BY: Paul Morris firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Morris an attorney who is now pursuing a masters degree in library and information science at Queens College City University of New York has just written a stimulating paper in which he presents “…a wakeup call to have archivists start clamoring for an enforceable code of ethics as indispendable for the advancement, perhaps even viability of archives as a profession”. Even though Mr. Morris understandably emphasizes archivists in his paper many of the observations included will also be of interest to librarians, especially those working with special collections. We are pleased to publish this paper with the permission of its author Paul Morris. Paul has indicated that he would be interested in receiving comments regarding his paper addressed directly to him at the above e-mail address
Immediately below are the introductory and concluding paragraphs of the paper followed by a link for viewing and downloading the complete document.
In this paper, I am stating the case for archivists to clamor for an enforceable code of ethics. I first try to set forth the scope of what archives are and what archivists do, including the task they are claiming as the guardian of social memory. I then briefly examine what ethics are and the functions served by codes of ethics. I next explore the development of archival codes of ethics. I then state the case for archivists as a profession to clamor for an enforceable code of ethics. The thrust of my argument is that given archivists’ desire to be the guardian, and perforce the shaper, of society’s memory, an enforceable code of ethics is a required both for archivists recognition and relations among themselves of their identity as a profession and for the general public’s entrusting archivists with the responsibilities they are claiming..
This paper is intended as a wakeup call, to have archivists start clamoring for an enforceable code of ethics as indispensable for the advancement, perhaps even the continued viability of archives as a profession. I recognize that effecting the changes needed, and implanting the conditions required for an enforceable code, will undoubtedly be a long and difficult process. But this will surely be easier and more to the liking of practitioners if archivists provide the impetus for change rather than waiting until rules and regulations are imposed on the field. I believe this is a chance for archivists to be proactive and take the first step to determining the future direction of the profession.
To view and download the complete paper click on the link below: