Public Good

Archives and the Public Good : Accountability and Records in Modern Society
Author: Cox, Richard J.; Wallace, David A.
Publication: Westport, Conn. Praeger, 2002.
ISBN: 1567204694
Subject: Archives–Social aspects.
Archives–Administration–Case studies.
Records–Management–Case studies.
Common good.
Public interest.
Responsibility.

CONTENTS

Introduction
Richard J. Cox and David A. Wallace 1

Excerpt:
The fourteen contributions to this volume revolve around four closely related themes tying the importance of records for accountability in society—explanation (making laypeople understand what records mean), secrecy, memory, and trust.

Explanation 19

Archives on Trial: The Strange Case of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers
James M. O’Toole 21

“A Monumental Blunder”: The Destruction of Records on Nazi War Criminals in Canada
Terry Cook 37

From the Conclusion:

Critical to accountability in any sphere of human activity is the existence of reliable records as evidence of human and organizational activity. And for the records to be credible, the records management and archival processes themselves must be based on sound theoretical concepts of “value,” on logical strategies and methodologies to locate such values, and on consistent practice, verifiable implementation, and transparent documentation. Archivists and records managers must likewise themselves be transparent and accountable for their decisions. Significant improvements in all these areas at the National Archives of Canada were a direct result of the impact of the Deschênes Commission investigations or the criticisms of David Matas.

Odd but true, the conclusion seems inescapable that Nazi war criminals entering Canada illegally in the late 1940s led indirectly, by the end of the 1980s, to better ways of determining how archival records should be selected to form society’s collective memory. This perhaps atones a little for past apathies.

Information for Accountability Workshops: Their Role in Promoting Access to Information
Kimberly Barata, Piers Cain, Dawn Routledge, and Justus Wamukoya
67

Secrecy 89

Implausible Deniability: The Politics of Documents in the Iran-Contra Affair and Its Investigations
David A. Wallace 91

The Failure of Federal Records Management: The IRS versus a Democratic Society
Shelley Davis 115

Lighting Up the Internet: The Brown and Williamson Collection
Robin L. Chandler and Susan Storch 135

Memory 163

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the Politics of Memory
Tywanna Whorley 165

Turning History into Justice: The National Archives and Records Administration and Holocaust-Era Assets, 1996—2001
Greg Bradsher 177

“They Should Have Destroyed More”: The Destruction of Public Records by the South African State in the Final Years of Apartheid, 1990—1994
Verne Harris 205

Trying to Write “Comprehensive and Accurate’’ History of the Foreign Relations of the United States: An Archival Perspective
Anne Van Camp 229

Trust 245

What You Get Is Not What You See: Forgery and the Corruption of Recordkeeping Systems
David B. Gracy II 247

The Jamaican Financial Crisis: Accounting for the Collapse of Jamaica’s Indigenous Commercial Banks
Victoria L. Lemieux 265

The Anchors of Community Trust and Academic Liberty: The Fabrikant Affair
Barbara L. Craig 283

Records and the Public Interest: The “Heiner Affair” in Queensland, Australia
Chris Hurley 293

Index 319

About the Editors and Contributors 335