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BC Library Conference 2017

April 19–21, 2017

Vancouver, BC

T21 - Hot Topic - Never Neutral: Ethics and Digital Collections

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 5:00 PM–6:30 PM PDT
Cordova Ballroom
Session Description

Generously Sponsored By: CUPE BC

Jarrett will discuss the risks and vulnerabilities posed by the normalization of data in an increasingly authoritarian regime. The interest by police and intelligence agencies in the words, movements, and actions of so-called dissenters, subversives, or protesters accentuates these risks and commands that librarians and archivists question the extent to which widespread data normalization might serve authoritarian ends.

Michael will discuss how libraries can work with Indigenous communities to enrich, protect, and appropriately manage sensitive cultural materials, traditional knowledge, and linguistic information. The oftentimes presumed objectivity of metadata, and the fact that many library holdings are the result of problematic collection practices, underscores the need to asses the work we undertake with diverse communities. Michael will ground his discussion in his work with Mukurtu CMS, the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, and other projects at the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University.

Tara will discuss her ethical concerns about digitizing culturally sensitive content and putting it online. Specifically she’ll examine how On Our Backs, an independent lesbian porn magazine published from 1984-2004, was digitized by Reveal Digital, put on the web, then temporarily removed. Tara will also share some best practices learned from other digitization projects.


Tara Robertson, CAPER-BC

Tara is a librarian who doesn't work in a library. She likes figuring out how things work, why they break, and how to make them work better. She's really interested in ethics and exploring collections and places where open access to information is not appropriate.

She's passionate about universal design, access to information, open source software, intellectual freedom, feminism, and Fluevog shoes.

Jarrett M. Drake, Princeton University Archives

Jarrett M. Drake is the Digital Archivist at the Princeton University Archives, where his primary responsibilities include managing the Digital Curation Program and describing archival collections for the Princeton University Archives. He also is one of the organizers and an advisory archivist of A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland, an independent community-based archive in Cleveland, Ohio, that collects, preserves, and provides access to the stories, memories, and accounts of police violence as experienced or observed by Cleveland citizens. In addition to those responsibilities, Jarrett serves on the advisory boards of Documenting the Now: Supporting Scholarly Use and Preservation of Social Media Content and The Eugenic Rubicon: California’s Sterilization Stories.

Outside of archives, Jarrett is a humanities instructor in the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ-STEP) Consortium through the Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative, teaching preparatory and introductory college composition. He also is a member of the 2016 cohort of the Mandela Dialogues on Memory Work, a program organized by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Global Leadership Academy that convenes an international dialogue series for thought leaders and change agents in the field of memory work. Jarrett earned a B.A. in history from Yale College and an M.S.I. from the University of Michigan School of Information. His prior work experience includes the University of Michigan Special Collections Library, the Bentley Historical Library, and the Maryland State Archives.

Michael Wynne, Washington State University

Michael Wynne is the Digital Applications Librarian at Washington State University, where he provides support and training for Mukurtu CMS, and helps run community-oriented digitization and digital preservation workshops. Michael is a recent graduate from the iSchool@UBC, where he completed the First Nations Curriculum Concentration, and worked as a student librarian at Xwi7xwa Library.