Honoring the Dead: A Digital Archive of the Insane Indian Asylum / Stacey Berry

This case study describes the development of a digital collection focused on a federal detention facility for Native Americans, where the project managers were not from a Native American background. They describe their process of working closely with representatives from the Keepers of the Canton Native Asylum Story, a group of Native Americans stewarding the history and legacy of the asylum in South Dakota, and how they worked to make sure the digital collection and its display are in service to the Native cultural perspective.

The Prelinger Library

The Prelinger Library is a public library in San Francisco, CA. The library is primarily a collection of 19th and 20th century historical ephemera, periodicals, maps, and books, most published in the United States. Much of the collection is image-rich, and in the public domain. The library uses a geospatial taxonomy that “classifies subjects spatially and conceptually beginning with the physical world, moving into representation and culture, and ending with abstractions of society and theory. ” The collection includes published books, ephemera and zines, as well as oversize and standalone collections. The library also support research and artist residencies, and hosts an open-access digital collection of selected books.


Foxfire Magazine  developed out of a high school English course at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Northeast Georgia’s Appalachian mountains in the late 1960s, and is an example of a long-term community-driven history and archive. The students and teacher chose to create a magazine, honing their writing skills on stories gathered from their families and neighbors, and producing articles about the pioneer era of southern Appalachia as well as living traditions still thriving in the region. This project has led to multiple books and publications, as well as the development of a museum and cultural center devoted to supporting and making accessible the history of the region as documented by students.

Archaeology of a Digitization / Bonnie Mak

Excellent article in the history of digital materialism, exploring the layers and effects of collection, curation and remix by exploring the deep history of a commonly-used library database, Early English Books Online (EEBO). This article is particularly relevant to projects considering the labor and implications of digitization and reformatting, and also serves as a model for unpacking the complexity that can lay behind a seemingly-simple single database interface.

“This study proposes an archaeology as a means of exploring the practices by which digitally encoded resources are generated, circulated, and received. The discussion grapples with the ambiguous relationship between digitizations and their exemplars in the well-known database, Early English Books Online (EEBO), and suggests ways in which digitizations might be analyzed as witnesses of current perceptions about the past and used accordingly in scholarly research. The article therefore offers a critical reading of EEBO and its digitizations as part of a broader effort to investigate the role of digitally encoded resources in the transmission of ideas and the production of cultural heritage.”

Mak, Bonnie. 2014. “Archaeology of a Digitization.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 65 (8): 1515–26. http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/asi.23061.

Skins 1.0: A Curriculum for Designing Games with First Nations Youth

Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) conducted the Skins workshop to explore a pedagogy that integrated North American Indigenous cultural frameworks into the design of video games and virtual environments. Skins provides instruction in digital design, art, animation, audio and programming within a context of Aboriginal stories and storytelling techniques. In the pilot workshop with Mohawk youth at the Kahnawake Survival School, students developed interactive environments based on traditional stories from their community in a process that required them to reflect on how they knew those stories, who had told them, and which stories were appropriate for such remediation. In the process, AbTeC found that the discussions about these stories in the context of the technical skills development provided substantial motivation for both further inquiry into the stories and greater participation in the skills development. This paper describes the curriculum and strategies of the Skins pilot workshop.

Lameman, Beth Aileen, Jason E. Lewis, and Skawennati Fragnito. 2010. “Skins 1.0: A Curriculum for Designing Games with First Nations Youth.” In Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology, 105–12. Futureplay ’10. New York, NY, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/1920778.1920793.