Melissa Rakshana Steiner deposited Resisting digital archive fever: a critical investigation into the management of QTIPOC cultural heritage in the digital environment in the group CityLIS on Humanities Commons 6 years, 5 months ago
Tools of digital information management are being used to preserve and make accessible the cultural heritage of marginalised groups traditionally excluded from mainstream cultural heritage institutions, such as LGBTQ and communities of colour. Alongside the explosion of digital collections, critics are now questioning the extent to which these technologies are being employed to challenge the perpetuation of oppressive traditional archival practices based on dominant archival epistemologies. Recent examples of the inappropriate use of digital information technologies with collections sourced from marginalised communities have seen the structural inequalities experienced by LGBTQ and people of colour intersecting with ethical and legal issues produced within the digital environment. This study investigates discourses relating to this intersection through analysis of online documentation and interviews with five London-based archivists, para-archivists and LIS professionals from the British Library, the Bishopsgate Institute, the National Archives, the London Metropolitan Archives and the rukus! archive. Particular attention is paid to queer, trans and intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) collections and the impact of intersectionality on information practices. Critical discourse analysis combined with a queer of colour critique was used to construct a range of themes from the texts, which include relationships between cultural heritage institutions with community groups; the interplay between ethics and the law and digital information technologies; the ephemerality of the QTIPOC archive; and strategies of control that can be employed by QTIPOC communities over their own cultural heritage. Many of these themes were salient for a number of the institutions involved in the study, and as such, they may provide a basis for future research which could contribute to ethical guidance for cultural heritage institutions working with QTIPOC collections in the digital environment.