This case study describes the development of a custom metadata schema to support the description of 65 educational videos used to help teach sign language. The creators of this special collection had specific access and discovery needs that were not served by standard vocabularies, and the custom schema developed methods to describe information like the pace of the interpreter’s fingerspelling, the language being signed, and how space is being used by the interpreter.
Honma describes the use of zines in an undergraduate classroom to promote alternative pedagogies and incorporate critical inquiry and research skills. By bringing zines into his classroom as research materials, Honma provides an example of how to use archival materials and research to make connections between community archives and community action, and help students view themselves as embedded in larger community histories. This article discusses the framework and assignments incorporated into the course, and the larger impacts of this framework for considering archives as dynamic and contested sites of meaning.
Honma, T. (2016).”From Archives to Action: Zines, Participatory Culture, and Community Engagement in Asian America.” Radical Teacher, 105, 33–43.
Caswell provides a framework for combating white supremacy, homophobia, and other harmful and persistent perspectives in the information science classroom. Through this framework, she and her students work to recognize the biases in IS and challenge those biases. This article also provides slides about practical steps and paradigmatic shifts to dismantling white supremacy in the archives that can be incorporated in a classroom or other teaching and learning environments.
Archives have a long and troubled history as imperialist endeavors. Scholars of digital archives can begin to decolonize the archive by asking, how is knowledge imparted, in what media, by whom, and for what ends? Drawing on a six-year-long ethnohistorical study of Cherokee language and writing, I explore these questions and analyze the epistemological work of wampum, Sequoyan, and digital storytelling. I argue that decolonial digital archives have built into them the instrumental, historical, and cultural meanings of whatever media they include. To be understood in and on their terms, these media need to be contextualized within the notions of time, social practices, stories, and languages that lend them meaning.
Cushman, E. (2013). “Wampum, Sequoyan, and Story: Decolonizing the Digital Archive.” College English, 76(2), 115–135.
For at least half a century, catalogers have struggled with how to catalog and classify Native American and Indigenous peoples materials in library, archive, and museum collections. Understanding how colonialism works can help those in the field of knowledge organization appreciate the power dynamics embedded in the marginalization of Native American and Indigenous peoples materials through standardization, misnaming, and other practices. The decolonizing methodology of imagining provides one way that knowledge organization practitioners and theorists can acknowledge and discern the possibilities of Indigenous community-based approaches to the development of alternative information structures.
Duarte, M. E., & Belarde-Lewis, M. (2015). “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 53(5–6), 677–702.
The “information wants to be free” meme was born some 20 years ago from the free and open source software development community. In the ensuing decades, information freedom has merged with debates over open access, digital rights management, and intellectual property rights. More recently, as digital heritage has become a common resource, scholars, activists, technologists, and local source communities have generated critiques about the extent of information freedom. This article injects both the histories of collecting and the politics of information circulation in relation to indigenous knowledge into this debate by looking closely at the history of the meme and its cultural and legal underpinnings. This approach allows us to unpack the meme’s normalized assumptions and gauge whether it is applicable across a broad range of materials and cultural variances.
Christen, K. A. (2012). “Does Information Really Want to be Free? Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the Question of Openness.” International Journal of Communication, 6(0), 24.
The Active Collections website serves as both a community of practice and a core reading. The website’s goal is to “generate discussion and action across the history museum field to develop a new approach to collections, one that is more effective and sustainable.” The Active Collections Manifesto is an excellent place to start, but the website is also rich with case studies, roundtable reports, and a proposed research agenda. Active Collections asks: “Out of all the objects in your collections, can you only think of a handful that could be used in transformative exhibitions and programming? Are you slowly being buried alive under an avalanche of objects that only sort of serve your mission?”
Active Collections was also published as a text:
Drawing on exploratory research of online ethnographic records for particular types of Aboriginal bags in North America, we confront the absence of affective knowledge in museum catalogues and documentation. Although curatorial, ethnographic, and Aboriginal understandings of these items teem with affect, we find affect to be almost wholly lacking from available online records. We ask what the effects of this absence are for descendent Aboriginal communities, for museum publics, and for affect theory. We also look at an example where affect has a presence in online records, the Glenbow Museum, and consider the ways this creates opportunities for comparative and historic affective study.