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ARCHIVES  March 2006, Week 5

ARCHIVES March 2006, Week 5

Subject:

Re: Can a living person refuse to have a subject file created for them?

From:

"Dixon, Kim (NIH/NLM) [C]" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Dixon, Kim (NIH/NLM) [C]

Date:

Thu, 30 Mar 2006 14:09:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

 Hi Emily,

Did your co-worker give a specific reason why she did not want to be
part of the archives?  Active members of the association should be given
a list of rules and guidelines so that they are aware of the probability
that they too will be included in the archives.  Does the artist
association have anything like that?


Kim Dixon
Archivist
History Associates Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: Emily Jones [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 1:45 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Can a living person refuse to have a subject file created for
them?

Hi everyone,
I hope some of my wise colleagues can help me out with something going
on in my archive. My archive mostly consists of subject files on artists
with a link to Woodstock, NY, past and present. Since we are an artists
association (in addition to a museum), we have a membership and many
people who exhibit in our gallery year round. One my co-workers, who
works in the gallery, also helps me out a few hours a week in the
archive. She is also an "Active Member" in the association and so often
has a piece in one of our shows. One day, when I wasn't working the
archive, she came into the archive and removed the file we had on her
(which was started on her before I was hired). She told me about it
later and said that she did not want to have a file in the archive kept
on her. Mostly files on our living artists have information about their
careers in the form of newspaper clippings and show postcards and the
like. Anyone could collect this information if they really wanted to. I
tried to explain to her that the file does not belong to her, since it
was created as a part of the archive (and using supplies, paper, and the
like paid for by the organization). I tried to explain that she was
already a part of the archive and that it isn't my job to second guess
the reasons why previous archivists created files on some individuals
and not others. The archive does not currently have a collecting policy,
although many of the staff are aware that, in terms of the living files,
that I'm trying to have files on all individuals who have reached
"Active Member" status. So I tried to explain to my co-worker that
because she is an "Active Member" in the Association, that she should
have a file. But she does not want to have a file. After she removed her
file from the archive, I started another file on her, since it doesn't
seem to me like she should have the ability to remove herself. The long
and short of it is that the other day she discovered her file in the
archive and complained to me again. I don't really know what to do. It
doesn't seem to me like she should be able to edit herself out of the
archive, since she is a part of this organization. But perhaps I'm wrong
on this one. I'd appreciate any help anyone could give me with this
situation. Please reply off-list. Thanks so much!
Emily

Emily R. Jones
Archivist
Woodstock Artists Association

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A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV List sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, www.archivists.org.
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