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The implications of digital collection takedown requests on archival appraisal


As data privacy legislation and protections are implemented and advocated for internationally, archivists must consider how these developments impact their work, particularly appraisal. Online digital collections make records more easily accessible to researchers and the general public. However, private and sensitive information may be disseminated through these collections inadvertently. In 2018, the European Union (EU) passed the General Data Protection Regulation, which includes right to be forgotten (RTBF) legislation. This enables EU citizens to request the redaction of their personal information online. In the wake of EU court rulings which demonstrate how the RTBF impacts what archives make accessible, and increasing public concerns regarding online privacy, archivists should be aware of the possibility of receiving increased digital collection takedown requests and what their legal liabilities may be. This article explores how takedown requests, as well as RTBF advocacy and criticism, are positioned with respect to appraisal theory. It also addresses how takedown requests affect appraisal praxis and how archivists can be better prepared to manage them.

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Correspondence to Shelly Black.

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Black, S. The implications of digital collection takedown requests on archival appraisal. Arch Sci 20, 91–101 (2020).

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  • Takedown requests
  • Right to be forgotten
  • Digital collections
  • Appraisal
  • Privacy
  • GDPR