Opening Archives: Respectful Repatriation / Kimberly Christen

This article highlights the importance of partnerships in digitization projects in relation to indigenous communities. While digitization and the advent of technologies that make information and items widely available, the groups, in this case indigenous communities, should always be consulted before items are made widely available in an effort to ensure that the item should be included online and that the appropriate description is included.

“In the last twenty years, many collecting institutions have heeded the calls by indigenous activists to integrate indigenous models and knowledge into mainstream practices. The digital terrain poses both possibilities and problems for indigenous peoples as they seek to manage, revive, circulate, and create new cultural heritage within overlapping colonial/postcolonial histories and oftentimes-binary public debates about access in a digital age. While digital technologies allow for items to be repatriated quickly, circulated widely, and annotated endlessly, these same technologies pose challenges to some indigenous communities who wish to add their expert voices to public collections and also maintain some traditional cultural protocols for the viewing, circulation, and reproduction of some materials. This case study examines one collaborative archival project aimed at digitally repatriating and reciprocally curating cultural heritage materials of the Plateau tribes in the Pacific Northwest.”

Christen, Kimberly. 2011. “Opening Archives: Respectful Repatriation.” The American Archivist 74 (1): 185–210.

See also, Honoring the Dead: A Digital Archive of the Insane Indian Asylum by Stacey Berry

National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Repatriation Policy

“Repatriation is the process whereby specific kinds of American Indian cultural items in a museum collection are returned to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Native clans or villages, and/or Native Hawaiian organizations.”

Repatriation at the NMAI is a uniquely proactive and collaborative process. Working closely with Native peoples and communities, the NMAI conducts research and makes decisions independent of other Smithsonian offices. This policy details who can be part of the repatriation process and what this process looks like. Provides an example for how to create a specific policy to demonstrate commitment to respecting Indigenous peoples and cultures.

National Museum of the American Indian. 2014. “Repatriation.” National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution).

An Archive of Their Own: A Case Study of Feminist HCI and Values in Design / Casey Fiesler, Shannon Morrison, Amy S. Bruckman

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.

Fiesler, Casey, Shannon Morrison, and Amy S Bruckman. 2016. “An Archive of Their Own: A Case Study of Feminist HCI and Values in Design.” In CHI ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2574–85. Santa Clara, CA.

Social Justice as Topic and Tool: An Attempt to Transform an LIS Curriculum and Culture / Nicole A. Cooke, Miriam E. Sweeney, and Safiya Umoja Noble

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.

Cooke, Nicole A, Miriam E Sweeney, and Safiya Umoja Noble. 2016. “Social Justice as Topic and Tool: An Attempt to Transform an LIS Curriculum and Culture.” The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 86 (1): 107–24.

Tribal Archives, Traditional Knowledge, and Local Contexts: Why the ‘s’ Matters / Kimberly Christen

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.

Christen, Kimberly. 2015. “Tribal Archives, Traditional Knowledge, and Local Contexts: Why the ‘s’ Matters.” Journal of Western Archives 6 (1).

Feminist HCI: Taking Stock and Outlining an Agenda for Design / Shaowen Bardzell

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.