Next Policy & Ethics Lecture


James O’Toole On April 2, SIS will welcome James O’Toole as he presents his lecture on “Inadequate Recordkeeping:  Some Thoughts on Ethical Dilemmas for Archivists.” Professor O’Toole is the Clough Professor of History at Boston College and he will be the featured speaker for this event, part of the Policy, Ethics and Accountability Lecture Series.  The lecture will begin at 4:30 pm in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium and is free and open to the public.  The series is co-sponsored by the School of Information Sciences and the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. 

Based on his experience as the archivist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston from 1978 through 1986, O’Toole will discuss the role that recordkeeping came to play in the clergy sexual abuses crisis of the last few years.  This case study will explore the uses of records in documenting this abuse, and the role of such records in bringing the abuse to public scrutiny.  O’Toole will consider the implications of this specific case for the larger ethical questions that often arise in professional practice.

At Boston College, Dr. O’Toole teaches courses on History of American Religion, and American Catholic History.  Before embarking on his academic career, Dr. O’Toole’s archival career has included positions at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Massachusetts State Archives, and the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston.  He has published widely in archival theory, including a second edition (2006) of Understanding Archives and Manuscripts, with SIS faculty member, Richard J. Cox.  He also works in the field of American religious and American Catholic history and is the author, most recently, of Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth Century America (2004).

Visit for more information about the series which is presented by the Johnson Institute for Responsible Government at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh.