Directions

Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines for Archivists and Records Managers

Issued by the National Archives Administration, National Development Council on 25 December 2017
pursuant to Order No. Dang-Qi-Zi-1060011353
I. Preface
1. These Guidelines are specially adopted to ensure that records managers and archivists embrace the core values of effective management, preservation of source materials, transparency, and openness, and that they possess the requisite professional expertise, so as to improve their work quality and image, and to bolster public confidence in the professionalism of the government's archival management.
2. The term "records managers and archivists" as used in these Guidelines means
government agency (institution) personnel engaged in work related to archives and records management.
3. Records managers and archivists shall fully discharge the roles and functions of an
archives professional by providing services and carrying out professional work.
II. Professional ethics
4. Records managers and archivists shall exercise professional good faith and act in a fair and even-handed spirit in the conduct of their duties.
Records managers and archivists shall exercise professional good faith and avoid
potential conflicts of interest, and shall not take advantage of their job duties to funnel interests to themselves or to another person, thereby affecting the conduct of official duties.
5. Records managers and archivists shall embrace the concept of preservation of source materials, and retain complete archives.
Records managers and archivists shall properly retain records of the government's
policymaking and fulfill its policymaking support role and avoid either concealment of facts or distortion of evidence due to the damage of either the content or the external appearance of archives.
6. Records managers and archivists shall embrace the spirit of transparency and openness in providing professional services.
When records managers and archivists provide access services to government
information and archives, they shall act in line with the principles of openness, objectivity, even-handedness, fairness, and reasonableness, and shall demonstrate the
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spirit of administrative neutrality upon encountering improper outside interference or pressure.
7. Records managers and archivists shall fulfill the duty of confidentiality and properly protect sensitive archival content.
Records managers and archivists shall observe the duty of confidentiality, and shall not
disclose sensitive information or restricted-access archival content to which they become privy on the job.
8. Records managers and archivists shall engage in ongoing learning and innovation in order to improve their professional archival expertise.
Records managers and archivists shall embrace the spirit of lifelong learning and take
active part in professional development courses and activities to improve their
professional expertise and skills, maintain an innovative mindset, and establish a professional image.
9. Records managers and archivists shall make skillful use of scientific management methods to carry out more effective archival work.
Records managers and archivists shall put special emphasis on planning out work
related to archival management, and shall make skillful use of scientific management methods and skills to achieve standardized archival management and carry out more effective archival management and services.
10. Records managers and archivists shall make an ongoing effort to improve their understanding of legal matters and establish a sound archival management system.
Records managers and archivists shall have a fully developed understanding of legal
matters pertaining to the job that they hold, properly comply with the Archives Act and other related legislative provisions, and work to establish a sound archival management system.
11. Records managers and archivists shall actively raise awareness of archives and take a diverse range of measures to enhance archival value.
Records managers and archivists shall make skillful use of a diverse range of
information channels, actively seek to spur increased provision of archives for public access and provide value-added services in order to better acquaint the public with the value of archives and heighten their awareness of archives.
12. Records managers and archivists shall faithfully fulfill their managerial duties and maintain the interests and image of government agencies.
Records managers and archivists shall actively safeguard the interests of government
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agencies and faithfully fulfill their archival management duties, and shall not harm the reputation or interests of a government agency either directly or indirectly.
13. Records managers and archivists shall possess an awareness of archival risks and establish an archival risk management system.
Records managers and archivists shall carry out risk assessments on archival
management work, and for intolerable risks shall establish and properly implement control mechanisms.
III. Professional relations
14. Records managers and archivists shall carry out professional sharing and exchanges.
Records managers and archivists in government agencies shall work to increase
exchanges among themselves, take active part in academic and social activities pertaining to archival management, and share on-the-job experiences and research results among themselves.
15. Records managers and archivists shall strengthen communication and coordination with other personnel involved in related work.
Records managers and archivists shall display a good service attitude, strengthen
communication and coordination with other personnel in their agency, improve service quality, and appropriately manage archives.
16. Records managers and archivists shall actively cooperate with personnel working in related professions.
Records managers and archivists shall display a professional attitude, cooperate with
personnel working in related professions, and take a diverse range of measures to enhance archival value.
17. Records managers in a superior agency and its subordinate agencies shall establish good working relationships.
Records managers in a superior agency shall properly oversee and review the
performance of archival management at subordinate agencies; archivists in a subordinate agency shall, working in line with the policies and performance assessment criteria of the superior agency, actively seek to obtain resources, work to implement, manage, and evaluate various operations, and consider ways to make improvements.
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IV. Collection of records and archives
18. In working to collect archives, records managers and archivists shall accord due importance to archival value.
In working to collect archives, records managers and archivists shall consider the
value and nature of archives and maintain their completeness, and shall not act inconsistently due to their personal preferences or the type of storage medium.
19. Records managers shall faithfully fulfill their responsibility to retain government records.
Records managers shall comprehensively collect and manage records of their agency's
development and policymaking.
20. Archivists shall promote completeness of the national memory.
The archives acquired by archivists shall, in addition to government agency records,
include valuable documents belonging to private individuals or civic groups; when carrying out acquisition work, archivists shall consider archival management risks, the needs of users, and archival diversity, balance, and distinctiveness, shall avoid breaking up fonds, and shall comply with archives selection principles and priority considerations.
21. Records managers and archivists shall properly comply with stipulations made in connection with the acquisition of valuable documents of civic groups and individuals.
With respect to their trusteeship, purchase, or receipt of the donation of valuable
documents belonging to private individuals or legal entities, records managers and archivists shall avoid competing among themselves, shall properly comply with all requirements pertaining to public access, and shall comply with stipulations made regarding the scope of any licensing of economic rights.
V. Classification, arrangement, and description of records and archives
22. Records managers shall appropriately adopt archival classification criteria. Records managers shall comply with archives-related legislative provisions in adopting an appropriate archival classification table that accounts for archival provenance, organizational functions, and the nature of various operations; this table shall provide the criteria for archival classification.
23. Records managers shall classify archives properly and describe them on the basis of facts.
When records for which archiving and registration have been completed, records
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managers shall act in accordance with legal provisions in classifying, arranging, and
describing them, and shall fully disclose archival content in preparing archives catalogs.
24. Archivists shall arrange archives in a manner that adheres to the principle of respect des fonds, provenance, and original order.
Archivists shall arrange archives in a manner that adheres to the principles of respect
des fonds, provenance, and original order. They shall also respect the original fonds classification schemes, and avoid rearranging in a way that would break down original correlations among the archives.
VI. Preservation and maintenance of records and archives
25. Records managers and archivists shall properly preserve and maintain archival content and storage media, and shall strengthen their long-term preservability. Records managers and archivists shall appropriately preserve and maintain archival content and media, prevent them from being altered, lost, or damaged, take preventive measures to keep archives from continuing to deteriorate, improve the long-term preservation of archives, and ensure that the veracity, completeness, and usability of archives continue to be maintained throughout their retention periods.
26. Records managers and archivists shall use appropriate facilities and measures that are sufficient to ensure the security of archives.
Records managers and archivists shall ensure the security of archives by periodically
inventorying archives and using appropriate facilities to tightly monitor and control factors that jeopardize archives, in order to prevent or reduce the possibility of archives being destroyed in a disaster, damaged, or stolen.
27. With respect to records and archives repairing, records managers and archivists shall accord due importance to professional qualifications, safe handling, durability, and reversibility.
Records and archives repairing shall be carried out or supervised by conservators who
possess proper professional qualifications, and prior to repairing, the safety, durability, and reversibility of the repairing techniques and materials shall be carefully evaluated.
VII. Disposition and appraisal of records and archives
28. Records managers shall objectively conduct appraisal and disposition of records. In order to facilitate the retention of important policymaking records, records
managers shall: (a) consider such factors as the needs of archival users, management
costs, and risks; (b) objectively conduct records disposition and appraisal of value, and
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upon that basis carry out records preservation, destruction, and transfer.
29. Records managers shall confirm the completeness of archival transfers.
Prior to the transfer of records, records managers shall appropriately preserve hardcopy records, confirm the completeness and accuracy of the archival transfer list,
check the accuracy of the records transfer list against the actual transferred records,
and review the list content and the appropriateness of the access restriction types.
30. Records managers shall be involved in the entire records destruction process from beginning to end.
Records managers shall conduct statutorily required procedures at each stage of
records destruction, including careful submission of records for review, appropriate custody of records awaiting destruction, monitoring of the entire records destruction process from beginning to end, and retention of destruction records. Records managers shall not conduct unauthorized destruction, disposal, misappropriation, purchase, sale, exchange, or gifting of records due to dereliction of duty or failure to obtain authorization.
31. Records managers and archivists shall embrace the open principle of records and archives when it considers the possibility of declassifying or downgrading classified archives.
Records managers and archivists shall periodically inventory classified records and
archives and urge their agency to carry out declassification and downgrading in order to promote access to records and archives and fulfill their functions.
VIII. Access and outreach of records and archives
32. Records managers and archivists shall do a good job of providing information and educating the public about records and archives access.
Records managers and archivists shall understand and accord due importance to the
needs of users, provide reference services and produce finding aids, carry out access education as necessary, build up education resources of records and archives, and promote their use.
33. Records managers and archivists shall ensure the accessibility and effectiveness of records and archives catalog content.
When records managers and archivists publish catalog, they shall confirm the
descriptions match the content of the physical records and archives, and shall make the public have easy access to them.
34. Records managers and archivists shall promote access services that balance both
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openness and protection of privacy.
Records managers and archivists shall actively advocate the principle of openness in the providing of records and archives access in compliance with the Archives Act and other legislation. Where content touches upon matters of personal privacy, access thereto shall be restricted. Handling applications for access in line with the principle of segregation shall make it possible to provide everything that can be provided, thus striking a balance between the public interest and the legitimate interests of third parties.
35. Records managers and archivists shall provide convenient and quick access services.
Records managers and archivists, acting in line with the spirit of convenient public
services, shall work to simplify their access procedures, shorten application processing times, and handle and provide records and archives more effectively.
36. Records managers and archivists shall discharge the duty to provide guidance for access.
Records managers and archivists shall inform those who access records and archives
of their rights and restrictions as users, and shall provide guidance to users to help them comply with legal protections of intellectual property rights, personal privacy, and other matters, in order to improve the competence and literacy of users.
37. Records managers and archivists shall protect the personal privacy or research data of users.
Records managers and archivists shall respect the privacy of users, and shall protect
the personal privacy or research data of users that they are collected or become privy to in the conduct of their job duties.
38. Records managers and archivists shall not use or reproduce records and archives for their own purposes, or plagiarize another person's research.
When Records managers and archivists access records and archives held under their
agency custody for personal research or publication, the manner in which they obtains
and uses such records and archives shall be subject to the same provisions applying to other users. There shall not be unequal treatment, and records managers and archivists shall respect the research findings or innovations of other persons, refraining from plagiary or misappropriation.
IX. Automation of documents and records management
39. Records managers and archivists shall protect the information assets in documents and records from risks
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Records managers and archivists, acting in accordance with their agency's information security policy, shall take part in and assist with information system security protection operations, and prevent information systems for documents and records from being hacked into, damaged, altered, deleted, or retrieved without authorization.
40. Records managers and archivists shall periodically check the validity of electronic records and archives.
Records managers and archivists shall periodically check the validity of electronic
records and archives, confirm the appropriateness of storage media and file formats, and carry out migration or refreshing as necessary.
41. Records managers and archivists shall take part in work to implement their agency's information system for documents and records.
Records managers and archivists, acting in line with their agency's information
governance framework, shall take part in work to develop and implement their agency's information system for documents and records, and carry out related education and training, in order to achieve a soundly functioning information system for documents and records.
X. Supplementary provisions
42. In addition to the matters addressed in these Guidelines, Records managers and archivists shall also strictly comply with the applicable provisions of the Civil Servant Service Act and the Archives Act.
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