The Cookies are a Lie: Law and Archives Case Study

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify specific types of law that are applicable to the situation.
  • Students will be able to make suggestions on the best legal course of action given the situation.

Scenario

The Horacio G. Applebottom collection is a significant and popular research collection at your archives. This collection documents local and national history. It contains many documents relating to the civil war, and late 19th and early 20th century national politics. The Applebottom Family is very protective of their name and legacy in your community. When the collection was donated to your archive 50 years ago, a note about “will provide adequate and appropriate protection, preservation for the collection” was included int the deed of gift.

On a lovely spring day, Mr. Jacob Whiplash, an area historian came to visit your archives with cookies. He often bring baked goods when he visits as a thank you for the hard work that you and your staff do. A new archivist is working the reference desk and refuses the cookies that you accepted because of a new diet. They sit at the reference desk while the rest of the staff partakes of the cookies and Mr. Whiplash researches. This archivist notices Mr. Whiplash adjusting his coat regularly. They find it odd but, pay no attention to it until the second time when they see something being slipped into his pocket. Then they act, not according to policy as there’s no policy about detaining thieves. They discover that Mr. Whiplash has pocketed two letter. They immediately call the staff, mouths half stuffed with cookies, and the police. The police promptly arrested Mr. Whiplash.

After the dust settles and Mr Whiplash is arraigned, it’s discovered that over 100 items are missing from the collection. Several of these are discovered at the home of Mr. Whiplash. The estate of Applebottom has learned of the thief from the papers, and has scheduled an appointment with your director in the very near future to discuss these matters.

Questions

  • What if any right do you have to stop this criminal once you discover their thief? What gives you that ability?
  • What types of actions might be taken against the archive?
  • How would you respond to the various legal issue surrounding the case? How would your prove that you complied with all relevant laws and agreements.

Bibliography

Change One for the Gipper

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to understand issues surrounding the creation of legislation.
  • Students will be able to analyze potential ramifications for changes in statutory law to record keeping practices.

Scenario

Recently during the state legislative session, Representative Wayne Herty proposed an update to the states open records law. Because in his words “Other states have a 90 day window for responses to record requests for athletic records. We feel that our state should follow their example.” Rumor has that Herty only came up with this proposal after an extended lunch with the new head coach of the state team Bobby Bryant, but that’s just the rumor. The proposal seemed to go no where during the legislative session, but it seems that during Sine Die it was added to bill concerning water rights for orphaned wood chucks. According to the text of the short amendment of the Wood Chuck, Water Chuck bill, only athletic records would have a longer response period for open records requests. Most records in the state require a response in 3 days, this includes records from the governors office.

Questions

  • What do you think about the process used to create the law in the case study?
  • What seems suspicious about this change in the law?
  • What are the ramifications to record keeping practices that these changes make? What does this scenario tell you about possible issues with the legislative process that archivist may need to deal with?

Bibliography

Brown, Micheal. “Georgia politicians think restricting access to public records will help UGA football. That’s stupid.” in SB Nation. https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/3/28/11317462/geogria-football-records-law-kirby-smart

New, Jake. “Changing Laws to Win National Championship”

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/13/georgia-law-extends-athletics-related-open-records-response-time-90-days

“Kirby’s Law” Will Make It Harder To Report On Georgia Athletics”. https://deadspin.com/kirbys-law-will-make-it-harder-to-report-on-georgia-a-1770500372

2015-2016 Regular Session – SB 323 State Printing and Documents; public disclosure not be required for any documents pertaining to economic development projecthttp://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/SB/323

How do you Solve a Problem like Maria? (A Managing Archives Case Study)

Learning Objectives

  • Students will recognize and determine issues related to managing staff of an archives.
  • Students will plan and propose solutions to handle problematic staff members.

ACA Task and Knowledge Statements

  • Managing Archives Task 2: Assess staffing needs, recruit appropriate personnel, and train staff; support professional development; and ensure that the staff works together to fulfill the archives’ mission.
  • K-603: basic principles and procedures in human resource management appropriate for an archival program.

Scenario

You’re the director of an archive with a staff of three, plus a rotating cadre of student workers. Maria is not an archivist, nor does she have a graduate degree of any kind. Maria has been the library director’s secretary. She’s worked in circulation for a few years, and now she’s a nonarchivist employee who you directly supervise. Maria’s position line was moved to your archive because you needed extra staff. This staff line is classified as a support staff, and will no be able to be reclassified as an archivist position. The staffing change occurred before you became the director.

Maria is deathly afraid of technology. Even typing an email is an issue for Maria. Maria also has a history of making students uncomfortable, due to her diligence to the “rules.” She once made a student cry during a reference interview. Your other staff member Tonya can’t stand Maria. Tonya is responsible for processing and outreach. Maria also terrorizes your student workers. You have a significant electronic records project about to begin during the next semester.

  • What do you do with Maria?
    • If you chose to fire Maria, how would you reclassify her position to aid with your electronics record program?
    • If you decided not to let Maria go, how would you integrate her better into your operations?
  • What repercussions could you face if you fire Maria?

Bibliography

  • Jennifer, Rowley. 2003. “Staff Management in Library and Information Work (4th edition).” Journal Of Documentation no. 3: 373. Emerald Insight.
  • Kurtz, Michael J, Thomas Wilsted, and Society of American Archivists. Managing Archival & Manuscript Repositories. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004.