RECOMMENDED: Trans-ing History on the Web: The Digital Transgender Archive

In a post on AHA Today, Sadie Bergen (American Historical Association) discusses the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA) with K.J. Rawson (College of the Holy Cross, DTA). The DTA was established to enable researchers to locate and make use of transgender-related materials in digital and physical collections.

The DTA, which continues to grow, currently contains some 1,400 items, ranging in genre from community newsletters and conference programs to periodicals like Drag and Cross Talk. There are even collections of personal photographs, like the collection of Phyllis Frye, the nation’s first transgender judge, which depicts her life’s journey from an Eagle Scout to a trans-rights activist.

Materials on the DTA are organized into collections; some hosted and digitized by the Holy Cross DTA team and others by institutions like Harvard’s Schlesinger Library or the GLBT Historical Society. Building a coherent site from so many different collections posed particular challenges to Rawson and his team. As Rawson explained via e-mail, “One of the biggest challenges has been bringing the various metadata formats and schema into a single schema within our system.” No matter where it originates, the DTA applies its own metadata to each item, making it easy to navigate the entire site using terms that describe an item’s topic, genre, subject, and location of origin.

Librarians, archivists, and other information professionals will appreciate the attention to the complexity of metadata involved in the DTA project and Rawson’s experience in designing an inclusive and ethically-minded digital resource.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Camille Cooper, Elizabeth Gibes, Stephen Lingrell, Jason T Mickel, and Kristen Totleben (Editors-at-large for the week), Patrick Williams (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), and Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Caro Pinto and Roxanne Shirazi (dh+lib Review Editors).