CIRCA:Glenn Dingwall, “Trusting Archivists: The Role of Archival Ethics Codes in Establishing Public Faith”


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Glenn Dingwall, “Trusting Archivists: The Role of Archival Ethics Codes in Establishing Public Faith” The American Archivist, Vol. 67, No. 1, (Spring-Summer, 2004), pp. 11-30

To summarize this article, one only needs to read the title. As the title claims, this paper focused on raising the role of Archivists as a trustworthy and contributing profession through the solidification of archival ethics codes. The structure of the paper then start with theories and perspectives on ethics, in which too branches of normative ethics were discussed: deontological and teleological. The introduction helped provide a basic knowledge to understand how in the archiving practice of describing ethics codes the choice of teleological language over a deontological one has the benefit of drawing public attention. A further familiarization with the sorts of professional inter-relationship an archivist has with record creators, users, employers and public sets up the context of the need to improve specific ethics codes not only to strengthen the status of archivists but is reciprocally so for the public good. By addressing and reaching a balanced archival relationship, the above mentioned objective should be achieved. The author did not forget to present examples of existing archival ethics codes as models to look to and critique. A common defect among these codes is the lack of enforcement on strengthening public confidence towards archivists and their work. Only through revising the codes could archivists gain both respect and autonomy in terms of being a competent professional.

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