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.
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.
artasiamerica is a digital archive for Asian and Asian American contemporary art history. It is an excellent example of a long-term community archive (based at the Asian American Arts Center in New York City), beginning with deep physical collections of which a selection have been processed and digitized. The digital collections are notable for their careful consideration of metadata application, using both existing standards and local headings when existing standards do not have needed terms (see a brief discussion in the FAQ.)
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.
The CWRC Ontology Specification (at version 0.99.6 as of this posting) is an excellent example of a thoughtful technical specification showing the process of both creating methods for standardizing data while grappling with the difficult process of distilling human experience into data definitions. The intellectual context included in the robust documentation would be helpful for any project dealing with questions of standardization in cultural heritage data. The ontology itself offers a rich vocabulary for literary study and history with a strong emphasis on representing concepts through careful gender and intersectional analysis. The ontology is a project of CWRC, the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory, which “brings together researchers working with online technologies to investigate writing and related cultural practices relevant to Canada and to the digital turn.”
The Black Metropolis Research Consortium is a model project for inter-institutional collaboration and community partnership. The project focuses on methods needed to surface and connect materials related to the history and culture of African Americans. The BMRC’s activities include support for internships and fellowships along with projects such as surveying and processing relevant collections for inclusion into their specialized search of finding aids related to African American history and culture. See in particular the BMRC database as an example of increased accessibility through the focused processing of archival collections. The BMRC is, from their website hosted at the University of Chicago: “a Chicago-based membership association of libraries, universities, and other archival institutions. Its mission is to make broadly accessible its members’ holdings of materials that document African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.