Organization for Transformative Works: What We Believe

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is “a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms.” Here it provides a model values statement showing how one community, rooted in a primarily female culture, views the importance of preserving its history and archive. Also useful for considering the ways that some community archives, in this case of transformative fan works, may require firm knowledge of copyright and fair use law — see the section on Legal Advocacy for more. Pairing OTW beliefs towards transformative works with readings on the privacy and intellectual property needs of other marginalized communities would be particularly fruitful, showing the complicated role of privacy and intellectual property in community archives.

Diversifying the Digital Historical Record

The Diversifying the Digital Historical Record website has essential coverage of a series of national forums, led by co-PIs Michelle Caswell and Bergis Jules, “focusing on community archives integration in a national digital platform and the potential impact for representation of diverse communities in our digital cultural heritage.” See also the publications and final report with important conclusions, particularly for software development, including for example that “Rather than create a central digital repository for community archival materials, community archives practitioners instead express a need for a structured online space to create a network, share resources and best practices, and leverage each other’s expertise.”

Archival Absence: The Burden of History / Ashley Glass-Falzetti

Beautifully argued and written, suggesting (and further analyzing) practices of marking absences in history, and it is quite productive for those in processing, cataloging, digitization, and system design to consider how they might mark absences. From the article: “At saakaciweeyankwi, the annual Myaamia language camp in Indiana, a non-Miami man showed up one evening to speak with elders. He hoped to learn more about the history of the land where his wilderness preserve is located. After some conversation, we figured out that he wanted some tidbits to put on signs around the property with Miami names for landmarks and maybe something about the Miami who lived there. After those of us who run the camp discussed our response, we told him that there is no doubt that Miami people lived on that land. Unfortunately, there are no Myaamia names for those landmarks because those Miami were either forced to migrate west of the Mississippi River or they were massacred. Either way, those particular place names were lost along with the names of the people who kept them. I sincerely suggested that he put that on a sign.” Falzetti analyzes the potential of similar such markers in archives and special collections, which has interesting implications for the design of digital collection systems.

Falzetti, Ashley Glassburn. 2015. “Archival Absence: The Burden of History.” Settler Colonial Studies 5 (2): 128–44. https://doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2014.957258.

Indian Arts Research Center

The Indian Arts Research Center is a division of the School for Advanced Research, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution established in 1907 to advance innovative social science and Native American art. Since 2010, the Indian Arts Research Center has “pioneered a radically participatory approach to the stewardship of its Native American art collection” through initiatives such as its Native American Artists Fellowships and extensive, no-cost programming for the Native Community. The IARC also led the development of the excellent Community + Museum and Museum + Community guidelines, created through a three-year period of collaboration between Native and non-Native museum professionals, cultural leaders and artists.