Digital Surrogates


Digital Surrogates asks participants to learn about the process of creating digital copies of physical objects with attention to issues of representation, engagement, and meaning.

Beginning with the question “What does it mean to digitize an object?” participants will be asked to consider the responsibilities of a digitization project as it is related to paid and unpaid labor, the ethics of working with digital material, and how decisions about technical standards and platforms can facilitate or limit future use of digitized materials.

Framed via critical readings, participants will be asked to consider their learning within their own individual and institutional values and support systems.

Students in the course will participate through lectures, tours, readings, hands-on project development, and group discussion. Class events will include a tour of the University of Pennsylvania’s SCETI digitization lab, and discussions with experts from UPenn working on the digitization pipeline including photographers, cataloguers, infrastructure specialists, and front-end developers.

Specific tools and approaches covered in the class in 2023 will include: