The Role Of Archives In A Democracy

10/18/10 12:08PM By Jane Lindholm
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AP/TobyTalbot
Boxes of records at the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration building in Middlesex, Vt

This political season we've heard a lot of candidates using the phrase "look at my record." "I have a record of success on issue X." Or "my opponent's record shows..."

Well, that "record" is often registered by official archivists, preserving the machinations of the political process for generations to come. And more and more, archivists are looking to include the voices of citizens in official government record.

Terry Cook worked for more than 20 years at the National Archives of Canada, and recently retired as a professor with the University of Manitoba Archival Studies program in Winnipeg.
Wendy Smith is working on a Masters Degree at the University of Manitoba focused on the efforts of Vermont and South Africa to incorporate the voices of citizens into official government records.

They spoke with VPR's Jane Lindholm about what role government archives play in a democracy

 

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