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How should (traditional and especially digital) archives deal with matters of access, ethics and fraud? What can be put online for free, how to deal with copyright and privacy, what to do with controversial material, and how to detect and deal with fraudulent material?
Both traditional paper archives and modern digital archives provide access to as much data and metadata as possible. While traditional archives are still bound by opening hours, the digital archives make their data available 24/7. Full open access is the new academic ideal: documents and scientific articles should always be available online for free for everyone. Nevertheless, several obstacles and restrictions are conceivable. To begin with, the user must know where to look. Furthermore the amount of data can be so large and inconceivable that analysis by the human brain is not feasible, and computational tools are needed to make patterns in big data visible. Another issue is data management: how is data stored and in what format? Finally there are publishers who like to put up pay walls that in many cases obstruct free exchange of information and research. The next question is whether we want to and can put everything online. We cannot simply take a press photo or a novel and put it online: the makers are protected by copyright according to European guidelines up to 70 years after their death. Many personal data from, for example, storytellers and singers are also protected for privacy reasons, while such information is often vital for researchers when analyzing personal repertoire. What ethical rules apply to the collectors and researchers? What to do with documents with a controversial content? And finally, how to act upon fraudulent documentation or research?