Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ethical quandary for archives

The Boston Globe has been covering a crisis at the Boston College archives. They had collected a series of interviews from IRA members, assuring them of complete anonymity. And now the Northern Ireland Police Services have appealed to federal prosecutors to subpoena parts of the archive collected under that agreement. I presume that this crisis has been triggered by the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland. Nevertheless, the archivists are facing a difficult decision. In order to keep faith with the people who trusted the journalist who collected the information in the archive, they may have to destroy the archive.

1 comment:

Marie S. Newman said...

There is no good way out of this situation. Destroying the archives is unthinkable, but so is violating confidentiality. I'm watching this issue closely, and can't imagine what BC is going to do.