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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jimerson, Randall C.

Second Advisor

Lopez, A. Ricardo, 1974-

Third Advisor

Kurtz, Tony, 1965-


Although archivists have traditionally seen themselves as passive recipients and caretakers of records, there is an increasing recognition of the power and influence archivists have in shaping the historical record and collective memory. This recognition has led to calls for archivists to use their power to promote social justice and government accountability. One important way to do this is to ensure maximum access to government records. Governments by their nature prefer to restrict records from the public, sometimes with the noble goal of protecting individual privacy, but most often because they wish to maintain power and control over their citizens. Using the development of public records legislation in South Dakota as a case study, this paper argues that true open access to records is an ongoing struggle that requires commitment and vigilance from the public. Archivists, as the guardians of government records, should play an active role in this battle.




Public records--Access control--South Dakota--Case studies, Government publications--Access control--South Dakota--Case studies, Public records--Law and legislation--South Dakota--Case studies, Government publications--Law and legislation--South Dakota--Case studies, Archivists--United States


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Geographic Coverage

South Dakota; United States


masters theses




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.