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Subject:

Society of American Archivists STATEMENT ISSUED - (fwd)

From:

Margaret Procter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Margaret Procter <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 20 Apr 2004 09:36:00 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (122 lines)

Further to Iain Flett's forwarding of the aus-list reaction to the US
national archivist news - here's the statement issued by SAA et al last
Thursday

Margaret

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Date: 15 April 2004 13:55 -0600
From: "Corbett, Bryan" <[log in to unmask]>
To: "Arcan-L (E-mail)" <[log in to unmask]>, "ICA-L
(E-mail)" <[log in to unmask]>, "Acarm-L (E-mail)"
<[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Society of American Archivists STATEMENT ISSUED -


FYI


Bryan Corbett
University Archivist,
University of Alberta,
Book and Records Depository (BARD)
100, 8170-50th Street
Edmonton, Alberta
CANADA T6B 1E6

The following statement has been issued on behalf of the archival,
historical and other communities. Organizations that wish to sign on
should contact the SAA to have their organization's name added to the list.
_________________
Statement on the Nomination of Allen Weinstein to Become Archivist of the
United States
April 14, 2004
We are concerned about the sudden announcement on April 8, 2004, that the
White House has nominated Allen Weinstein to become the next Archivist of
the United States. Prior to the announcement, there was no consultation
with professional organizations of archivists or historians. This is the
first time since the National Archives and Records Administration was
established as an independent agency that the process of nominating an
Archivist of the United States has not been open for public discussion and
input. We believe that Professor Weinstein must-through appropriate and
public discussions and hearings-demonstrate his ability to meet the
criteria that will qualify him to serve as Archivist of the United States.
When former President Ronald Reagan signed the National Archives and
Records Administration Act of 1984 (Public Law 98-497), he said that, "the
materials that the Archives safeguards are precious and irreplaceable
national treasures and the agency that looks after the historical records
of the Federal Government should be accorded a status that is commensurate
with its important responsibilities." Earlier in 1984, when the National
Archives Act was being discussed, Senate Report 98-373 cautioned that if
the Archivist was appointed "arbitrarily, or motivated by political
considerations, the historical records could be impoverished [or] even
distorted."

P. L. 98-497 clearly states that, "The Archivist shall be appointed without
regard to political affiliations and solely on the basis of the
professional qualifications required to perform the duties and
responsibilities of the office of Archivist." In 1984, House Report 98-707
noted, "The committee expects that [determining professional
qualifications] will be achieved through consultation with recognized
organizations of archivists and historians." The law also states that when
the Archivist is replaced, the President "shall communicate the reasons for
such removal to each House of Congress." President Bush has not given a
reason for the change, and there is no evidence to suggest that it is being
made because of John Carlin's resignation.
We agree with these statements and believe that the decision to appoint a
new Archivist should be considered in accordance with both the letter and
the spirit of the 1984 law.

We call on the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs to schedule open
hearings on this nomination in order to explore more fully 1) the reasons
why the Archivist is being replaced and 2) Professor Weinstein's
qualifications to become Archivist of the United States. Among other
issues, we believe it is important to learn more about Professor
Weinstein's:
Knowledge and understanding of the critical issues confronting NARA
and the archival profession generally, especially the challenges of
information technology, and the competing demands of public access to
government records, privacy, homeland security, and ensuring the
authenticity and integrity of all records.
Thoughts on how NARA should balance competing interests for
protecting sensitive or confidential information with those seeking to gain
access to records created by government agencies.
Ideas for continuing essential programs as well as important new
archival initiatives, such as the Electronic Records Archives project.
Thoughts on fully supporting the National Historical Publications
and Records Commission (NHPRC), whose grants have been instrumental in
starting and supporting the production of published editions of historical
documents and in helping to raise the level of archival practice at state
and local levels.
Experience and demonstrated ability to lead and manage a large
government agency such as NARA.
Plans for protecting the professional integrity and political
non-partisanship of NARA as a governmental agency.

Association of Research Libraries
[log in to unmask]
Council of State Historical Records Coordinators
[log in to unmask]
Northwest Archivists, Inc.
[log in to unmask]
Organization of American Historians
[log in to unmask]
Society of American Archivists
[log in to unmask]



---------- End Forwarded Message ----------



----------------------------------------------
Margaret Procter
Lecturer in Records and Information Management
LUCAS, School of History
9 Abercromby Sq
Liverpool L69 3DA

Tel 0044 151 794 2411
Fax 0044 151 794 3153

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