For Phase 2 of its Culturally Competent Description Education Campaign, the Rockefeller Archive Center organized a series of reading group discussions to explore how to implement workflows and policies for creating more inclusive archival description, how to make histories that have been marginalized more discoverable, and how to recognize and combat white supremacy culture in our practices. Lessons learned from organizing and facilitating conversations about culturally competent description during the first phase of the Education Campaign influenced how Amy Berish, Katie Martin, and I approached developing the reading group sessions while increased collaboration and knowledge sharing with our colleagues expanded and invigorated the substance and scope of each discussion. The sessions’ escalating focus on the collections and practices of the RAC have made the path towards action more tangible.
Over the course of the last few years, the Digital Strategies team has built and implemented a ton of new applications, many of which use technologies that we hadn’t used before. We’ve considerably leveled up in our development chops and technical capacity, while also strengthened our partnership with our IT team in the process. Still, there’s no denying that having a whole bunch of applications to maintain adds a different dimension and stress to our work.
As a result, our current efforts are primarily driven by the desire to be better and more responsible maintainers. This requires us to work simultaneously across areas of infrastructure, applications, processes, and people.
I began my work as a Fellow with the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in late May of this year, for a 10-week termed position. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hands-on work that I would have undertaken had to be altered to best accommodate an offsite remote Fellowship. Thus, my work turned towards research. One of my projects involved investigating potential tools and systems for preserving the RAC’s digitized audiovisual files in Archivematica, the RAC’s current digital preservation system. Along with this research I would also be including recommendations for future preservation practices and/or decisions.
I began my work as a Fellow with the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in late May of this year, for a 10-week termed position. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hands-on work that I would have undertaken had to be altered to best accommodate an offsite remote Fellowship. Thus, my work turned towards research. One of these projects involved various avenues of research and investigation into culturally competent description (CCD) and how it can be utilized to better reflect the content and represent the recorded cultures in the RAC’s audiovisual (AV) collections.
As Hannah wrote back in February,
the new DIMES we’ve just released is more than one system; it could more accurately
be described as a system of systems. One of those pieces is the
which facilitates requests for records, either onsite in our reading rooms, via
digitization processes, or by downloading or emailing citations. This post
describes that system in more detail, including the motivation behind it, the
process by which it was developed, and our future plans.