In summer 2023, the UT Libraries invited applications from UT Austin graduate students to participate in a community symposium centered on developing thoughtful and reflective collecting and digitization practices. The symposium program aims to create a cohort of UT Austin graduate students engaged in critical reflections on collection development and digitization, and the potentialities for reparative work within both former spheres.
The goals of this symposium include reading about, discussing, and creating approaches for collection development in a digitizable environment. The latter can be described with the question: what does it mean to create or select print and electronic content in an environment in which digitization is possible and high quality; in which there is support for the applications of machine-readable text; and in which the materials are stewarded by libraries and used by patrons outside of the materials’ region of origin?
Cohort participants are encouraged to engage with existing writing (scholarly and popular) on these topics in thoughtful and critical ways, with the end goal being to create a sense of belonging to the conversation. What gets digitized and how it gets digitized are decisions that affect everyone, but most of all, marginalized communities that have been historically disadvantaged from participation in scholarship and the building of library collections (even, and especially, collections for which they are the subject). As part of this symposium, cohort participants will be trained in the basics of scanning, OCR, and outputs/applications with a material selection of their choice, so that they have insight into the hands-on processes of digitization and how to use this technology for their goals. The program’s culminating public symposium puts the cohort’s theoretical and practical experiences in conversation with a digital cultural heritage scholar and engagement with the audience in order to reach new approaches to digitized resources.
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