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Thursday, November 7 • 1:00pm - 2:10pm
Ethics and the Archives: Panel discussion on historical and contemporary issues related to online discovery and use of historical information and archives

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Over the past year the uncovering of racially charged photos in college yearbook archives has gained national attention. These incidents pushed universities and libraries to review their holdings and weigh policies on the preservation and digitization of these historical records that often contain painful and controversial content from the past.

While not every institution has nor welcomed this kind of spotlight on its archival content, as more of our institutional and cultural histories become digitized and exposed to wider audiences, how should we consider the impact such material might have?

What if the digitized content exposes painful periods of discrimination in an institution’s history? What if it can be used to promote hate, prejudice, and bigotry? What if it espouses views that are no longer held by an individual or an institution? What if the library’s stance on protection of the historical record is at odds with an individual’s right to be forgotten?

Our panel explores the value in sharing historical content and the need to consider the broader impact and context. We will discuss the complicated legacies of history including racism, sexism and radicalism preserved in archives and how digitization and access decisions are being considered as we wrestle with both the desire to preserve and provide access with the hope of changing painful elements from our past.

Jeff Moyer, Director and Founder of Reveal Digital (now a part of ITHAKA) will moderate our conversation that explores the collective and extensive experience of the panel related to digitization decisions and thoughts on balancing preservation with ethical considerations.


Rebecca Hankins, Africana Resources Librarian/Curator, Texas A&M University
Thai Jones, Herbert H. Lehman Curator for American History, Columbia University
Chelcie Juliet Rowell, Team Lead for Digital Scholarship, Tisch Library, Tufts University
Melissa S. Stoner, Native American Studies Librarian, Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley


Jeff Moyer

Director and Founder, Reveal Digital (part of ITHAKA)

avatar for Rebecca Hankins

Rebecca Hankins

Professor/Africana/W&G Studies Librarian/Archivist, Texas A&M University
Rebecca Hankins is a tenured Professor and Certified Archivist/Librarian responsible for building collections related to Africana and Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Her previous employment included 12 years as a senior archivist at The... Read More →
avatar for Melissa Stoner

Melissa Stoner

Native American Studies Librarian, University of California, Berkeley - Ethnic Studies Library
Melissa Stoner (Diné) is Native American Studies Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on emerging technologies, and the digitization practices of historical and ethnographic materials that contain culturally sensitive information.
avatar for Chelcie Juliet Rowell

Chelcie Juliet Rowell

Associate Head of Digital Collections Discovery, Harvard Library

Thai Jones

Herbert H. Lehman Curator for American History, Columbia University

Thursday November 7, 2019 1:00pm - 2:10pm EST
Citadel Green Room North, Embassy Suites Hotel 337 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA