Spencer Keralis (Director of Digital Scholarship, University of North Texas) has posted the text and slides of his presentation on the panel “New Frontiers for Research, Teaching and Learning: Digital Scholarship and Latin@ Archives/Nuevas Fuentes para Investigación, Enseñanza and Aprendizaje: Estudios Digitales y Archivos Latin@s” at the Fourth Texas Jalisco Conference in Education and Culture.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Creating Knowledge for the Common Good,” and Keralis’s talk explored the intersection of digital humanities, digital archives, and the histories of under-represented communities.
Archivists often approach these communities from a position of power and privilege, as though the archive were doing the community, or the individual a favor by taking their materials. Insisting on traditional donation contracts, in which the donor must relinquish the materials before they can be digitized, and in which the donor loses all real property ownership of the materials upon donation, can further alienate potential contributors to these archives. Archivists must learn to adapt their collection development strategies to the values and needs of the communities they are attempting to collect from, and to approach these communities in a spirit of service, not from a position of power.