[EDITORIALS]Documentation Essential

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[EDITORIALS]Documentation Essential

History is written on the grounds of information materials. And history is analyzed through tangible and intangible information left when the events occurred. A correct understanding of history also starts with a complete collection of historical documents. The U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps documents made public by the National Institute of Korean History showed that Ahn Doo-hee, who assassinated Kim Gu, was an agent of the intelligence agency.

It also revealed that Lee Kang-kuk, the first North Korean deputy foreign minister, and Lim Hwa, a novelist, were also spies of the same agency. It is imperative that the background of Mr. Kim's assassination, the role of the United States in Korea's independence politics and our overall modern history be reevaluated after the documents are thoroughly analyzed.

As much as modern history is the record of our lives, it plays a pivotal role in comprehending Korea's history. Nonetheless, because of a lack of interest in the documents, an organized collection of the documents is not being carried out properly. The National Institute of Korean History, the War Memorial Corp., the Academy of Korean Studies and the Government Archives & Records Service, are all carrying out the same tasks. But information is not being exchanged or those organizations are duplicating their collection. The lack of cooperation between the institutions and the waste of expenses has been pinpointed for a long time. In effect, foreign institutions are finding it a laughable matter that many research institutions are making copies of the same documents.

The lack of funds is also something that must be noted. Of the budget allocated to each research institution, the majority is spent on personnel. Many documents on the democratic movement produced in the 1970s and '80s were lost and important government documents became the property of individuals when governments changed. Even minutes of meetings that show how important decisions are made are not being kept. We should no longer wait to produce valuable information and instead should provide a complete plan for collecting it within and outside the country.
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