog
https://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/foia-ombudsmans-departure-worrisome-archivist-will-not-call-torture-report-a-federal-record-and-more-frinformsum-5122016/

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank Rachel Seale for writing this post, and Steven Duckworth, Dave McAllister, Rachel Seale, and Alison Stankrauff for doing key research on the issue.

I&A On-Call Research Team #2 is:

Alison Stankrauff, Leader
Katherine Barbera
Anna Chen
Steven Duckworth
David McAllister
Rachel Seale

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

#ArchivesSoWhite in the words of Ariel Schudson

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #1, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Due to the amount of information Research Team #1 gathered, this will be a 4-part series, with the Intro & Bibliography and then interviews with Jarrett Drake, Samantha Winn, and Ariel Schudson.

Ariel Schudson has been a Woman In Film and advocate for positive change and activism for the majority of her life. As a teenager, she was an HIV/AIDS educator, prioritizing outreach to facilities as diverse as high schools and homes for teen sex workers. She has received two Master of the Arts degrees from UCLA- one in Cinema and Media Studies and one in Moving Image Archive Studies, and has chosen to concentrate in archival studies. Her past accomplishments include programming a film series at the New Beverly Cinema a weekly column on masculinity/gender and various writings on film preservation. She regularly participates in film festivals like TCM and AFI Fest, and is the Chair of the Access Committee for the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA).  Ariel is currently working for Post Haste Digital as their Archival Specialist, actively seeking out at-risk AV collections for preservation and restoration. She enjoys coffee, Kodachrome film stock and well-managed databases. Her two adorable cats named Wallach and Eartha Kitten rock her world.

What does #archivessowhite mean to you?

This is a tricky question. The “meaning” of #archivessowhite is complex. There is the technical meaning in each individuated archival landscape- how varied is your content? Does it have a history of being diverse? Are you (as a responsible archivist) doing your part to keep up with it? If it isn’t relevant to the content, #archivessowhite also is applicable to the employment. Is your archive making certain to diversify your staff?

This meaning is what I see as one of the most salient: #archivessowhite is a hashtag and movement that has grown out of the strong feeling of discontent and aggravation at the willful and continued lack of representation of communities of color within archival content. Even if the materials themselves and the histories exist, it has come to light, time and time again, that there are overtures to keep current power structures (basically Rich Straight White Dudes) in power. To add insult to injury, the meaning is itself extended by reaffirming the white supremacist structures inherent within archival content and histories by the severe lack of archivists/librarians/historians of color in the profession and limiting their power or reach either economically or socially in the same manner that POC are marginalized on a larger professional scale in non-archival contexts. White male cis-structures abound in academia and seek to squish. And that sucks!!

What conversations do you wish to hear archivists having, and where? Better yet, what action do you want archivists to be taking?

I want to hear white archivists having conversations about how they are going to fix the system. I want to hear White Feminist Librarians start listening to the Women Librarians of Color when they actually are talking about the same issues but the White Feminists (not the same as white feminists) are so afraid that they are going to lose something (and I’m really not sure what they are going to lose…I’ll give them my number, we can go try to find it together). Archivists are one of the most COMMUNITY-CENTERED fields. We need each other. What does it say about us when we are being exclusionary and not listening? One of the things that we do is oral history, right? The thing we need to do is start listening to the Archivists of Color who want to a) contribute and b) have themselves be heard.  We need to be having these conversations at conferences, Meet-ups, online Tweet-ups. Of note: it is not the responsibility of Archivists of Color to educate white archivists on How To Be An Ally. We have to make a decision that we want to have our future reflect a more accurate past. And that has to also be pressed upon why we do these things too. We do not become archivists to make taste decisions or to (really) have opinions. We become archivists so that the past is well documented and preserved. And in order to do this, we MUST reject the way the archives have been leaning (ie totally white).

In what moment did it dawn on you that archives had failed diversity and inclusion, or did you always see this enormous gap/lack in the profession?

It didn’t always dawn on me that our archives were failing us. I am grateful to the #archivessowhite hashtag (as well as a few other amazing archivists that I follow on twitter) because they really got me thinking about how our materials are preserved and what works we save. I’m fairly lucky. I work in moving image archiving and race and privilege has certainly been a huge discussion in that landscape, due to some people that I have personally worked with like Professor Allyson Field. I have recognized that my archival colleagues are primarily white.  Inter-archival outreach is something that I feel really strongly about because I feel like we deal with similar issues on a meta-level but we may not talk about it (ie #archivessowhite).  I am grateful that I believe: “You’re an archivist? I’m an archivist! We’re all archivists!” no matter what the materials so that I have added people on social media and been able to capture these online conversations & acquire valuable colleagues.

What would you like the archives, and the archivists, of the future to be? What actions do you see helping the field move on that direction?

We clearly need archivists of the future to be more racially varied and rework the power system. Let’s break down present structures and be less frightened of change (it’s going to come whether you like it or not and we’re in the field that is prepping for change). I hope that the archivist population of the future will get to a point where they will receive materials from Stonewall and Ferguson and just know that they are critically valuable and have their supervisors be as joyful and passionate about their preservation as they are. I hope there will be no arguments about how to preserve legal documents from the Trayvon Martin case or Black Lives Matter flyers. This is the kind of archivist landscape that we need. I do worry that there is a segment of people who, while I respect and value them for their hard work and intelligence, may not be able to evolve to this level. I hope that we can all work together to get to a higher ground. The thing I love the most about archiving is our community-ness but we have a problem that needs to be fixed.

What readings (up to 3) do you recommend to archivists who need to up their knowledge around archives and race?

Three (well, more…) basic readings about archives and race I would suggest:

This is just necessary: http://www.cirtl.net/files/PartI_CreatingAwareness_WhitePrivilegeUnpackingtheInvisibleKnapsack.pdf

There are some great articles in here, but in particular, Adrienne Harling’s What to do About Privilege

http://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/2012-6-AO.pdf

Diversity & Librarian Conversation:

http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/why-diversity-matters-a-roundtable-discussion-on-racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-librarianship/#comment-40788

Can we find another word for Diversity?

http://www.salon.com/2015/10/26/diversity_is_for_white_people_the_big_lie_behind_a_well_intended_word/

April Hathcock – multiple writings on diversity & inclusion. ALL very good!

https://aprilhathcock.wordpress.com/category/diversity-and-inclusion/

#ArchivesSoWhite in the Words of Samantha Winn

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #1, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Due to the amount of information Research Team #1 gathered, this will be a 4-part series, with the Intro & Bibliography and then interviews with Jarrett Drake, Samantha Winn, and Ariel Schudson.

Samantha Winn serves as the Collections Archivist for Virginia Tech, where she helps to document the cultural heritage and experiences of traditionally marginalized groups. Samantha graduated from Drexel University with an MLIS and concentration in archival studies. She is currently chair of SAA’s Students and New Archives Professionals (SNAP) Roundtable. She was one of the first people to engage with #ArchivesSoWhite on Twitter

What does #ArchivesSoWhite mean to you?

With #ArchivesSoWhite, Jarrett Drake leveraged broader cultural conversations around representation for people of color at the Oscars to pithily draw attention to parallel failings in archives. For me, #ArchivesSoWhite was a mechanism to spotlight pervasive and deeply entrenched patterns of exclusion in our collection development practices and the recruitment, hiring, and retention of archival professionals. Generations of cultural heritage and information professionals have engaged this issue of marginalization in our institutions. Whatever progress we’ve made, we still have a long way to go.

I was raised to seek out, listen to, and respect other people’s stories. This early training prepared me in many ways to be an archivist. When I entered the field as a paraprofessional in 2011, I made it a priority to build an inclusive and diverse network of peers and mentors (I talked about this work as a student writing for Hack Library School).

I happened to catch #ArchivesSoWhite while grappling with broader social justice/anti-racism work in my immediate community. I have considered this work a deep personal priority for many years, but I’ve only recently felt sufficiently equipped to engage with it in a public and meaningful way. Several resources exist for this. My own path involved a lot of reading, a lot of listening , and many professional development workshops.

Now that I have a deeper reservoir of expertise, I’ve been working to balance two competing priorities. The first is a need to decenter myself and step back from the podium to give other voices a space. The second is a responsibility to leverage my own privilege – by which I mean my position of influence online and in personal spaces, my access to decision makers, and my relative professional security – to initiate, sustain, and act upon hard conversations about representation in archives. I joined the #ArchivesSoWhite conversation because I felt convicted by one of Jarrett’s tweets, which lamented the reality that people from traditionally marginalized groups are expected to carry these burdens with limited support, resources, or recognition. In addition to being exploitative and irresponsible, this practice diminishes our collective ability to retain  archivists from these groups.

What conversations do you wish to hear archivists having, and where?

Rather than jump right into the conversation, many of us may need to step back and listen first. I recommend seeking out research and literature from across the cultural heritage professions, attending workshops in your area, and intentionally listening to the lived experiences of our POC colleagues (without excuse, argument, or evasion). Then, and only then, will we be equipped to make change in our individual spheres of influence. Once we get there, I want to hear archivists talk about our responsibility for diversity and inclusion in our role as cultural heritage professionals. I also want to hear recommendations from across the broad archives community about how folks have incorporated these values into collection development, arrangement and description, outreach, scholarship, mentoring, recruitment and retention, and so on.

The question of recruitment and retention should be a key priority, especially for SAA leaders and archives managers. I have seen a distinct and undeniable whitewashing of the profession at every step of the career ladder. My colleagues today (broadly speaking) do not look like my classmates from high school and college, and they don’t look like the paraprofessionals I worked with before I graduated. In the 2010 US census, about 64% of respondents identified as “white, non-hispanic.” If our profession was representative of the US population, 1 in 3 archivists would be a person of color.

One broad conversation that needs to happen is for our profession as a whole to explicitly agree that we care about equitable representation for people of color in the ranks of archivists and in the historic record. I’m not certain we’re there yet. Studies of corporate and academic initiatives have shown that diversity and inclusion policies are effectively meaningless when goals are watered down. It is profoundly counterproductive (however well-intentioned) to equivocate difference of opinions, geographic distribution, and institution type with ethnic and racial diversity.

Better yet, what action do you want archivists to be taking?

I challenge anyone who claims that they lack the capacity to achieve meaningful progress in this work. The truth is that there are so many steps we can take, regardless of our job description or tenure in the profession. Here is a narrow sample of things we can do:

1. Seek out literature and personal stories about the experiences of marginalized groups around archives, including archivists, cultural heritage creators/donors, and researchers.

2. Strive to broaden our professional networks to include more people of color.

3. Attend continuing education workshops on diversity and inclusion practices.

4. For hiring managers, seek out training on unconscious/implicit bias. Research best practices for hiring policies that measurably reduce discrimination by effect (regardless of intent).

5. Personally encourage students (K-12 and college) from traditionally marginalized groups to consider archives as a profession.

6. Recruit people of color to run for SAA positions, serve on committees, and pursue leadership roles across the organization.

7. Bring a diversity/inclusion lens to collection development, exhibits, and scholarly research. Regardless of who we are or what kind of institution we work in (unless we literally work for the Institute for the History of Rich Older White Protestant Married Men with Ivy League Degrees), anyone can do this.

8. Actively and explicitly invite the participation of traditionally marginalized groups in collection development and documentation strategies.

9. Deliberately and intentionally mentor students and new professionals from traditionally marginalized communities.

10. Seek out and invite people of color to speak on panels, author book chapters, give keynotes, and teach workshops on topics that reflect their professional expertise (e.g. not just for diversity panels).

In what moment did it dawn on you that archives had failed diversity and inclusion, or did you always see this enormous gap/lack in the profession?

It was pretty clear to me as a student of history from a young age, but several experiences as a researcher, archives staff member,  conference attendee, and roundtable leader have reinforced this understanding.

What would you like the archives, and the archivists, of the future to be? What actions do you see helping the field move on that direction?

I am excited to see the Council’s new cultural competency training roll out. I would like to see all archival professionals take on responsibility for this work in our repositories and our professional organizations. I would like to see stronger diversity/inclusion mandates adopted and implemented across SAA. I would particularly like to see permanent funding for the Mosaic Scholarship and a renewal of the Mosaic Program.

What readings (up to 3) do you recommend to archivists who need to up their knowledge around archives and race?

April Hathcock’s “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS”, http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/lis-diversity/

Jennifer Vinopal’s “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action”,http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2016/quest-for-diversity/

Fobazi Ettarh’s “Black or Queer? Life at the Intersection”, http://hacklibraryschool.com/2013/11/19/black-or-queer-life-at-the-intersection/

#ArchivesSoWhite in the Words of Jarrett Drake

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #1, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Due to the amount of information Research Team #1 gathered, this will be a 4-part series, with the Intro & Bibliography and then interviews with Jarrett Drake, Samantha Winn, and Ariel Schudson.

Jarrett M. Drake is the Digital Archivist at the Princeton University Archives, where his current responsibilities entail describing born-digital archival collections, managing the Digital Curation Program, and coordinating the Archiving Student Activism at Princeton (ASAP) initiative. He is also one of the organizers and an advisory archivist of A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland, an independent community-based archive in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, that collects, preserves, and provide access to the stories, memories, and accounts of police violence as experienced or observed by Cleveland citizens.

What does #ArchivesSoWhite mean to you?

This hashtag, which I spawned from the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, recognizes that the whiteness and white supremacy laced throughout Hollywood is also laced throughout the (US) archival field. The first blockbuster film, DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, is an homage to the lost cause and racial terror. The first state archival repositories in the US emerged in the deep south, primarily as a way to help preserve the memory of the lost cause and memorialize Confederate veterans. This inextricable link between film making and archive making rests on the normalization of whiteness and masculinity, and to a further extent the maintenance of patriarchy. Much like the Academy Awards, which fail repeatedly to honor and recognize the contributions and successes of non-white people, archives also uphold and validate whiteness through their appraisal and descriptive practices.

What conversations do you wish to hear archivists having, and where? Better yet, what action do you want archivists to be taking?

I’m not sure conversations are what archivists need. Archivists need to begin taking action, preferably beyond our walls and beyond our professional bounds. Archivists need to partner with scholars in ethnic studies programs, such as Black Studies, Latino Studies, or Asian American Studies. To make our work attuned to the struggles facing people at the intersection of race/ethnicity/gender, we also should partner with Women’s/Gender Studies scholars, and in particular those studying and writing about black feminism. I think our profession turns to itself to have conversations, which is a big problem given how overwhelmingly white and middle class our field is. We need fewer conversations amongst ourselves, and we need more action with other professions and disciplines.

In what moment did it dawn on you that archives had failed diversity and inclusion, or did you always see this enormous gap/lack in the profession?

I think I saw it before it dawned on me per se; I don’t recall one specific moment. The failure of our field has ripple effects. This failure impacts what gets printed in middle and high school textbooks. This failure impacts what gets exhibited at libraries and museums. This failure impacts what gets produced in films. To the extent that whiteness and masculinity are historically venerated, I’ve always seen the gap, even when I didn’t know the reason. But now I know the reasons and I see them up close and personal in my daily work and in the professional conferences I attend.

What would you like the archives, and the archivists, of the future to be? What actions do you see helping the field move on that direction?

I want the field of archives to be critical, ethical, and responsible. I want us to challenge power and authority, not merely acquiesce to it. I want us to be transparent about the forces that shape our work and stop pretending that the colonialism and imperialism of the American state don’t greatly impact the operation of most archival repositories. We profess, ostensibly, that our field is free of these things, but this is demonstrably false. Until we change that dynamic, we should be forthcoming about it. I want us to be responsible to the people, and not to the state. The state != the people. Currently, archives serve the state, broadly defined as the government and those with the means to influence the government. We need to put the people first. That’s what responsible archives look like to me.

What readings (up to 3) do you recommend to archivists who need to up their knowledge around archives and race?

This is so hard, if not unfair!

1) Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History by Michel-Rolph Trouillot.

2) “The Archival Sliver: Power, Memory, and Archives in South Africa,” by Verne Harris

3) “Being Assumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative,” by Mario Ramirez.

I recognize the limitations in only listing works by men, and thus I am part of the problem. I expect (hope) someone critiques my choices because they reflect the failing of intersectional thinking in our field. We all have to do better, myself included.

 

#ArchivesSoWhite Intro & Bibliography

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #1, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Due to the amount of information Research Team #1 gathered, this will be a 4-part series, with the Intro & Bibliography and then interviews with Jarrett Drake, Samantha Winn, and Ariel Schudson.

In January 2016 protesters sparked a conversation about the ongoing exclusion of people of color from nomination for Academy Awards with the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Although specifically focused on a single awards ceremony, the message it represented has far broader implications for how society grapples with institutional and structural racism. For archivists, the issues of cultural hegemony and representation #OscarsSoWhite addressed are ongoing concerns as we deal with our own legacy of a white, patriarchal system.

In response, archivist Jarrett Drake expanded the dialog through his own adaptation of the hashtag, #ArchivesSoWhite. Drake calls the archival profession to task for continuing to prioritize narratives of white supremacy and restricting opportunities for people of color in the profession. The ensuing Twitter conversation brought several other voices into the discussion, but also emphasized that these issues need to be addressed at a far deeper level as we strive for critical self-examination and real change.

Members of the Issues & Advocacy Roundtable On-Call Research #1 team reached out to Jarrett, as well as several other archivists involved in the dialog to gain additional perspective on their use of the hashtag #ArchivesSoWhite and potential next steps for the profession. Jarrett Drake, Sam Winn, and Ariel Schudson all graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.

The full text of those interviews will follow, but there are several key takeaways reiterated by each archivist worth noting here. The problems of a lack of diversity and the shaping of history based upon the records of the wealthy and powerful have been discussed among archivists for years. We can build upon the momentum of #ArchivesSoWhite to move beyond talk to action. From the collections our repositories acquire to the outreach we conduct, exhibits we mount, and classes we teach, a fundamental shift in how archivists conceptualize their mandate is coming. In addition, we need to reevaluate how we train, hire, support, and retain diverse staff who truly represent the materials for which they care.

Above all, this is not a solitary effort. Both Jarrett and Sam emphasize the twin goals of education and collaboration. We have compiled a brief bibliography with articles and books that provide context and background, allowing us to approach these problems as informed practitioners. Scholars, activists, researchers, and the public all have a stake in this conversation. We will use mechanisms that allow us to seek out and listen to the concerns of our colleagues across disciplines.

Acknowledgement of the lack of diversity in the profession, the realization that personal biases affect our work, and widespread recognition of the gaps in the historical record are not new developments. The question now is how we can take advantage of this particular moment of reflection and cultural consciousness.

Bibliography

Referenced in the #ArchivesSoWhite Dialogue

Zimrig, Carl. Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States. New York: NYU Press, 2016.

Recommended by Interviewees

Berrey, Ellen. “Diversity is for what people: The big lie behind a well-intended word,” Salon, October 26, 2015.

Ettarh, Fobazi. “Black or Queer? Life at the Intersection” Hack Library School, November 19, 2013.

Haris, Verene. “The Archival Sliver: Power, Memory, and Archives in South Africa,” Archival Science 2 (2002): 63.

Harling, Adrienne, “What to Do about Privilege,” Archival Outlook (November/December 2012): 13.

Hathcock, April. Diversity and Inclusion writings on At the Intersection: Blog about the intersection of libraries, law, feminism, and diversity.

Hathcock, April. “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS”, In the Library With the Lead Pipe, October 7, 2015.

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Independent School (Winter 1990).

Ramierz, Mario. “Being Assumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative,” American Archivist 78 no. 2 (2015): 339.

Swanson, Juleah, Ione Damasco, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, Dracine Hodges, Todd Honma, and Azusa Tanaka. “Why Diversity Matters: A Roundtable Discussion on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Librarianship,” In the Library With the Lead Pipe, July 29, 2015.

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph  Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History Boston: Beacon Press, 1997.

Vinopal, Jennifer. “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action”, In the Library With the Lead Pipe, January 13, 2016.

Additional Sources

Dewey, Barbara I., and Loretta Parham. Achieving diversity : a how-to-do-it manual for librarians. New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2006.

Hastings, Samantha Kelly. “If Diversity Is a Natural State, Why Don’t Our Libraries Mirror the Populations They Serve?.” Library Quarterly 85, no. 2 (April 2015): 133.

Maxey-Harris, Charlene, and Toni Anaya. Diversity plans and programs. Washington, DC : Association of Research Libraries, 2010.

Neely, Teresa Y., and Kuang-Hwei Lee-Smeltzer. Diversity now : people, collections, and services in academic libraries : selected papers from the Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium Diversity Conference. New York : Haworth Information Press, 2002.

Ryan, Marianne, and Sarah Leadley. “Reflections on Diversity and Organizational Development.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 54, no. 4 (Summer 2015): 6-10.

Wheeler, Ronald. “We All Do It: Unconscious Behavior, Bias, and Diversity.” Law Library Journal 107, no. 2 (Spring 2015): 325-331.

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank Heather Oswald for writing this post, and Stephanie Bennett and Christine Anne George for coordinating interviews.

I&A On-Call Research Team #1 is:

Christine Anne George, Leader
Stephanie Bennett
Maureen Harlow
Heather Oswald
Linda Reynolds
Kristen Weischedel

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.