Is it a question of trust or why are we afraid to go to Nineveh?

Michael Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Trust is an overused concept in our contemporary world. This paper explores the complex relationship of trust, efficiency, accountability, transparency and responsibility and their relationship to recordkeeping in our globalizing culture. It focuses on the profound changes that have taken place in the meaning and practice of audit within neo-liberal societies and how the ‘rituals of verification’ and the ‘managerialism’ may pervert the resulting record. It challenges the unthinking use of much of the rhetoric surrounding these concepts by archivists to justify their existence. It reflects on why the archival voice often remains silent or at best goes unheard in much of the discussion about these questions that have profound consequences for democratic societies. It is easy to lay the blame at the door of a perceived breakdown of trust rather than to consider whether the root of the problem lies with archivists and records managers themselves. This paper draws on my experience in directing the Information Management and Preservation MSC programme at the University of Glasgow and wide and serendipitous reading, which has sometimes been brought to my notice by students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-425
JournalArchival Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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