African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum)

Based at the University of Maryland, AADHum brings African American Studies and Digital Humanities together, and serves as an example of both leadership and support, facilitating a community of scholars that center the Black experience. See in particular AADHum philosophical frameworks on Centralizing Blackness in Digital Work and their rich list of projects in progress. Learning more about AADHum projects and methods will help planners of new projects partnering with Black communities in the U.S. A discussion of the AADHum model would pair well with a discussion of the work of Documenting the Now, both exemplary initiatives.

Organization for Transformative Works: What We Believe

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is “a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms.” Here it provides a model values statement showing how one community, rooted in a primarily female culture, views the importance of preserving its history and archive. Also useful for considering the ways that some community archives, in this case of transformative fan works, may require firm knowledge of copyright and fair use law — see the section on Legal Advocacy for more. Pairing OTW beliefs towards transformative works with readings on the privacy and intellectual property needs of other marginalized communities would be particularly fruitful, showing the complicated role of privacy and intellectual property in community archives.

Data Culture Project / Catherine D’Ignazio and Rahul Barghava

The Data Culture Project is a model project for both a thoughtful approach to the use of data and technology as well as exploring methods for worplace education and change. Data Culture focuses on providing training for organizations “struggling to figure out how to build capacity to work with data.” The project leaders suggest: “You don’t need a data scientist; you need a data culture.” Helpful for cultural heritage organizations looking for staff training around more thoughtful production and use of their data, or as a model for how to run an effective educational initiative. Part of the larger DataBasic.io learning portal, led by well-known practitioners and scholars Rahul Barghava and Catherine D’Ignazio.

Indian Arts Research Center

The Indian Arts Research Center is a division of the School for Advanced Research, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution established in 1907 to advance innovative social science and Native American art. Since 2010, the Indian Arts Research Center has “pioneered a radically participatory approach to the stewardship of its Native American art collection” through initiatives such as its Native American Artists Fellowships and extensive, no-cost programming for the Native Community. The IARC also led the development of the excellent Community + Museum and Museum + Community guidelines, created through a three-year period of collaboration between Native and non-Native museum professionals, cultural leaders and artists.

‘Chuck a Copyright on it’: Dilemmas of Digital Return and the Possibilities for Traditional Knowledge Licenses and Labels / Jane Anderson and Kimberly Christen

An in-depth look at the history and considerations behind the development of the Traditional Knowledge labels, which pairs well with an investigation in to the TK Labels themselves. “This article focuses on the creation of an innovate network of licenses and labels delivered through an accessible, educational, and informative digital platform aimed specifically at the complex intellectual property needs of Indigenous peoples, communities, and collectives wishing to manage, maintain, and preserve their digital cultural heritage. The Traditional Knowledge (TK) Licenses and Labels answer a grassroots, global call by Indigenous communities, archivists, museum specialists, and activists for an alternative to traditional copyright for the varied needs of Indigenous communities and the cultural materials they steward. Local Contexts is a project and educational website dedicated to the production of new intellectual property frameworks for Indigenous materials that depart from colonial histories of collection and Western legal frameworks.”

Anderson, Jane, and Kimberly Christen. 2013. “‘Chuck a Copyright on It’: Dilemmas of Digital Return and the Possibilities for Traditional Knowledge Licenses and Labels.” Museum Anthropology Review 7 (1–2): 105–126. https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/mar/article/view/2169.

Local Contexts: The Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels

Providing a framework for sharing cultural materials that respects the wishes of the people to whom those materials belong, the TK Labels “are a tool for Indigenous communities to add existing local protocols for access and use to recorded cultural heritage that is digitally circulating outside community contexts.” They serve as framework for developing information system facets such as user accounts, access protocols, API features, and more.

“The TK Labels offer an educative and informational strategy to help non-community users of this cultural heritage understand its importance and significance to the communities from where it derives and continues to have meaning. TK Labeling is designed to identify and clarify which material has community-specific restrictions regarding access and use. This is especially with respect to sacred and/or ceremonial material, material that has gender restrictions, seasonal conditions of use and/or materials specifically designed for outreach purposes. The TK Labels also can be used to add information that might be considered ‘missing’, including the name of the community who remains the creator or cultural custodian of the material, and how to contact the relevant family, clan or community to arrange appropriate permissions.”

 

Anderson, Jane, and Kimberly Christen. n.d. “Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels.” Local Contexts. Accessed March 2, 2018. http://localcontexts.org/tk-labels/.

Sustainable Heritage Network

The Sustainable Heritage Network (SHN) “is an answer to the pressing need for comprehensive workshops, online tutorials, and web resources dedicated to the lifecycle of digital stewardship. The SHN is a collaborative project that complements the work of indigenous peoples globally to preserve, share, and manage cultural heritage and knowledge.”

Managed by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University, the SHN is notable not only for sharing a rich set of online resources and an in-depth curriculum. The SHN partners have, since 2016, also run recurring in-depth workshops and provided lasting online workspaces to foster networks of indigenous cultural heritage practitioners through the Tribal Digital Stewardship Cohort program.

“The Sustainable Heritage Network.” n.d. Accessed October 8, 2018. https://sustainableheritagenetwork.org/.