Archivists Watch aims to promote and enhance the work and knowledge base of practicing and aspiring human rights archivists world-wide with the ultimate goal of working towards greater integration of various available resources.
In the spirit of defending of human rights and for the activist in all of us information professionals out there, this is a forum from which debate may be fomented, resolutions found, and new ideas born. This is a place where archives, records, and information come alive to uphold and protect human rights, which transcend age, gender, race, and borders.
In an ideal world, the archive, whether a virtual or physical space, can open up and continue the dialogue for those whom the events remain a living and/or historical memory. It is a platform for ongoing dialogue between the records and the people affected by the events stated therein, well after the wars, persecutions, judicial processes, tribunals, or commissions have disbanded.
The integrity and evidential quality of records give them a unique role as tools for social agency and advocacy in national or international human rights matters. Sadly this role has yet to be well-recognized. Many professional associations have yet to address the challenge of integrating human rights into archival standard practices, outreach programs, and services. At the pace with which digital archives and databases grow, this deficiency will demand more attention from information professionals to create meaningful applications out of the burgeoning technology in order to facilitate cultural dialogue, reconciliation, good governance, legal accountability, and the general improvement of lives because of better access to information.
Aileen Rose Cornelio, Creator
I am an independent researcher in the field of archives and records management and a current member of the ICA. I have a Master of Information Studies from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto (the iSchool). My past experiences include projects and work with Human Rights Watch, the G8 Information Centre, the UN Archives & Records Management Section (UN ARMS), and the Government of Canada. Currently, I volunteer with the ICA’s Human Rights Working Group (ICA HRWG) on their archives directory project as Project Co-Director.
Although I hail from the Canadian archival tradition, this forum is also committed to addressing relevant topics in the international realm. It is my intention to develop a rich understanding of how organization of information encourages peace and facilitates knowledge sharing. Professionally I am interested in the role that archives and records play in civil society, international development efforts, and human rights issues. Information and knowledge inform the education and cultural identity of citizens, and establish transparency and accountability in those in positions of authority. There are issues to be explored such as the impacts of access, visibility, and connectivity with digital archives and databases to local communities which are systematically disadvantaged. As an information professional I plan to keep abreast of how information production and use can democratize communities and societies. I am interested in pioneering efforts that advocate for better information practices to serve underprivileged groups whom may be disadvantaged due to the bottlenecks of poor infrastructure, lack of ICT or networks, and/or simply because of illiteracy.