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The Ethical Archivist (PDF)

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  • Written by Elena S. Danielson 

  • Archivists deal with unique ethical challenges on a regular basis, and these complex conundrums are the focus of this compelling book by Elena Danielson. She illustrates how the daily decisions made by archivists connect to larger issues of social responsibility and the need to construct a balanced and accurate historic record.

    Danielson both analyzes real-life cases and poses theoretical questions to help working archivists better understand ethics as an applied practice. The author shows how ethical considerations and dilemmas emerge in seemingly routine facets of archival work—from acquisition and appraisal through disposition and deaccessioning. Danielson also focuses on such fascinating phenomena as forged documents and displaced archives. She thoughtfully considers the archivist's responsibility to protect cultural property, and includes commentary on current trends in privacy law and relevant legislation.

    Helpful appendices include an analysis and reference to ten professional codes of ethics, sample acquisition guidelines and collections management policies, a select list of federal legislation affecting access to private information, and a bibliography.

    Product Details

    Publisher: Society of American Archivists (2010)
    PDF: 440 pages
    ISBN: 978-1-931666-58-9

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Reviews
The Ethical Archivist
  • "While the author takes pains to distinguish between the ethical challenges that are unique to archivists as opposed to librarians or historians, members of the latter disciplines will find as much value here as will archivists. It is difficult to imagine a better written or more thorough and thoughtful work on such thorny issues. 'Masterpiece' is an appropriate description."
    College and Research Libraries (May 2011)

    "The Ethical Archivist will undoubtedly become a critical text on reading lists for recordkeeping and archives courses . . . a very worthy addition to our professional discourse."
    Archives and Manuscripts (May 2011)

    "Danielson provides a valuable discussion of how ethics matter, and how individual archivists, the archival community, and the historical record benefit from adherence to professional codes. Complete with appendices containing ethical codes, sample policies, and a broad bibliography, The Ethical Archivist is proper reading for any archivist."
    Journal of Western Archives (October 2011)

    "[A] provocative discussion of what's right and wrong in this profession's workaday world."
    Manuscripts (Winter 2011)

    "I would highly recommend that new and seasoned archivists read this book . . . [it] would be a good volume to add to any archivist's library."
    Journal for the Society of North Carolina Archivists (Spring 2011)

    ". . . recommended reading for practicing archivists seeking to enhance their awareness of ethics and archives and their ability to make ethical decisions."
    Journal of Archival Organization (February 2011)