Please see the latest policy from the National Archives...just fyi.
From: CENDI-L list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lisa Weber
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2011 4:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Policies regarding explicit medical photos
I want to thank our CENDI colleagues for helping NARA put together the "Policy on Online Access to Archival Photographic and Audiovisual Materials Depicting Human Anatomy." To review NARA's policy that just got posted to our website, please visit http://www.archives.gov/digitization/policy/human-anatomy.html. A PDF version is linked from the HTML page http://www.archives.gov/digitization/policy/human-anatomy.pdf.
By way of background...
NARA is in the process of preparing the release of a late 1940s medical study on the effects of STDs, which is approximately 12,000 pages. We have scanned all of these pages, and redacted patient names. There are approximately 200 explicit photos of syphilis sores on male genitalia, which we are struggling with. At this point we do not plan to release the photos online, but will make them available on request to researchers via DVD or email.
In the future, we would like to develop a policy that deals with the appropriate release of these types of records. Our concerns with placing them online are many -- the unwanted political attention we may draw to NARA if these photos are too easily accessible, the technical ability to ensure that if we place these in databases of records we can ensure they aren't accessible to components of our web site like docsteach.org (a NARA records, made easily accessible for teachers), that we account for these records in our online catalogs appropriately so that people know they can request them, etc.
We are searching for how other agencies deal with release of medically explicit photos, historically explicit photos (i.e. like the porn commission records we have) and how they develop digitization priorities (i.e. do you use your resources so that you don't end up scanning lots of things that have to be redacted and rather focus on scanning totally open records?).
Assistant General Counsel
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road, Suite 3110
College Park, MD 20740-6001
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