This article reports the results of a survey of the fifty state archives on the public policy issues of personal privacy and access to restricted records for social research. The evidence suggests that although one-third of the sample respondents recognize the dilemma of competing values, most do not find it difficult to decide which value is preeminent. The findings suggest that policies and practices for responding to requests for restricted records are not well developed. Institutional constraints place a low priority on access to confidential records for social research, archivists are not well informed about confidentiality and access statutes, and archivists are not politically active.

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