Cover image for Without consent : the ethics of disclosing personal information in public archives
Without consent : the ethics of disclosing personal information in public archives
MacNeil, Heather.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[Chicago, Ill.] : Society of American Archivists ; Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1992.
Physical Description:
224 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CD986.5 .M33 1992 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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An exploration of the theoretical and practical issues associated with the administration of access to government-held personal information generally, and to personal information held in government archives specifically. MacNeil's theme is the balance archivists must strike in negotiating access to

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Choice Review

MacNeil's monograph is based on her 1987 Master of Archival Studies thesis at the University of British Columbia. It is the only book-length treatment of a delicate subject daily confronting archivists balancing an individual's right to privacy with the public's right to know. MacNeil spends considerable time tracing the evolution of the legal concept of privacy and the emergence of public disclosure laws in the US (which favor disclosure) and in Canada (which favor privacy). She also devotes chapters to the use of archival sources in sociohistorical research and problems and practices involving access to personal information in public archives. In her concluding chapter the author offers some suggestions for administering access to personal information in government repositories. Aside from advocating the use of a review board for determining access for specific research projects, MacNeil is content to point out areas that still require additional professional discussion and policy development. Social scientists, historians, archivists, attorneys, and government officials can read this well-written and reasoned volume with profit. Graduate; professional. N. C. Burckel; Washington University