Creating Lightweight Digital Archives from Scratch: Data Curation and Publication for Access- 2020

Lea Library with students seated around a table in a room filled with old books and sculpted busts

This year, Price Lab’s week-long digital humanities training institute Dream Lab was canceled due to safety concerns around COVID-19. We created this series of podcasts not as a replacement, but rather to introduce you to some of the people who make Dream Lab such a great experience!

Archive in a backpack

Course Description:
Family records are rich historical sources. They document a multitude of stories; the individual stories of parents, siblings and friends AND the collective stories of a community and its institutions. These photographs, documents, event ephemera, and home movies warrant preservation and require access to digitization technology and expertise to properly ensure that they are sustained for future generations. This Community Data Curation course will be geared toward developing the skills needed to foster empowered community partnerships, lead community-directed digital projects, curate and archive historic community material using static digital platforms. Together, we will investigate issues such as platform choice, cost, sustainability, technical knowledge requirements, community control, and purpose, and theorize techniques to developing equitable partnerships with community partners. Participants can expect to learn strategies for partnership development, collaborative workflows, and will engage in robust discussion about ethics in the archive. They can expect to get hands-on experience using web-platform tools such as Jekyll and Wax (Minimal Computing). This course is designed for graduate students, librarians, and community members, and will provide practical advice about the preservation and sharing of historic community records.

Dr. Jennifer Garcon is the CLIR Bollinger Fellow in Public and Community Data Curation at the University of Pennsylvania, where she facilitates archiving and preservation initiatives geared toward protecting and safeguarding vulnerable data. This includes, but is not limited to, state produced climate and environmental data and historic data in communities experiencing gentrification. She is also a research associate for the Library of Congress’s Radio Preservation Taskforce, an initiative to develop comprehensive national preservation of sound recordings. She was previously an archives assistant for the Radio Haiti Archives at Duke University, and the Assistant Curator of Permanent Exhibits at HistoryMiami Museum (a Smithsonian affiliate in Miami, FL). Garcon received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Miami, where her research focused on radio politics and grassroots anti-government movement in the Cold War Caribbean.