Week 3. Earhart Q7: Centralization of Digital Resources?
  • The internet can be perceived as an immense warehouse of information in particular digitised texts of and by diverse communities. Can digitised material of and by marginalised communities be better served if they were centralised by universities and research institutions?
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  • This is an interesting question because there are pros and cons to university involvement. Obviously, the funding that a university can provide or the support necessary to get funding is a major pro for the university. On the other hand, being involved with the university could mean a lot of top-down intervention that isn't necessarily attractive. Case in point, a friend has designed a lovely Omeka site of materials from the collections at Emory - materials for which Emory owns the copyright or there's enough latitude with the copyright laws to not worry - and the library's lawyer refuses to let the site go live over copyright issue. This reminds me of @elotroalex's suggestion about #GuerillaDH, which similarly has the advantage of going it on your own but the downside of little-to-no institutional support.
  • Definitely some interesting ideas here...

    I can entirely see the cons that centralisation brings, but I suppose the flip side of this is whether the institution's authority and centrality can be used to bolster (and, in some cases of, say, unlawful infiltration/subversion) protect the marginalised material. This in turn will depend on how the authors feel about using the institutional site of authority as a legitimation strategy (ie. does this just perpetuate marginalisation by simply centralising a subset of material while preserving the centralised structure of legitimation that marginalised in the first place?)

    I tend to think that the best strategies for altering social practice are to leverage legitimation and to then use that to change from the inside, but there will be many others better placed than me to comment on whether this has worked for their projects.

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