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.”
Multimodal Representations / Todd Suomela
How do different types of media affect the representation of groups? This study path will look at examples of multimodal representation and also offer an opportunity to document a community using different modes of media.
Digital Transgender Archive
“The purpose of the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA) is to increase the accessibility of transgender history by providing an online hub for digitized historical materials, born-digital materials, and information on archival holdings throughout the world.” The DTA was partially developed in response to the placement of transgender history within the archival record: it is often not cataloged and difficult to find, and often difficult to uncover within larger collections. Changes in language around the transgender experience also present challenges in locating older items, and developing new and inclusive cataloging standards that both shares transgender history but respects the privacy of individuals. The DTA is particularly notable for developing clear policies around metadata, copyright, and reuse, as well as developing a model to digitize and bring together items that are physically dispersed.
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.
June Mazer Lesbian Archives
The Archives, originally called the West Coast Lesbian Collections, was founded in Oakland California, in 1981. Six years later it was moved to Los Angeles by Connexxus Women’s Center/Centro de Mujeres. The Archives acquired its present name after the death of June Mazer, in honor of her work as a community activist and invaluable supporter of the Archives.
The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives remains the only archive on this side of the continent that is dedicated exclusively to preserving lesbian history and to guaranteeing that those who come after us will not have to believe that they “walk alone.” The Archives is committed to gathering and preserving materials by and about lesbians and feminists of all classes, ethnicities, races and experiences. Included are personal letters and scrapbooks, artwork, manuscripts, books, records, newspapers, magazines, photographs, videotapes, flyers, papers of lesbian and feminist organizations, private papers, and even clothing, such as softball uniforms from the 1940s and 50s.
Hundreds of lesbians and feminists have been inspired to donate artifacts of their personal and collective histories. The Archives encourages all lesbians to deposit the everyday mementos of your lives so that others can discover them in the future. The privacy of any donor is protected to whatever extent she desires.
In 1989, the archives earned 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and received donated space from the city of West Hollywood, where it remains today. The mission of the Mazer Archives is to collect, preserve and make accessible lesbian, feminist and women’s queer history as a means of providing a link among all generations of lesbians; to develop social activities, educational events, opportunities and programs that promote historical awareness; and to provide research and resource facilities.
The all-volunteer staff of the Mazer Archives not only keeps the doors open, but also helps to make lesbian communities and others aware of our history through speaking engagements, the Archives’ newsletter, In The Life, (no longer in publication), and special programs and exhibits.
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.
“Free as in sexist?” Free Culture and the Gender Gap / Joseph Reagle
This article is particularly valuable when discussing stereotypical and default modes of collaboration and communication within technical communities. Reagle focuses particularly on gender, but the framework laid out here also has resonance for technical development involving other underrepresented communities.
“Despite the values of freedom and openness, the free culture movement’s gender balance is as skewed (or more so) as that of the computing culture from which it arose. Based on the collection and analysis of discourse on gender and sexism within this movement over a six–year period. I suggest three possible causes: (a) some geek identities can be narrow and unappealing; (b) open communities are especially susceptible to difficult people; and, (c) the ideas of freedom and openness can be used to dismiss concerns and rationalize the gender gap as a matter of preference and choice.”
digitization: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should / Tara Robertson
In this blog post, Robertson takes a critical look at Reveal Digital’s work to digitize On Our Backs (OOB), a lesbian feminist porn magazine that ran from 1984-2004. She points out that there are ethical issues with digitizing and making print collections like OOB available online and that Reveal Digital needs more robust ethical guidelines and take-down policies. Robertson also emphasizes the importance of working with people who were featured in OOB and appear in the collection, citing their right to be forgotten.
Prototype Theory: An Alternative Concept Theory for Categorizing Sex and Gender? / Melodie J. Fox
This article explores prototype theory as an alternative to classical theories of classification. This article points to other, more fine-grained methods for classification than traditional systems with rigid boundaries and hierarchies. While this article does not delve into the technical systems needed to implement prototype theory, it is a very useful foundation for discussions on how such a technical system could be designed.
“Classical theories of classification and concepts, originating in ancient Greek logic, have been criticized by classificationists, feminists, and scholars of marginalized groups because of the rigidity of conceptual boundaries and hierarchical structure. Despite this criticism, the principles of classical theory still underlie major library classification schemes. Rosch’s prototype theory, originating from cognitive psychology, uses Wittgenstein’s “family resemblance” as a basis for conceptual definition. Rather than requiring all necessary and sufficient conditions, prototype theory requires possession of some but not all common qualities for membership in a category. This paper explores prototype theory to determine whether it captures the fluidity of gender to avoid essentialism and accommodate transgender and queer identities. Ultimately, prototype theory constitutes a desirable conceptual framework for gender because it permits commonality without essentialism, difference without eliminating similarity. However, the instability of prototypical definitions would be difficult to implement in a practical environment and could still be manipulated to subordinate. Therefore, at best, prototype theory could complement more stable concept theories by incorporating contextual difference.”
Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation
Gender inclusiveness in computing settings is receiving a lot of attention, but one potentially critical factor has mostly been overlooked—software itself. To help close this gap, we recently created GenderMag, a systematic inspection method to enable software practitioners to evaluate their software for issues of gender-inclusiveness. In this paper, we present the first real-world investigation of software practitioners‘ ability to identify gender-inclusiveness issues in software they create/maintain using this method. Our investigation was a multiple-case field study of software teams at three major U.S. technology organizations. The results were that, using GenderMag to evaluate software, these software practitioners identified a surprisingly high number of gender-inclusiveness issues: 25% of the software features they evaluated had gender-inclusiveness issues.