This case study gives a brief overview of a long-standing archival and research project in Latina/o history, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, which was established in 1990 by a group of scholars, librarians, and archivists. It outlines the scope, effort, and community-building that it takes to create a long-running and successful project, and can be used to focus on the care that it takes to steward such large-scale recovery projects forward. It also shows the clear and concrete way that this archive formed the locus of a research community and prompted new types of scholarship.
Mapping Violence: A Case Study on Project Development, Iterative Approaches to Data Collection and Visualization, and Collaborative Work With Undergraduates / Jim McGrath
This case study looks at an important benchmark in the development of Mapping Violence, a digital project interested in histories and records of state-sanctioned racial violence on the Mexico/Texas border in the early twentieth century. Specifically, it focuses on work completed in the summer of 2016 with a team of undergraduates at Brown University, documenting some of the collaborative, iterative, pedagogical, and ethical dimensions of the project’s ideas of data, interface, and audience.
Más Tecnologia, Más Cambio?: Investigating an Educational Technology Project in Rural Peru / Emeline Therias, Jon Bird, Paul Marshall
Excellent analysis of use of educational technology in rural Peru, questioning many basic assumptions of programs based on simple hardware distribution rather than addressing social settings and context. Useful for considering digital archival projects where community partners are in areas with little hardware and network service. Also provides analysis of factors leading to success, again providing guidance for community archives projects where there may be participants with a variety of hardware and network access.
Archivists and Archives of Color Section
The Archivists and Archives of Color Section is an essential group, informally known as AAC, that creates space and advocacy for archives and archivists of color. A section of the Society of American Archivists, AAC members are often at the forefront of thinking about how to partner with marginalized communities and steward community archives both physical and online. It is also an essential community of support for archivists of color.
Introducing Critical Race Theory to Archival Discourse: Getting the Conversation Started / Anthony Dunbar
An excellent introduction to and definition of key terms such as critical race theory, microaggression, and social justice, clearly linking those terms to core archival concepts and processes such as how one defines and structures an archival “record”.
“This article introduces the application of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to archival discourse in order to demonstrate how such a critical and analytical approach can help identify and raise social and professional consciousness of implicit racial bias. To demonstrate the potential of CRT, the paper discusses how the terminology and methodological structures of CRT might be applied to some aspects of archival theory and practice. The paper concludes that CRT can contribute to a diversified archival epistemology that can influence the creation of collective and institutional memories that impact underrepresented and disenfranchised populations and the development of their identities.”
Community Inquiry Self-Reflection / Susan Barrett
This study path asks learners to research the history of a local community and develop outreach strategies, and could be conducted as a small group or individual activity.
Training for Change
Training for Change creates training and capacity-building resources for activists and other groups working on equity and social justice issues. Training material topics include Diversity and Anti-Oppression resources, Meeting Facilitation, Team-Building, and Organizing Strategies.
Creative Reaction Lab
The Creative Reaction Lab is a community and equity focused project in St. Louis, Missouri, that develops training materials to work collaboratively with communiy members to design “healthy and racially equitable communities.” The Lab has created an Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide as well as a Community Design Apprenticeship program, among other resources, to support this work.
From Custody to Collaboration: The Post-Custodial Archival Model at the University of Texas Libraries / Kent Norsworthy and T-Kay Sangwand
Despite living in an age of ubiquitous access to digital information, scholars still struggle to access both the physical and digital primary sources needed for research and teaching. This can be due to limited access to physical primary sources (i.e. cultural heritage materials located in another country), lack of resources to make analog primary sources digitally accessible (i.e. limited funds and staff for digitization), or lack of a concerted effort to collect born digital materials (i.e. no clear institutional mandate). The inaction around preservation and access can result in the loss of the materials themselves, for example to obscurity and obsolescence, as well as an impoverished historical record. In order to confront these threats while simultaneously supporting scholarly research at The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas Libraries has adopted a post-custodial archive model to address the collection, preservation, and access challenges for digitized and born digital archival materials. This approach also allows us to secure valuable scholarly resources for The University of Texas at Austin and the global community and to foster deep collaborative relationships with campus faculty and academic units as well as with our partners around the globe, all in close alignment with the strategic priorities of the Libraries and the University. This presentation will explore the background and rationale that underlies the post-custodial archive model and how this model has been implemented through digital projects such as the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive, Primeros Libros de las Américas, and the Human Rights Documentation Initiative. We will discuss these initiatives as part of broader efforts to redefine the role and identity of the research library as a central component of teaching, scholarship, and resource to 21st century learners, and as an exemplary activity of the University’s commitment to “scholarship and education that advances the social good.”
Machine Reading the Primeros Libros / Hannah Alpert-Adams
By delving into the material processes of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), as well as the history of OCR tools, this article shows how the statistical models used for automatic transcription can embed cultural biases into the output. This article is particularly relevant to multilingual projects, as it unpacks the effects of OCR software that generally assumes monolingual and orhthographically simple documents.
“Early modern printed books pose particular challenges for automatic transcription: uneven inking, irregular orthographies, radically multilingual texts. As a result, modern efforts to transcribe these documents tend to produce the textual gibberish commonly known as “dirty OCR” (Optical Character Recognition). This noisy output is most frequently seen as a barrier to access for scholars interested in the computational analysis or digital display of transcribed documents. This article, however, proposes that a closer analysis of dirty OCR can reveal both historical and cultural factors at play in the practice of automatic transcription. To make this argument, it focuses on tools developed for the automatic transcription of the Primeros Libros collection of sixteenth century Mexican printed books. By bringing together the history of the collection with that of the OCR tool, it illustrates how the colonial history of these documents is embedded in, and transformed by, the statistical models used for automatic transcription. It argues that automatic transcription, itself a mechanical and practical tool, also has an interpretive effect on transcribed texts that can have practical consequences for scholarly work.”