Madokoro on Wikileaks

12 01 2011


Laura Madokoro has published some thoughts on what Wikileaks means for the study of history. Mad0koro is both a trained archivist and an academic historian and is thus very qualified to speak about an issue related to data management and access to information. I posted some thoughts of my own on the implications of Wikileaks for historians, but my musings are rather amateurish compared to Ms. Madokoro’s recent piece, which is probably the finest post to date on the blog.

I liked this part of her post the most:

And so as I eagerly await to discover what 2011 has in store for the world generally and the Tommy Douglas file in particular, I find that I am less worried about what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks has done to the historical profession and more concerned about what the reaction to WikiLeaks releases portends for access to information in the future. Given the fragility of current access regimes in North America, one can only imagine how government clampdowns on the release of information in the present might affect the release of documents in the future. On the one hand, governments may feel that the damage has been done and provide greater access to researchers. But my fear is that the opposite will occur and access to information and privacy legislation will be interpreted in favour of greater restrictions and more limited access. Such a situation would indeed place history that is founded on research in public archives in great jeopardy.