Call for Member Comment: Code of Ethics for Archivists and Core Values of Archivists

Among the duties and responsibilities of SAA’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct is to conduct a complete review of SAA’s Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics periodically to ensure that the document continues to meet the needs of the profession, and to recommend changes to the Council as appropriate. The document was last reviewed and revised in 2012.

As noted in the Introduction to the document, “Statements of ethics emerge from the core values of a profession. Core Values of Archivists and Code of Ethics for Archivists are intended to be used together to guide archivists, as well as to inform those who work with archivists, in shaping expectations for professional engagement. The former is a statement of what archivists believe; the latter is a framework for archivists’ behavior.”

The Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct welcomes member comment on SAA’s Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics.  Please review and submit your feedback in the comment box below or by emailing saahq@archivists.orgDeadline:  Friday, July 13, 2018.  

2 Comment(s) to the "Call for Member Comment: Code of Ethics for Archivists and Core Values of Archivists"
Stuar2821 says:
Advocacy clause

 My comment is in response to a discussion on the SAA Leadership list. In my opinion, the broadly-worded clause inserted under Core Value of Archivists/Advocacy in the 2012 revision, that archivists “advocate for the application of archival values in a variety of settings . . .including the political arena”  gives rise to confusion over when and in what platform stating opinions on public policy is appropriate. SAA’s current Criteria for Advocacy Statements states that “SAA will take a position, make a statement, or take other action only on issues that are related directly to archives and archival functions.” I think the clause in the Code of Ethics should be rewritten to align with the Criteria for Advocacy Statements and encourage archivists to take a professional stance on public policy issues when they are related directly to archives and archival functions.  Thank you for the opportunity to comment and for considering this revision.

~Lorraine A. Stuart, CA


pd3 says:
Core Value Comment re: Preservation

Dear Committee,

As a preservation professional, I am very pleased with the statement of preservation on pgs. 3-4 of the Core Values of Archivists, except for the last sentence. For reasons of authenticity, "the concerns of the past" can be taken to mean physical elements of an original that were used within an historical era, for example, which can be extremely important independently of the content. Yes, we preserve for the future, but "more than the concerns of the past" could be misconstrued and taken to mean that certain physical attributes of an original are not important and, thus, could be too easily dismissed which strikes me as dangerous.

I would leave that sentence out and let the previous sentence beginning, "Within prescribed law...”—which is well-stated—end the paragraph. That would leave the decision in neutral territory.

Best regards,

Paula De Stefano