Archival theorists have emphasized the power of archives to promote social justice and empower marginalized communities. Digital archives are sometimes presented as a tool to document diasporic communities and promote broader access to information. Yet scholars have challenged the ethical implications of models which may disfranchise communities from accessing their own heritage and knowledge. This pop-up session provides a forum to debate digital inequality and archives. How can institutions share authority over the creation of digital records with communities that don't have regular access to information and communication technologies? How can archivists work ethically with communities in developing areas with limited technology infrastructure and capacity? How can we raise awareness of these issues in the profession?
As a resource for the complex discussion, we have begun compiling an annotated collaborative bibliography on Archives and Digital Inequality, available at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/15Pg7Pb9EklNxp9ZCvkSCe5QyyYq78vKXdSI4of3TFo4/edit?usp=sharing
We especially encourage reading the 2011 article by Peter Johan Lor and J.J. Britz in preparation for the session.
This pop-up session is for anyone who is interested in discussing archives, social justice, and digital inequalities. We especially hope that archivists working in public libraries will join the discussion. One goal of the pop-up session will be to discuss ways in which we can continue to address these issues within or outside the professional infrastructure provided by the SAA.
If you need access to a copy of the Lor/Britz article, please contact the session leader.