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Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)


Library and Information Science


Debra L. Hansen


Archivist, Government, Public_history, Records, Responsibility, Roles

Subject Areas

Library science


The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill has been labeled America's most devastating human-error environmental disaster. To gain full understanding of the event, researchers must consult both government and public history repositories, which house very different types of records. This leads to questions regarding the roles and responsibilities of the archivists charged with preserving records of disaster. Are the roles of government archivists different from those of public history archivists? What are the responsibilities and are they the same for all repositories? This study examined policies and procedures, finding aids, and the archival collections of 2 government and 2 public history repositories to understand each aspect. It was determined that the underlying roles of the repositories are the same. However, the responsibilities, or the execution of these roles, are what makes each repository unique, and essential in fully documenting a historic event like the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.