December 1, 2021

Journal Article: “Privacy in Public Archives: Managing Personally Identifiable Information in Special Collections”

The article linked below was recently published by RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage.

Title

Privacy in Public Archives: Managing Personally Identifiable Information in Special Collections

Author

Zachary G. Stein
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Source

RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage
Vol 22, No 2 (2021)
DOI: 10.5860/rbm.22.2.85

Abstract

Archivists aim to make research and manuscripts accessible to the public. However, accessibility becomes tricky when donors or institutions enforce limitations. Sometimes limitations need to be enforced, especially when dealing with sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII), unpublished works, and student records. Redactions and restrictions may be necessary in these situations, but archives find this difficult to accomplish because of the size of the collections, results from previous accession practices, and the lack of staff and resources. The Special Collections department at Edith Garland Dupré Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette is addressing this problem and has put forward methods to confront its backlog of PII while staying true to its accessibility mission. This article examines the challenges of handling PII in physical archival materials, the impact of More Product, Less Process (MPLP) on sensitive information, and how the Special Collections department, while using some MPLP processing methods, adopted a slightly more meticulous and efficient approach to protect privacy while still providing access.

Direct to Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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