At Tata Central Archives, like all Tata companies, our values come above all. As custodians of the Tata heritage, we have an added responsibility to create and maintain a repository of Tata Records that will motivate and inspire generations to come.
The Code of Ethics for Tata Central Archives (TCA) establishes standards of conduct for its employees. It reminds experienced archivists of their professional responsibilities, and serves as a model for institutional policies. It is also intended to inspire confidence in the profession.
The Code provides an ethical framework to guide TCA Staff and users. It does not provide a solution to specific problems.
TCA subscribes to a code of ethics based on sound archival principles and promotes institutional and professional observance of these ethical and archival standards.
TCA recognises that primary sources enable people to examine the past and thereby gain insights into the human experience. Archival Records provide surrogates for human memory, both individually and collectively, and when properly maintained, they serve as evidence against which individual and social memory can be tested. Archivists preserve such primary and secondary sources to enable us to better comprehend the past, understand the present, and prepare for the future.
TCA preserve a wide variety of primary and secondary sources for the benefit of future generations. Preserving Records is a means to this end not an end in itself. Within prescribed law and best practice standards, TCA determines that the original Records themselves must be preserved, while at other times copying the information they contain to alternate media may be sufficient. Archivists thus preserve Records for the benefit of the future more than for the concerns of the past.
TCA selects, preserves and makes available documentary Records of long-term value to the Tata group and the community that it serves.
TCA does not compete for acquisitions when competition would endanger the integrity or safety of documentary Records of long-term value, or solicit the Records of an institution that has an established archive.
TCA co-operates and collaborates with other archivists, and respects them and their institutions’ missions and collecting policies, to ensure the preservation of Records in repositories where they will be adequately processed and effectively utilised. In their professional relationships with donors, records creators, users, and colleagues, archivists are honest and fair.
TCA exercises professional judgment in appraising, acquiring, and processing Records to ensure the preservation, authenticity, diversity, and lasting cultural and historical value of their collections. TCA carefully documents their collections-related decisions and activities to make their role in the selection, retention or creation of the historical record transparent to their institutions, donors, and users.
TCA does not profit or otherwise benefit from their privileges access to and control of Records.
Archivists negotiating with transferring officials or owners of documentary Records of long-term value seek fair decisions based on full consideration of authority to transfer, donate, or sell; financial arrangements and benefits; copyright; plans for processing; and conditions of access.
The primary duty of the archivist in TCA is to maintain the integrity of the Records in their care and custody. They appraise, select and maintain archival material in its historical, legal and administrative context, thus retaining the principles of provenance, preserving and making evident the original relationships of documents.
TCA does not alter, manipulate, or destroy Records to conceal facts or distort evidence.
TCA selects the Records for preservation based on a wide range of criteria, including the needs of potential users. Understanding that because of the cost of long-term retention and the challenges of accessibility most of the Records created in modern society cannot be kept, TCA recognises the wisdom of seeking advice of other stakeholders in making such selections. They acknowledge and accept the responsibility of serving as active agents in shaping and interpreting the documentation of the past.
TCA strives to promote open and equitable access to the Records in their care without discrimination or preferential treatment, and in accordance with legal requirements and institutional policies.
Archivists discourage unreasonable restrictions on access or use but may accept as a condition of acquisition clearly stated restrictions of limited duration and may occasionally suggest such restrictions to protect privacy. Archivists observe faithfully all arrangements made at the time of transfer or acquisition.
TCA recognises their responsibility to promote the use of Records as a fundamental purpose of the keeping of archives. TCA may place restrictions on access for the protection of privacy or confidentiality of information in the Records.
TCA admits that we do not apply the rules of access uniformly. We do not risk harming the Tata organisation or violating the privacy rights of individuals within our company. More broadly, TCA acts as gatekeepers to Records of ongoing business value to our companies. While we are sympathetic to the needs of historians and academic researchers, TCA will not act in a manner that is detrimental to the Tata organisation and its reputation. TCA takes into consideration the intent of the individual accessing the Records when we make a decision about whether to permit access to certain Records. This is why most outside requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.
TCA protects all Records for which they are responsible and guards them against defacement, physical damage, deterioration and theft.
TCA adheres to a common set of missions, values and ethics. It accepts an evolving theoretical base of knowledge, collaborates with colleagues in related professions, develops and follows professional standards, strives for excellence in its daily practice, and recognises the importance of professional education, including lifelong learning. TCA encourages professional development among its co-workers, fosters the aspirations of those entering the archival profession, and actively shares its knowledge and expertise. TCA seeks to expand opportunities to co-operate with other information professionals.
International Council on Archives - Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics for Archivists - The Society of American Archivists