In her recent article in Australian Feminist Studies, “Feminist Research Practices and Digital Archives,” Michelle Moravec (Rosemont College) examines the ethical considerations of putting archival materials online.
After reviewing issues that arose in conjunction with the British Library’s digitisation of the feminist magazine Spare Rib in 2013, I offer three questions researchers should consider before consulting materials in a digital archive. Have the individuals whose work appears in these materials consented to this? Whose labour was used and how is it acknowledged? What absences must be attended to among an abundance of materials? Finally, I suggest that researchers should draw on the existing body of scholarship about these issues by librarians and archivists.
Moravec’s analysis emphasizes that “feminist research commitments” must be attentive to the unexpected consequences of digitization. The article appears in a special issue of Australian Feminist Studies dedicated to “Archives and New Modes of Feminist Research.”