SAA’s Security Section is pleased to announce Archives Security, our new platform for sharing news and information about the prevention of crimes against archives and specials collections. This blog is a forum for sharing case studies about past and present incidents, news and events, resources, tips, and more. Our goal is to create a space where members of SAA’s Security Section and those in the larger archival community can come to find information on and about the security concerns and risks that impact all of us as well as the tools and resources to help.
Future posts will include news about criminal acts against archives and special collections, legal developments of ongoing cases, and resources. The International Criminal Court’s September 27, 2016 sentencing of Ahmad Al Faqi al Mahdi to nine years in prison for his role in the destruction of 10 cultural sites in Mali and the stolen and quickly recovered first edition of 100 Years of Solitude last year in Bogota are examples.
You can expect to see case studies of historical and contemporary archives security incidents, such as that of an Alaskan museum director who had kept loaned materials in her personal possession after the lending institution was shuttered. Or the 2006 court case of serial map thief Forbes Smiley. Our hope is to also bring to light crimes that have not been given as much press, such as the theft of approximately 200 documents related to Abraham Lincoln by a researcher with the Lincoln Legal Papers Project.
We’ll also bring you tips related to many aspects of archives and special collections security – from researcher registration to closed circuit video and from drafting policies for archives staff to the recovery of stolen materials. And we aim to keep the blog up to date with the latest about publications, panels, and other discussions around archives security.
Overall, our objective is to be an important resource for anyone interested in the protection of archives and other cultural heritage objects. We invite anyone to participate. If you have questions, suggestions for topics to be covered, or you would like to contribute to the blog with a post, please use the Contact page on the blog.