Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Burns: Out?

A most important development regarding confidential archival material held by Boston College: With the seal broken on what was supposed to be an embargoed collection, a Belfast Project interviewee has demanded that the Burns Library return his interviews.

Commenters here have discussed the ownership of the interview materials; see this comment and the ones that follow it. On Monday evening, I sent an email to BC spokesman Jack Dunn asking him if the university owns the interviews. My message:

"Does Boston College own the Belfast Project interviews? That is, are the interview materials the private property of the university, subject to BC's entire control, or are they (for example) owned by the interviewees, but consensually given over by interviewees to the revocable custodianship of the Burns Library?"

He has not yet responded, but I'll post his response if he sends one.

Meanwhile, the researchers whose work created the collection are demanding that every interview be returned or destroyed.

Much more on this soon.

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