Collaboration and Networks: Benefits for Community Archives & Libraries, Archives, Museum

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017
Evanston City Hall: The Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center
2100 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201

Building on the initial Diversifying the Digital forum held in Los Angeles, California in October 2016, this forum will focus on the technological infrastructure needs of community archives. While fully connected to the communities they serve, community archives are often under-resourced and remain disconnected from innovative, well-funded, and technologically-rich digital initiatives. This forum will provide an opportunity to explore the current landscape of technology use by community archives, discuss new innovations in digital collections technology that community archives can take advantage of, and begin to develop a plan for potential implementation of effective actions that can lead to more innovative use of technology for advancing accessibility of digital collections. Topics of discussion include collection building, collections access, interoperability, outreach, and programming.

Presenters for this forum will consist of a mix of community archives practitioners, scholars and archivists, and also leading technologists in libraries and archives with expertise is digital cultural heritage.

Diversifying the Digital Historical Record is a collaborative project, partners of which include the Amistad Research Center, Mukurtu, Shorefront Legacy, South Asian American Digital Project, and the Inland Memories Project of the University of California – Riverside.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The forum will be livestreamed and we will encourage Twitter conversation using the hashtag #DDHR3. The previous forums used the hashtag #DDHR1 and #DDHR2 and the remaining forum will use the hashtag #DDHR4.

Memory and Social Transformation: The Role of Community Archives in the Information Revolution

The two most-discussed aspects of the Information Revolution have been the technological advances driven by Moore’s Law and the big data initiatives by tech companies tied to the military-industrial complex and media.  Together these have created a drop-down menu culture for consumption. The greatest danger is that when knowledge is limited to the commodification by the military-industrial complex, the persistence of memory is threatened. Without memory there is no culture. We lose the ability to connect the past to present as a way to envision and create a future.

Community Informatics in general, and community archives in particular, are a corrective response to this civilizational crisis. Agency from the base of humanity, ordinary people in their everyday lives, is crucial for any democratic society. I will reflect on this, propose theoretical principles, and anchor the discussion in practical case studies.

Abdul Alkalimat (PhD, University of Chicago) is Professor Emeritus of African American Studies and Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. He was the originator of eBlack Studies, the application of digital tools to the transformation of African American Studies.  His newest book is The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s Chicago with Rebecca Zorach and Romi Crawford (Northwestern University Press, Fall 2017).