Lack of access to public archives

A considerable amount of material which is preserved in public archives remains inaccessible either to scholars or to the general public. In most countries where access difficulties are encountered by users, these are due primarily to the lack of adequate archival budgets that would allow proper housing, equipping and staffing of the archival institutions. This impedes the transfer of inactive records from the agencies and their processing (arrangement and description) by qualified professionals. The most liberal and intelligent access regulations declassifying documents are useless if the archival institutions are not in a position to take over the records and make them accessible through employing appropriate finding aids. Given the information explosion, however, no archival budgets would ever be set to allow for the processing of the flood of hard-copy documents. Government production of microform documents allowing computerized description and retrieval is severely lagging.

Where facts are only available through such records, this lack of access helps to perpetuate misinterpretation of events.

(D) Detailed problems