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From:
Subject: Re: [TGF] BCG Standard #1
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 13:35:40 -0700


> Number 1 reads, in
> full;
>
> "Materials (published, unpublished, microfilmed, photographic, and original)
> are handled with careful regard for their preservation and availability for
> future researchers."

First, thank you so much, Harold, for starting this! I do much better
with concrete discussions.

Like others, I first thought 'of course I agree, time to move on to #2'.

Reflecting more raised the question of the extent of my personal
responsibility with respect to #1.

Some specific situations:

-family letters, photos that come into my possession: how to handle,
preserve, 'pass on' I am totally overwhelmed with this material.

-various repositories have differing rules. Is it enough to follow the
rules, or should I educate myself and self-impose more restrictive
guidelines.

-when I encounter materials that apparently have no one concerned with
their preservation and availability, what is my responsibility?
This situation arose last fall on my first visit ever to a town
clerk's office. In their 'vault' I located town tax records for
1770-1795. There were no guidelines for use of any materials at this
facility (a windowless room, approx 20X20, a flight of stairs down). I
was on my own. I could bring whatever I wanted to use in the vault,
including briefcase, large bag, pens, etc. No check when I came, none
when I left.

I was so astonished at my 'find', that I photographed the entire book
that day, all 500+ pages. Unhappy with the quality of the results, I
bought a new camera and returned a month later and photographed the book
again. And, yes, there were a few missing pages, although I don't think
they were removed recently. So, now at least there's one amateur copy.
<g> But it doesn't do anyone any good if this copy is only in my
personal possession. I've mentioned this book to the director of the
local county historical society (she was surprised to hear of it's
existence, she had not seen it although she was a frequent visitor to
'the vault' because of her realtor work). I've mentioned the tax book
to staff at both the state historical society research library and at
the state library & archives. It has not been microfilmed.

I don't know why that book is under the 'care' of the town clerk's
office. The director of the county local history society said she'd try
to find out about getting it transferred. I hope she is successful. I
don't live in the town, or even in the state so not sure if there's much
more I'm willing to do.

Behaving responsibly according to #1 in the above 3 situations takes
time, energy, and sometimes money. I sure haven't figured out my
personal answer to what on the surface seems like an obvious standard.

Now, on to #2!

Linda Gardner
Massachusetts



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