Jules argues that social media has been crucial for documenting and disseminating social activism, especially for Black communities. After the Watts Rebellion’s 50th anniversary, Jules decided to research how much primary material about specific rebellions were available; the results, not surprisingly, were slim. For the digital #BlackLivesMatter collection that Jules helped spearhead, which was also the beginning of the Documenting the Now initiative, they archived almost 45 million Tweets to document and preserve primary source documents about police encounters. The problem with recording these images, Tweets, videos, and other documenting materials, though, is surveillance culture may put advocates and people who show up to rebellions at risk. Based on a talk presented at Diversity in the Archives: Preserving Ephemeral Activist Culture, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Libraries.
See also “Introducing Documenting the Now“, Ed Summers.
Fiesler et al. conduct a case study on Archive of Our Own (AO3), an online fan fiction archive website, to demonstrate how to implement Bardzell’s Feminist HCI into practice. Using a series of interviews and exploration of the site, the authors explore how AO3’s design centers around participation, pluralism, advocacy, and more. Although AO3 is not the perfect platform for every user and some of the study’s participants explained why, AO3’s design and careful policy-making reflects feminist values and advocates for empowerment for a diversity of fanfiction writers. This article provides a specific series of design choices that reflect these values.
Drabinski looks at activist catalogers who focus on “correcting” certain classifications and knowledge organization systems; the problem with the notion of “correctness,” though, is it reinforces the notion that these knowledge systems are universal and erases the fluidity of knowledges produced by the social, political, and temporal. Drabinski advocates for LIS practitioners to use a queer lens while working with users and information; a “queer perspective on classification structures sees categories as discursively produced and historically contingent” (101). Drabinski offers examples of potential implementations of queer practices into cataloguing. She provides three main recommendations: 1) knowledge systems can be designed for users to both visibly see the constructed-ness of classifiers; 2) LIS practitioners can encourage users to participate in conversations about revising classifications through workshops, conversations, the actual design, or other pedagogical tools; and 3) information science curriculum can focus on classification work as “critical reflection,” not just “correcting.”
The GLIS at University of Illinois held a townhall meeting to discuss issues around race and privilege; this townhall meeting led to focus groups and then reading groups, encouraging further discussions about diversity. The main products of the town hall were new extracurricular reading groups and an entirely new course focused around social justice issues. Cooke et al. offer strengths and failures of these additions. For example, unlike a traditional classroom setting, the reading groups were neither scaffolded nor run by a professor; in order to encourage constructive dialogue, the authors suggest that facilitators use “partial intervention.” As for the courses, social justice theory became a foundational theory within the curriculum, which encouraged discussions about power, privilege, and the dynamic between academia and the community. Some students view the course as unpractical or have differing opinions from the theories read; the emotional labor that professors experience needs further exploration.
Archivist scholars argue that it is not enough for collections to be inclusive of cultures and voices, but we must make “structural changes” in which Indigenous people still have ownership over their texts and stories. This notion of ownership, though, becomes less defined when Indigenous cultural artifacts are collected by institutions; when a non-Indigenous culture “owns” Indigenous artifacts, it is crucial to create a system of ownership that empowers the Indigenous communities. Local Contexts has created the Traditional Knowledge (TK) license which renegotiates ideas of ownership and copyright that is flexible and more individualistic to the needs of particular cultures.
A foundational article in the field of archival science and critical archives theory, Harris, writing in 2002, argues that far from being a simple reflection of reality, archives are constructed windows into personal and collective processes. They at once express and are instruments of prevailing relations of power. Verne Harris makes these arguments through an account of archives and archivists in the context of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. The account is deliberately shaped around three themes — race, power, and public records. While he concedes that the constructedness of memory and the dimension of power are most obvious in the extreme circumstances of oppression and rapid transition to democracy, he argues that these are realities informing archives in all circumstances. He makes an appeal to archivists to enchant their work by engaging these realities and by turning always towards the call of and for justice.
This article reports on an early project exploring the possibilities of collaborative description of Indigenous belongings held in museums. The authors conducted a collaborative research project on how multiple local expert communities interacted with and reacted to objects held within multiple museums. The ethnographic research conducted in this study demonstrates the need for museums to collaborate with local communities as well as a method for implementing this collaboration. The study showed a disconnect between how objects were presented and recorded and the local experts’ experience and knowledge about the objects (this disconnect is visualized on page 753); the two main disconnects were found in the narrative the Zuni communities and museums constructed about these objects as well as an absence of the use and practice of these objects in the museums. The authors advocate for working within this disconnect to find better ways of representing objects, or viewing museums as “contact zones” in which multiple experts – not only the traditional museum “Expert” – can collaborate. One method for negotiating this disconnect is to make visible the different meaning objects have in different contexts; designing digital spaces to host digital objects allow for this visibility.
Srinivasan, Ramesh, Katherine M. Becvar, Robin Boast, and Jim Enote. 2010. “Diverse Knowledges and Contact Zones within the Digital Museum.” Science, Technology, & Human Values
35 (5): 735–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243909357755
Sadler and Bourg argue that libraries are never neutral and, therefore, should do work to problematize and subvert harmful cultural biases and information organization in library discovery. They use Bardzell’s Feminist HCI as a framework to provide suggestions and examples for digital projects and larger projects that incorporated social justice in their design.
Sadler, B., & Bourg, C. (2015). “Feminism and the Future of Library Discovery.” Code4Lib: Special Issue on Diversity in Library Technology, 28.
The RDA catalogues gender according to the male/female binary. The authors argue for a removal of gender cataloguing, especially when the controlled vocabulary falls into this binary; part of the problem with labeling gender is the choices are based on physical and name markers. This cataloging which reinforces problematic notions of gender as stable and legible. One potential loss for not cataloguing gender identity is losing the ability to group people by gender. The authors, however, argue that researching groups by gender continues to privilege the gender binary, instead of representing queer identities. Being aware of the complex and fluid nature of gender identities contradicts the need to catalogue gender.
Bardzell uses examples from feminist theories and practices in disciplines that revolve around design and user experience (i.e., architecture, gaming, etc.) as catalysts to think further about how feminist theory can be implemented in and ultimately change human-computer interaction (HCI), especially in theory, methodology, user research, and evaluation. Bardzell comes up with a “constellation of qualities” to transform how designers think about HCI through a feminist lens, or as she refers to it, “feminist interaction design” (1308).
Bardzell, Shaowen. 2010. “Feminist HCI: Taking Stock and Outlining an Agenda for Design.” In CHI ’10 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
, 1301–10. Atlanta, GA. http://wtf.tw/ref/bardzell.pdf