What is this Toolkit?

This Toolkit was created to help cultural heritage practitioners advocate for and create more inclusive information systems. It is written from the stance that technology is not neutral, but rather either reinforces or challenges existing inequities.  This Toolkit can be used in a classroom, workplace, or volunteer organization.

This Toolkit is a collection of:

  • Case studies based on real world projects and experiences that show the trade-offs and decisions used in creating and working with digital archives and cultural information. Case studies were specifically written for this toolkit, and we are deeply grateful to our case study authors.
  • Videos, readings, and other resources on the theory and practice of creating inclusive information systems
  • Study paths that combine videos, readings, and case studies with learning activities — these can be used for self-study as an individual, group study in a workplace or organization, or combined to create assignments for the classroom. Study paths were written by our Core Design Group, and we are also deeply grateful to them for the time they’ve given to this project.

Who is this for?

We define cultural heritage practitioners as, in short, the people that do the many layers of work that go into creating digital collections of history and memory. They might be in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, or community organizations. They might be a museum curator putting together an online exhibit, the person in charge of historical records at a church, an archivist in an academic library, or a book cataloger at a public library. Cultural heritage work might also be done by the website or database developer creating the back-end systems for hosting a digital collection or catalog.

In other words, this Toolkit is for people with varied expertises and roles:

  • Cultural heritage workers advocating for more just and inclusive information systems in their organization.
  • Educators in disciplines training the next generation of cultural heritage workers and designers, such as library and information science, museum studies and anthropology, digital humanities, or computer science.
  • Community historians working on digital projects that want to investigate whether the systems available to them allow a just and inclusive approach.
  • People using the Toolkit in the classroom, or people approaching this Toolkit directly as a learner.
  • People in many different settings: a classroom, a workplace, individual self-study, group study at community organizations and projects, professional development workshops, and more.

How do I get started?

We invite you to jump in!

  • Read orientations to putting this toolkit in action in either the classroom or workplace
  • Read case studies for reflection on the real-world trade-offs and design decisions used in creating digital archives
  • Use study paths as selective, interactive guides through the case studies, readings, model projects, and communities of practice.
  • Read the full user guide for details on the Toolkit structure and definitions
  • Browse all toolkit materials directly