Archivists today make some of the most difficult ethical and legal decisions at the public service desk. It has always been a difficult process to balance the archivist's legal and ethical obligations to the researcher, to the donors of collections, and to the institution served and, furthermore, to factor in obligations to those who often are not even aware that archives hold materials that impact on their lives. Balancing equality of access for all patrons with institutional needs and requirements is at least as difficult. Despite sincere efforts to limit the acquisition of restricted material, many important and potentially useful collections are restricted. Indeed, some have never been used. Naturally, archivists would like to encourage the use of 9ollections that reveal a wealth of information documenting social, economic, literary, and educational history.
Becker, Ronald L.,
"The Ethics of Providing Access,"
Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists
Available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/vol11/iss1/6