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Date Permissions Signed

7-20-2011

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Jimerson, Randall C.

Second Advisor

Kurtz, Tony, 1965-

Third Advisor

Steele, Ruth Catherine

Abstract

This thesis explores ways in which the American archival profession, through the Society of American Archivists (SAA), can promote the trustworthiness of archives and archivists. The further professionalization, which involves the creation of a cohesive organization, standards, and a code of ethics, of the archival field is one proposed starting point. Currently, SAA is already on the path of professionalization. For some occupations, professionalization also includes the enforcement of standards and ethics, as well as the certification of members. I argue that for the American archival profession, however, these are not the paths to take. Enforcement and certification require infrastructure and social power that SAA simply does not possess. Enforcement is also problematic, as situations are never black and white, and decisions can never be guaranteed to be impartial and unbiased. This thesis also argues that SAA should create an online ethics resource and support center to assist members faced with quandaries about ethics, as part of a continuing process of reflection and debate about ethics within the profession. This reflection and debate will encourage "ethical being" and thinking in members. It is this "ethical being" that will make archivists and, by extension, archives deserving of trust.

Type

Text

Publisher

Western Washington University

OCLC Number

750602443

Digital Format

application/pdf

Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Society of American Archivists

Geographic Coverage

United States

Genre/Form

Academic theses

Language

English

Rights

Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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