Research Post: Archiving Accounts of War Crimes–Preserving History, Protecting Victims

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 the General News Media Research Team, which monitors the news for 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.

 

The Syrian and Iraqi civil wars spotlight two archival problems faced by countries experiencing or recovering from war. The first problem centers on the protection of a country’s archives and cultural landmarks. The Islamic State has looted, smuggled, and destroyed ancient monuments, artifacts, and manuscripts in Syria, most infamously in Palmyra.[1] The Islamic State has also destroyed pre-Islamic and Islamic manuscripts in Mosul, Iraq, which Mosul citizens, not surprisingly, view as an attack on their heritage.[2] The second problem centers on capturing and preserving materials that document war crimes, such as videos, photographs, court transcripts, surveillance files, and a variety of other materials that prove torture, extrajudicial punishments, and repression have occurred. Individuals often face serious risks acquiring and preserving such materials due to the destruction caused by war, along with the aggressors’ desire to escape justice. Sound and Image, a group operating in Syria and Turkey, maintains records of the Islamic State’s crimes (the Islamic State has targeted and killed some of its members).[3] Hadi al Khatib and Jeff Deutch, who live in Berlin, created the Syrian Archive, which focuses on video footage of war crimes in Syria, regardless of the perpetrators’ affiliation. Syrian Archive members catalog the videos and assign metadata.[4]

Countries recovering from war benefit from archivists’ preserving both historical materials and contemporary documentary evidence. Historical manuscripts, photographs, and other records express the cultural heritage of ethnic groups and nation states, which can serve as a source of unity. Evidence of war crimes aids the pursuit of justice, restitution, and healing. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner succinctly stated the latter point in the recent Rule-of-Law Tools for Post-Conflict States: Archives:

When a period characterized by widespread or systematic human rights violations comes to an end, those who suffered under the previous regime or during a conflict will particularly seek to fulfil their rights to the truth, justice and reparation, as well as demand institutional reforms to prevent the recurrence of violations. To meet these demands States use a variety of approaches: investigations and prosecutions, truth-seeking activities, reparation initiatives, and institutional reforms to reduce the possibility that repression or conflict will recur. Every one of these processes relies on archives.[5]

Archivists operate under enormous strain, however, when attempting to preserve materials in countries with ruined infrastructure, political instability, and few financial resources. An archives’ existence is often at stake under these circumstances. Still, the United Nations argues that sensitive records ought to stay in the countries of origin and that only copies should be deposited in archives located in other secure countries.[6] The National Archives of Finland, for example, recently accepted “digital copies of documents that have become endangered due to the Syrian Civil War.” The archives had previously accepted documents concerning the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon.[7] The Nile River Museum in Egypt also houses artifacts collected for a future museum of South Sudan, which declared its independence in 2011. The country is attempting to build a national archive, museum, and theater to preserve the cultural heritage of the new country’s 10.5 million citizens. While artifacts are in Egypt for safekeeping, archival documents still remain in Juba, the capital city, amidst a new civil war. Many of the archivists there fled to refugee camps when the conflict began, but staff member Becu Thomas stayed in the capital. Thomas thought that his country never learned from its past. He now works diligently to arrange and digitize South Sudan’s historical documents.[8]

France provides another example of the relationship between archives and countries recovering from war. The French government declassified over 200,000 records in December 2015 that document the Vichy government’s collaboration with the Nazis. The records may shed light on arrests and executions previously shrouded in secrecy, allowing researchers, family members, and others to come to terms with a difficult past. The French government, however, decided not to declassify documents relating to the country’s occupation of Algeria.[9] Algerians fought a bloody war for independence from France between 1954 and 1962. Materials relating both to war crimes and torture that occurred during the war, as well as cultural materials from pre-colonial Algeria, remain in French archives. Abdelmadjid Chicki, who serves as the director of Algeria’s national archive center, argues that records produced on Algerian soil belong to Algeria. Members of the French national archives argue that France owns materials that French citizens collected. France has offered to share copies of the Algerian materials with Algeria[10], a reversal of the previously mentioned position that the United Nations holds. Algerians have resorted to buying Ottoman-era documents at French auctions in order to develop an extensive collection of historical materials from their country.[11]

While France refuses to return records to Algeria, French archivists are attempting to develop a complete archival record that incorporates materials from former colonies. The French National Archives started Le Grande Collecte, a project to acquire and preserve materials from West Africans who lived under French rule or who migrated to France.[12] The French government also strongly supports a UNESCO fund to restore ancient sites and archives in places like Syria and also to find “safe havens” for endangered items. Some nations are worried about losing control of their cultural heritage.[13]

Archivists must balance the sometimes competing goals of protecting records and respecting the rights of record creators, owners, and subjects. Moving and storing records around the globe may aid preservation but not access for those who need them most. When these records are associated with crimes and torture, there may be other motives besides preservation behind the relocation of materials. A repository outside London, for instance, houses records that document the torture of people in 37 former British colonies, including Kenya, who fought for independence. The records’ existence remained a guarded secret from the rest of the world until recently, even as victims of violence sought justice for years.[14] Such records must be preserved and made accessible so that restitution and accountability can occur, and so that countries recovering from war can move forward.

 

 List of Further Readings

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank the General News Media Research Team, and in particular Audrey Lengel and Sean McConnell, for writing this post. The General News Media Team is: Courtney Dean; Lori Dedeyan; Audrey Lengel; Sean McConnell; and Daria Labinsky, team leader. If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Sources Cited

[1] “Alarmed at destruction in Palmyra, Security Council reiterates need to stamp out hatred espoused by ISIL,” UN News Centre, January 20, 2017.  http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56013. Accessed April 17, 2017.

[2] “Rubble, Ash Left in Mosul Museum Retaken from IS,” Voice of America, March 8, 2017. http://www.voanews.com/a/rubble-left-mosul-museum-retaken-islamic-state/3756042.html. Accessed April 18, 2017.

[3] “Syria: Witnesses for the Prosecution,” Al Jazeera, November 19, 2016. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2016/11/syria-witnesses-prosecution-161115091502071.html. Accessed April 18, 2017.

[4] “Syrian Archive catalogues war atrocities online,” Deutsche Welle, December 29, 2016. http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-archive-catalogues-war-atrocities-online/a-36945803. Accessed April 18, 2017.

[5] United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Rule-of-Law for Post-Conflict States: Archives (New York and Geneva, United Nations, 2015), 1.

[6] Ibid., 10, 40.

[7] “Endangered Syrian documents taken into safekeeping at the National Archives of Finland,” Ministry of Education and Culture, February 12, 2016. http://minedu.fi/en/article/-/asset_publisher/endangered-syrian-documents-taken-into-safekeeping-at-the-national-archives-of-finland. Accessed April 18, 2017.

[8]Strochlic, Nina. “Can Archivists Save the World’s Newest Nation?” National Geographic. November 3, 2016. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/south-sudan-archives/. Accessed April 22, 2017.

[9] Danny Lewis, “France is Making Thousands of Vichy-Era Documents Public,” Smithsonian.com, December 29, 2015. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/france-making-thousands-vichy-era-documents-public-180957661/. Accessed April 19, 2017.

[10] Christian Lowe, “Algeria, France tussle over archives 50 years after split,” Reuters, July 4, 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-algeria-archives-idUSBRE86307L20120704. Accessed April 19, 2017.

[11] Abdul Razak bin Abdullah, “Algeria obtains Ottoman-era documents at French auction,” Anadolu Agency, March 4, 2017. http://aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/algeria-obtains-ottoman-era-documents-at-french-auction/787097. Accessed April 19, 2017.

[12] Alison Hurd, “France adds African perspective to colonial period archives,” Radio France Internationale, November 21, 2016. http://en.rfi.fr/france/20161121-france-adds-african-perspective-colonial-period-archives. Accessed April 21, 2017.

[13] Erin Blakemore, “New Fund Pledges to Protect Cultural Heritage from War and Terror,” Smithsonian.com, March 21, 2017. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-fund-pledges-protect-cultural-heritage-war-and-terror-180962616/. Accessed April 21, 2017.

[14] Marc Perry, “Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire,” The Guardian, August 18, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/aug/18/uncovering-truth-british-empire-caroline-elkins-mau-mau. Accessed April 21, 2017.

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Research Post: The Evolving Landscape of Collecting Protest Material, Part 2

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 post, part two of a two-part series, comes from the General News Media Research Team, which monitors the news for 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 the first part of this two-part series, we discussed digital, social media, and other online materials that can be collected to form archives. Forming bodies of these digital artifacts carries legal consequences and privacy issues for the folks whose information is collected, but such work also has issues around narrative and interpretation. Below are two lists: one is a list of projects and tools that use social media and online materials in documenting history, and the other is a bibliography where the work as well as its related issues are discussed.

Projects and tools

  • A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland. Digital repository that “collects, preserves, and shares the stories, memories, and accounts of police violence as experienced or observed by Cleveland citizens.” Partnership between Cleveland residents and professional archivists.
  • Baltimore Uprising 2015 Archive Project. Digital repository “that seeks to preserve and make accessible original content that was captured and created by individual community members, grassroots organizations, and witnesses to the protests that followed the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015.” This is a collaborative project of Maryland Historical Society, university faculty, museums and community orgs.
  • DocNow. “Tool and a community developed around supporting the ethical collection, use, and preservation of social media content.”
  • Documenting Ferguson. Project of Washington University St. Louis. “Freely available resource that seeks to preserve and make accessible the digital media captured and created by community members following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014.”
  • Trump Protest Archive. “Self funded digital repository, collecting [photographs of] items of material culture from protest events relating to the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump and the early part of his administration.”

List of further readings

This post is courtesy of the General News Media Research Team, and in particular Courtney Dean and Lori Dedeyan. The General News Media Team is: Courtney Dean, Lori Dedeyan, Audrey Lengel, Sean McConnell, and Daria Labinsky, team leader.

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 Evolving Landscape of Collecting Protest Material, Part 1

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 post, part one of a two-part series, comes from the General News Media Research Team, which monitors the news for 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.

Protest materials have long found their way into archival repositories, and collecting initiatives such as the gathering of signs from January’s Women’s March are not unsurprising in our currently volatile political climate. While still fraught with their own set of ethical considerations, as was evidenced by Occupy Wall Street archive custody concerns, traditional protest ephemera does not harbor the explicit privacy and legal consequences that have arisen as a result of the increasing online presence of protest movements.

The internet is a richly generative arena where movements are born and developed, either with or without a coincident physical presence. The way it is mobilized for protests can vary–from coordinating and publicizing traditional actions, to communication and information sharing, community building, fundraising, and movement organizing. Its rapid and reactive nature means that the parameters of a movement can be constantly adjusted and redefined, often across social media networks. Social media content by design yields much more information about its creators and can therefore be harvested and analyzed differently than traditional material, and due to its increasing ubiquity, it warrants new conversations where traditional legal and social notions of the public and private domain may no longer be adequate. As the volume and variety of this content grows on an unprecedented scale, so, too, do the tools and methods by which it is subjected to scrutiny.

Curt Ellis, “Woman holds up her fist ,” Preserve the Baltimore Uprising: Your Stories. Your Pictures. Your Stuff. Your History., accessed March 15, 2017. 

Legal consequences and privacy issues

In response to this ever-growing body of online material, archivists and archival institutions have been initiating and developing best practices for web archiving projects. Web archiving and data harvesting provide opportunities to study metadata as well as content, in order to better understand the context of creation. For example, researchers may be interested in studying tweets across time, by geographic origin, or as part of a larger network of contacts.

This information is also of interest to law enforcement agencies, some of which have partnered with companies that sell tools for tracking and monitoring social media content culled from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media companies that offer programs which allow app makers to create third-party tools. One such company, Geofeedia, counts more than 500 such clients and has advertised services that were used by officials in Baltimore to monitor and respond to the protests that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in April 2015. Using such tools, Baltimore County Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit was able to discover and arrest protesters with outstanding warrants by collecting and filtering social media photos through facial recognition software, a practice that has been shown to have serious technical flaws and to disproportionately affect people of color. Such tools are also used to assemble dossiers on targeted individuals as part of a strategy of long-term surveillance, as evidenced in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office records.

Use of social networks by third parties and law enforcement agencies has been met with opposition by many, including activists and the American Civil Liberties Union. Companies including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram cut ties with Geofeedia last year, according to the Washington Post, and on March 13, Facebook announced that police departments cannot use data to “provide tools that are used for surveillance,” a move that some consider a first step in curbing the online surveillance and targeting of activists and people of color.

Given this context, it is important for archivists to be aware of the potential ramifications of collecting contemporary protest material. For example, lawmakers in several states have recently introduced legislation that would target and criminalize protests, in some cases creating or greatly stiffening existing penalties and in others going so far as to give drivers legal license to hit protesters blocking traffic. Regardless of whether or not such pieces of legislation are passed, their existence is a testament to a political atmosphere that is fraught with serious issues for people who exercise their right to protest. As protest and movement organizing moves to an online and increasingly public sphere, the potential reach of such legislation, in conjunction with increased surveillance and data collection, could expand significantly.

Archivists should also be cognizant that many communities have complicated histories with the legal apparatus of this country. Different movements stem from different contexts, and as such the needs and aims of communities may differ with regards to visibility and their own safety. For the indigenous communities at Standing Rock, for example, the violent response of law enforcement towards protesters is the latest in a long history of dispossession.

Communities of color also often find themselves at the convergence of government surveillance and the rhetoric of legality. Some police departments, which respond to and monitor protests, have formed partnerships with the FBI, DEA, and federal immigration agencies such as ICE. These task forces facilitate information exchange between local officers and federal agencies through data-sharing agreements that provide reciprocal access to local and federal databases. Such partnerships have serious consequences for the activity of targeted communities, whether they are Muslim communities that are subject to surveillance by Joint Terrorism Task Forces, or undocumented and immigrant communities that are fearful of local officers deputized as ICE agents.

Archivists can navigate these concerns through the appraisal and reappraisal of their roles and documentation strategies, and by opening dialogues about consent. One model for ethical collecting could be the solicitation of community materials via online digital platforms. In A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland, for example, professional archivists worked in conjunction with community members to develop “a safe and secure space to share any testimony, documents, or accounts that narrate or reflect on encounters or effects of police violence in their lives and communities.” In other words, members of the community self-select what to contribute, while professional archivists serve to make that material accessible.

Harvesting does not need to be inherently problematic, however. In fact, ethical concerns can inform the development of technologies themselves. DocNow, a collaborative project between the University of Maryland, University of California at Riverside, and Washington University in St. Louis, has created a suite of tools for working with Twitter data related to Black Lives Matter and other social justice actions. As part of their mission they explicitly affirm, “a strong commitment to prioritizing ethical practices when working with social media content, especially in terms of collection and long-term preservation. This commitment extends to Twitter’s notion of honoring user intent and the rights of content creators.”

A recent American History Association article by Kritika Agarwal further acknowledges technology’s potential to dismantle problematic archival constraints and to “rectify injustices associated with historic collection and archiving practices.” The article cites collaborative content management system Murkutu, which allows indigenous communities to limit access in accordance with community practice, as another example of a digital tool that places ethics at the forefront.

Issues of narrative and interpretation

In any collecting effort, archivists must consider whose stories are being preserved and why. As has been pointed out previously here, historically repositories tended to focus on rehashing, and thus elevating, hegemonic narratives. While now there is a greater acknowledgement of the power in appraisal, description, and access decisions made by archivists, and the position of privilege these often come from, issues of representation still persist.

A recent thread on the Women Archivists Section listserv spoke to issues of counter-narrative in the Women’s March on Washington Archives Project, specifically concerns over actively trying to document voices of women who chose not to participate, and the tension between respecting “intentional archival silence” and including a variety of voices in oral histories and other event documentation (Danielle Russell, e-mail message, February 15, 2017). However, narratives and collections no longer need to be limited by traditional single repository/project models. As WArS co-chair Stacie Williams pointed out, “Let’s not assume that they don’t want to be a part of the larger narrative happening here, however well-meaning our intent as archivists; they may have their own ideas for how they want to be represented.” (e-mail message, February 15, 2017)

While digital collecting brings with it a host of new challenges such as security and privacy, it also carries the potential to create tools and projects that possess community-centric values. These are not mutually exclusive imperatives. As Jarrett Drake stated in his #ArchivesForBlackLives talk, “We have an opportunity before us to transform archive-making, history-making, and memory-making into processes that are radically inclusive and accountable to the people most directly impacted by state violence.” Now more than ever, archivists need to consider the ethical ramifications of our work.

A list of tools and related bibliography will be in the next post.

This post is courtesy of the General News Media Research Team, and in particular Courtney Dean and Lori Dedeyan. The General News Media Team is: Courtney Dean, Lori Dedeyan, Audrey Lengel, Sean McConnell, and Daria Labinsky, team leader.

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 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/