This essay examines some of the issues involved in administering performing arts manuscript collections. After briefly discussing the evolving notion of privacy in both its legal and moral senses, it will turn to the relationships and interlocking responsibilities of the four groups concerned with access to manuscript collections: donors, custodians, users, and "third-party" contributors. Finally, the results of a survey of performing arts repositories will reveal the variety of ways in which these responsibilities are addressed. It will be demonstrated that despite the attention paid to issues of access by professional organizations, agreements in theory, much less in practice, have yet to be established.

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Copyright © 2001 Theatre Library Association. This chapter first appeared in Their Championship Seasons: Acquiring, Processing and Using Performing Arts Archives.

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