Threat to openness: managing access to public archives

Thoughts on management

Portrait of Henri Bergson by J.E. Blanche 1891... Portrait of Henri Bergson by J.E. Blanche 1891 to illustrate Henri Bergson article. Uploaded from (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In November 2015, I attended the Threats to Openness conference held at Northumbria University. The conference had a specific aim “discuss the growing threats to citizens’ rights to access public archives across the digital world.” Although we did not discuss what was meant by openness, it was understood mainly to be defined by the right of access or the right to access public archives. However, this provides only a limited sense of how openness was used during the conference. Participants and speakers regularly referred to difference between access and openness noting that they were often confused. One does not always imply the other. As openness can be understood differently, the threats to it will vary with responses that can potentially conflict with efforts to help with access. What was missing…

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By VanessaVaile

Briefly: identity, a work in progress, curiosity driven lifelong learner, polyglot polymath, proud SJW, curator of myself, guerrilla educationist, retired educator, wrangler, wanderer.


  1. What a grand essay. I like the way it turns the problem of open/closed society and open/closed archives from so many different angles.
    And I want to use arcana imperii every day.

    Do you think humanity is growing accustomed to a degree of closedness?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bryan. The essay hit me the same way. I subscribed to the feed but had to share it too — as much as anything to keep in mind and bookmarked for myself. It didn’t quite fit for Adjunctiverse. Besides, I like to push interesting posts into more eclectic areas.

      I was wondering if closedness mimics /subs for or is denial of disappearing digital privacy — a gated information community. Then I thought about Mike Davis and personal space in dense populations

      I looked up the conference, not as intriguing as the blog post, although (private) on the ground discussion may well have been


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