The Alsberg Prize for Research on Archives was awarded to Akevot Institute researchers Dr. Noam Hofstadter and Lior Yavne by the Association of Israeli Archivists and family of Paul A. Alsberg. The prize, for a “pioneering and thorough research, highlighting troublesome conduct of many of the governmental archives” was awarded for Akevot’s report Point of Access.
In his thanks, Yavne said: “The research for which we humbly receive the Alsberg Award today concerns the various barriers to access to Israel’s government archives, which contain public records, created with public funds, for public purposes and are destined to return to the public when the time comes. However, the figures we were given by government archives show that only a negligible portion of the records kept in these archives are accessible to the public – around one percent. Our research was aimed at uncovering why that is the case and the recommendations we included in the report Point of Access are meant as a starting point on the road to change.
“Change requires thorough reform and action based on the understanding that documentation of the work of the government and government officials is public property rather than a secret that must be kept from it. It also requires partnerships between those committed to increasing public access to archival material: archive management and staff; academic researchers and genealogists; documentarists, journalists, private citizens and groups and civil society organizations. We all have different needs. Some of us are engaged in other important struggles, and none of us have enough resources; but to overcome the barriers to public access to government and other archives, we must mobilize and work in partnership.”