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Daniel Hege ’87

Restrictions

General Restriction Statement of the Mennonite Library and Archives

The Mennonite Library and Archives is committed to making research materials available to users on equal terms of access. This is in accordance with the standard professional policy on access adopted jointly by the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association. Equal access does not mean that all materials are open to research use. It is the responsibility of the Mennonite Library and Archives to balance the researcher’s need for access with the needs for confidentiality of persons and institutions whose activities are reflected in the material. Consequently, the use of some materials in the Mennonite Library and Archives, especially those of recent date, is subject to restrictions.

Two types of restrictions exist. Restrictions on access that apply to more than one group of materials are termed "general restrictions." They are applicable to particular kinds of information or designated classes of materials, wherever they may be found among the holdings. The other kind of restriction is known as "specific restrictions." These are restrictions specified by the transferring agency or donor and apply to a specific body of material, sometimes for a specific length of time. Information about specific restrictions will be found in the finding aid that covers the body of materials to which the specific restriction applies.

Any restricted materials may be disclosed to:

  1. regular employees of the Mennonite Library and Archives in the performance of normal archival work on such materials.
  2. to those officers and employees of the agency of origin or its successor in function who have a need for the materials in the performance of their official duties.
  3. to the Donor of the materials or to the Donor’s authorized representative, pursuant to the provisions of the Donor’s deed of gift.

The following is a list of the general restrictions that are applied to the materials held by the Mennonite Library and Archives. These general restrictions are established pursuant to the action of the Board of Control of the Mennonite Library and Archives of 24 February 1994.

  1. Materials containing information, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or a libel of a living person.
    1. Definition. Materials containing information about a living person which reveal details of a highly personal or libelous nature which, if released, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy or a libel, including but not limited to information about the physical or mental health or the medical or psychiatric care or treatment of the individual, and which personal information is not known to have been previously made public.
    2. Restrictions. Such records may be disclosed only:
      1. to the named individual or his or her authorized representative, provided that access will not be granted if the records are restricted pursuant to any other general or specific restriction.
      2. to researchers for the purpose of statistical or quantitative medical or psychiatric research when such researchers have provided the archives with written assurance that the information will be used solely for statistical research or reporting and that no individually identifiable information will be disclosed.
  2. Materials containing confidential business and financial information.
    1. Definition. Materials which contain trade secrets and commercial or financial information which was obtained with an expressed or implied understanding of confidentiality.
    2. Restrictions. Such information may be disclosed only:
      1. if the information consists of statistical totals or summaries and does not disclose the source of the information or identify individual parties, or
      2. if the party with whom the confidential relationship has been established agrees to its release, or
      3. if, in the judgment of the archivist, the passage of time is such that release of the information would not result in substantial competitive harm to the parties identified in the materials.
  3. Materials containing confidential employment or personnel information.
    1. Definition. Materials containing information on appointment, employment, performance evaluation, disciplinary action, and similar personnel matters.
    2. Restrictions. Such information may be disclosed only:
      1. if the information is a summary statement of service, or
      2. if the information does not identify particular individuals, or
      3. if the individual or his or her legal representative agrees to its release, or
      4. if the individual is deceased or the passage of time is such that the individual may be presumed to be deceased.
  4. Materials relating to investigations.
    1. Definition. Materials containing information related to or compiled during an investigation of individuals or organizations.
    2. Restrictions. Such information may be disclosed only:
      1. if the release of the information does not interfere with ongoing litigation or similar proceedings, and
      2. if confidential sources and information are not revealed, and
      3. if confidential investigative techniques are not described, and
      4. if the release of the information would not endanger the safety of law enforcement personnel, or
      5. if the passage of time is such that:
        1. the safety of persons is not endangered, and
        2. the public interest in disclosure outweighs the continued need for confidentiality.
  5. Materials restricted by statute, regulation, executive order, or court order.
    1. Definition. Materials containing information, the access to which is restricted by statute, regulation, executive order, or court order.
    2. Restriction. Such information may be disclosed only:
      1. in accordance with the provisions of such statute, regulation, executive order, or court order.
  6. Materials containing information regarding confidential decision-making.
    1. Definition. Materials which contain information that was given in confidence in the period before a determination was made, including but not limited to advice given by attorneys, public accountants, and staff advisors.
    2. Restrictions. Such information may be disclosed only:
      1. if the decision has been made public and the nature of the determinations leading to the final decision is known, or
      2. if the passage of time is such that release of the information would not impede current decision-making, or
      3. if, in the judgment of the archivist, the public interest in disclosure outweighs the continued need for confidentiality.