Week 10 Assignment

Due Date: Sunday, midnight.

Points: 100

Joe Herzenberg was a historian and politician, as well as the first openly gay elected official in North Carolina. After he died in 2007, his papers, including correspondence, photographs, diaries, and other materials, were donated to the Southern Historical Collection (SHC). Herzenberg kept a record of his personal and professional accomplishments and struggles in a series of diaries spanning more than 50 years. In the diaries, “Herzenberg documents his sexual encounters and alludes to his friends’ sexual relationships and illegal activities” .

According to Laura Clark Brown, “Most SHC collections are unrestricted for both research and duplication in the SHC’s search room. In that relatively controlled environment, [the SHC transfers] the responsibilities for the use of sensitive materials to the researcher” [86]. SHC librarians must decide whether they should digitize the contents of Joe Herzenberg’s diaries and make them available on the Web.

Debate the following proposition: The SHC librarians should not digitize the contents of Joe Herzenberg’s diaries until everyone mentioned in the diaries has either given permission or died.


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