Wallot-Sylvestre Seminar: Hervé Lemoine, Director in charge of Archives de France

Wallot-Sylvestre Rencontres 

Library and Archives Canada presents:

Hervé Lemoine, Director in charge of Archives de France
“Archives, Privacy and the Digital Shift”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Please register by emailing: bac.rsvpseminaire-seminarrsvp.lac@canada.ca

The presentation will be delivered in French with simultaneous English translation, followed by a question period.

If you cannot attend in person, you can tune in to the conference via Facebook Live or you can follow the proceedings on Twitter using the hashtag #RWSS.

The Wallot-Sylvestre Seminars are a lecture series focused on informing and disseminating strategic thinking in the domains of information science, archival science, history, etc. Lecturers are invited by Library and Archives Canada from the academic, public and private sectors, and include scholars and practitioners.

Download the event poster [PDF 490 KB]


Archives include personal information that is traditionally protected by legislation governing access to information time frames, which are sometimes shorter than a human lifespan.

The growing volume of digital archives and the digitization of paper archives on a massive scale pose a challenge: the publication of information concerning the private lives of living people on the Internet and the security of the systems that manage this data. In France, following a discussion with the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés, the conditions governing consultations in reading rooms were separated from those governing Internet publication by archival services in 2012, the time frames being extended in the latter case. These time frames may be further extended by decision of the Commission should third parties re-use the documents (particularly for commercial purposes).

The legislative framework that governs archivists has been expanded and become more complex as a result of society’s digital shift, and this movement continues: a European directive on the use of public information promotes open data. Conversely, a recently adopted European regulation on the protection of personal data strengthens the rights of citizens with respect to the collection, conservation and use of personal data. European archivists, with the Archives de France leading the way, fought for four years to avoid being imposed, by this regulation, the right to be digitally forgotten, which would have signalled the end of archives that include personal information.

In the digital age, could archives—recognized by UNESCO as a resource and a fundamental feature of our democracies—appear as a threat to citizens who want to be protected from the misuse of data and who sometimes ask for their past to be erased? The risk is real. To answer this question, archivists must not rely on antiquated and obsolete practices; instead, they need to come up with regulatory and ethical solutions to reassure the public while preserving the interests of historical research and future generations.


Hervé Lemoine, General Heritage Conservator, was also Conservator at the Service historique de l’armée de Terre (today known as the Service historique du ministère de la Défense, in Vincennes), and then its Deputy Director of library and archives. His specialties include oral and audiovisual archives as well as Algeria during the colonial period. Between 1999 and 2006, he directed a research seminar on historical sources at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris. 

In January 2009, he became head of the musée des Monuments français and the heritage division of the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine (Paris, Trocadéro).

Since February 2010, he has been the Director of les Archives de France at the ministère de la Culture et de la Communication.

Hervé Lemoine is a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

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