Diversifying the Digital Historical Record: Integrating Community Archives in National Strategies for Access to Digital Cultural Heritage
lkfitz's bookmarks 2017-05-19
Abstract: "Some of the most valuable collections documenting the lives of marginalized people in the United States reside in spaces outside traditional academic and government institutions. They exist as independently curated, highly valuable sites for remembering, owned and operated by the communities they document. How can community-based archives participate in national strategies to digitize materials documenting marginalized communities? What are the social, cultural and technological barriers to participation and what are the benefits? How might national digital strategies leverage materials in community-based archives in order to diversify the digital record while respecting community-based autonomy and authority? These are questions explored by a consortium of community-based archives awarded a $100,000 IMLS National Leadership Grant for the project "Diversifying the Digital Historical Record: Integrating Community Archives in National Strategies for Access to Digital Cultural Heritage." This paper presents preliminary findings of the first two forums sponsored by this project; namely that, while technological challenges impede the participation of community archives in national digital strategies, ethical considerations related to autonomy, custody, and stewardship also present significant barriers. Rather than create a central digital repository for community archival materials, community archives practitioners instead express a need for a structured online space to create a network, share resources and best practices, and leverage each other's expertise."