Working Toward a Definition of Sensitive and Seeking an Ethical Approach to Web Presentation of Digitized Manuscripts

1.      Most SHC collections are unrestricted for both research and duplication in the SHC's search room. In that relatively controlled environment, we transfer the responsibilities for the use of sensitive materials to the researcher. Can we do the same in the web environment?

2.      Does the web environment change what we consider to be sensitive?  Should it? 

3.      Are some material types (e.g., text, images) more sensitive than other types? Is some content (e.g., health, personnel, intimate details) more sensitive than other content?

4.      Should it matter who the third party is? Should our ethical considerations change when the third party is a public or well-known personality? Should our ethical considerations change when the third parties are from historically marginalized or disadvantaged groups?

5.      At what archival level—collection, series, item—do we need to apply ethics?

6.      Are contemporary collections too fraught with ethical dilemmas to digitize?


Case Studies 

     I.   Health Information

     II.  Personnel Information

     III. Intimate Infromation

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