Papers Panel: Converging Collections: Collaboration and Absence in Special Collections
Sponsored by Iowa State University Library
With systematic and strategic digitization efforts, digital humanities initiatives, and digital aggregations reshaping how libraries and archives make special collections and archival materials discoverable, the impact of convergent collections is greater than ever.
Efforts such as Umbra Search African American History, the University of Maryland’s African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative, and the Amistad Research Center’s work on community collecting and outreach are each working, alongside others, to grow and diversify the network of cultural heritage professionals, scholars, collections, and communities that support Black digital scholarship. And yet, in the act of bringing together disparate materials, disciplinary approaches, communities of collection creators and users, and technologies, the inevitable gaps and absent narratives in our collections are laid bare.
This panel presents critical questions raised by the work of Umbra Search, AADHum, and the Amistad Research Center including:
How archival/special collections practices around ownership and post-custodial model affect community collections;
How digitization and community outreach and programming attempt to address absences in our collections;
How large scale initiatives such as AADHum approach integrating Black cultural heritage materials across the digital curriculum;
How collaborative efforts are key to sustaining effective practices around collecting, discovery, and access of under-represented materials, histories, and, voices.