Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-r8t2r Total loading time: 0.277 Render date: 2022-07-04T06:49:39.616Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

10 - Access and the social contract in memory institutions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2018

Helen Forde
Affiliation:
University College London
Get access

Summary

Introduction

This chapter charts some of the changes that are currently taking place in the provision of access to information, and highlights the need to ensure that new methods of access do not ignore the need to ensure access for future generations as well as the present. Much of the current attention to access represents improvements in the absolute right to information, but there is a danger that good preservation management, particularly in the electronic world, is ignored. These improvements include: the absolute right to information; the obligation to enable information retrieval; the requirement that publicly funded and government-funded projects should facilitate access; the growing issues surrounding electronic access and the real needs of the end-user; the social agenda for access to information; and the importance of making the end-user comfortable with accessing information, be it in a traditional or virtual format.

Access and the social contract in publicly funded Institutions

In considering these issues some definitions and parameters would not go amiss. Access to information is perhaps the simplest of the concepts, but putting that together with ‘the social contract’ and ‘publicly funded institutions’ brings in more complex issues. Rousseau's proposition of the equality of all relates in this instance to the right of access to information for all, equally – this is an inalienable right. The role of publicly funded institutions, the memory institutions of the chapter title, is to respond to that inalienable right. I would argue further that the provision of public resources (i.e., resources owned by all in Rousseau's terms) to libraries, museums and archives (defined as memory institutions) confers a social as well as a moral obligation on them to facilitate access to the information they hold, and that this contract is only slowly being recognized by both sides. Memory institutions have, for many years, collected, preserved and made material available, but often on their own terms; the priorities have frequently been those of the organization rather than those of the public. Curators, archivists and librarians have had the content and care of collections at the central core of their responsibilities, stressing the academic and holistic qualities of their holdings, acting in some cases as fortresses into which only the brave dared venture.

Type
Chapter

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×