International Centre of Digital Equity, Rights and Social Justice for Marginalised Communities and Displaced Peoples

Sunday 7 July 2019
10am – 3pm

Participation in this event is free of charge. Please register to participate when you register online for AERI.

Rapid advances in technologies and systems can further disenfranchise those living at the margins of society, thus leading to further dispossession and inequalities for marginalised and displaced peoples. InterCeDEq will provide the overarching infrastructure to bring together a partnership of researchers at different universities (initially Monash, UCLA, UCL, Manitoba and Toronto), civil society organisations and community members to address the problem of digital equity for human rights and social justice for marginalised communities and displaced peoples. Foundations for the Centre lie in existing research projects focusing on refugees and displaced peoples (UCLA and University of Liverpool); Indigenous communities (University of Manitoba, Monash University); children in out-of-home Care and Care leavers (Monash University, UCL, University of Toronto).

Its goals are to:

  • Research and advocate the lifelong, rights-based information, identity, memory, cultural heritage, evidence and accountability needs of marginalised and displaced peoples in human rights, social justice and post-conflict societies through the development of innovative, people-centred data technologies.
  • Explore how a platform of information rights could support enabling and actualizing human rights, and whether rights in and to data, information and records should themselves be recognized as fundamental human rights.
  • Empower communities through innovative, people-centred, culturally appropriate data technologies.
  • Co-design trauma-informed data, information and records frameworks, reference models, infrastructures, systems and technologies embedding people-centred values and principles.
  • Investigate ways in which smart and secure information technologies may be designed to enable exercise of data sovereignties and rights in data, information and records, and provide crucial underpinning for the actualisation of human rights.
  • Develop equitable, transparent, accountable governance frameworks for data, information, recordkeeping and the deployment of AI, cybersecurity and optimisation technologies to support human rights, social justice and digital sovereignty.
  • Research cultural dimensions of complex trans-national information ecologies in human rights, social justice and post-conflict societies, including translation strategies to mitigate against language colonisation.

InterCeDEq outcomes will include:

  • New knowledge regarding ethical, rights-based, and trauma-informed design methods for information systems that will support disempowered groups by addressing digital inequities, biases, and insensitivities
  • Models of complex information ecologies that support lifelong rights-based information, identity, memory, cultural heritage, evidence and accountability needs
  • Co-designed and person centric applications of modern and emerging technologies
  • Adaptive interoperability frameworks incorporating policies, protocols, and tools to support digital equity, sovereignty, and rights negotiation
  • Innovative uses of data and recordkeeping analytics that employ smart content and context analysis and information visualisation in interfaces and system interactions
  • Governance, accountability, monitoring, and auditing requirements for data, information, recordkeeping and deployment of technologies in participatory approaches to creating, managing and sharing data, information and records and co-designing systems.


AERI Workshops

These workshops are part of the AERI programme. They do not require separate registration. Spaces may be limited and participation will be on a first come, first served basis.

Monday 8 July

Linked Data and Archives: AIntroductory Workshop 

Facilitator: Seth Van Hooland

Seminar Room 4

10:45 – 14:45

Interest and enthusiasm for the Linked Data paradigm has slowly but steadily been rising within the archival community. Several projects developped standards and implementation guidelines to express the semantics of archival finding aids in a structured manner on the Web. These initiatives range from the ambitious Records-in-Context (RiC) ontology development under the auspices of the International Council on Archives (ICA) to the more pragmatic stance adopted by the Architypes Community Group under the umbrella. However, apart from small-scale experimental projects, there are still few actual implementations from the archival community which demonstrate the added-value of the Linked Data paradigm. As a researcher, how do you position yourself within this context and how may Linked Data help you to look at traditional finding aids in a different manner?

This half-day pedagogical workshop helps to clarify the possibilities but also the limits and dangers of RDF, the data model which underlines the Linked Data paradigm. Through a historical overview of how tabular data, relational databases and XML, archival researchers will come to understand the reason why RDF was developed. For example, a platform such as Wikidata can potentially be very effective to manage authority files in a decentralised manner. In combination with machine learning techniques such as topic modeling, Linked Data offers new possibilities to automatically extract concepts from large scale digitised archival holdings, which typically have little to no existing metadata apart from their provenance. However, automating concept extraction and the usage of statistical approaches for what is called “probabilistic cataloging” also holds tremendous challenges in regards to data quality.

Once participants master the concepts of the different data models, a short hands-on exercice with the help of OpenRefine is organised. Based on a small testing corpus, participants will have the possibility to experiment with named-entity extraction and the reconciliation of person and place names with authority files such as Wikidata and Geonames.

Publishing: Presents and Futures

Facilitators: Jeannette Bastian, Jenny Bunn and Joanne Evans

Seminar Room 6

13:15 – 16:30

The first part of this workshop will focus on publishing presents. On writing, reviewing and editing in a variety of different publication venues and formats, (i.e. single-author journal articles, collaborative articles, single-author books, edited collections, book chapters, special journal issues, book reviews). Participants will analyze submission, reviewing and publication processes and discuss issues including submitting journal articles, determining which journal to submit to, navigating the peer review process, writing and submitting book proposals, editing books, and the publication process itself. Following on from this the workshop will look towards publishing futures. Reflection will be prompted on the unwritten norms that exist around the methods of making, and criteria of judging, contributions to the archival corpus. This debate is particularly pertinent given the radical changes currently being experienced by traditional publishing models (open access, open peer review) and the archival field’s increasing consciousness of the self-reinforcing power within many seemingly natural systems. Are we, as a field, perpetuating a system we no longer believe in? Have we reached a critical mass or maturity to be able to unilaterally take steps to disrupt those aspects of it we find problematic? And, if so, how?

Tuesday 9 July

Workshopping the Intersection of Community Archives and Ethnic Studies 

Facilitators: Jimmy Zavala, Audra Eagle Yun, Krystal Tribbett and Thuy Vo Dang

Seminar Room 5

10:30 – 14:30

“Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries” is a research project that explores two key interventions in the library/archives professions. The first intervention is to create and evaluate the impact of dialogue between community archives practice and ethnic studies theory and grassroots efforts to represent marginalized histories. The second is to explore the ways in which ethnic studies students can address the silences and historical erasures prevalent in the archival record by enlisting them as records creators. To examine these, the research team is introducing undergraduate students enrolled in ethnic studies classes to community archives concepts through in-class workshops. Ethnic studies and community archives empower individuals and communities by directly engaging them in critical analysis (in the case of ethnic studies) or the creation and distribution (in the case of community archives) of their own knowledge and information.

This workshop will demonstrate the intersection between ethnic studies theory and community archives practice through primary source instruction. The workshop will begin with the research team’s articulation of the intersection of ethnic studies theory and community archives practice. Following a discussion of these ideas, participants will engage in two activities.

For the first activity, participants will be paired and asked to interrogate a primary source. We ask the participants to consider such questions as:

1. What can you infer about the community(ies) in which the author is a member based on the primary source?
2. Who wrote or made this primary source? What are some things you can infer about the person based on the object?

For the second activity, participants will reflect on where they might see themselves in the historical record and in archives. Drawing from Michelle Caswell’s work, we ask them to describe what history in the archives would help them say “I belong here.” Participants are asked to think about the communities with which they identify and answer questions like:

1. What experiences might be missing from archives?
2. What might these archives tell us about their communities?
3. What’s the impact of not seeing your family or your community in the historical record?

Participants will be able to articulate how ethnic studies and community archives principles intersect; gain ideas for ethnic studies/community archives workshop design; list some challenges and advantages of embedding community archives principles into ethnic studies curriculum; and learn about pedagogical collaboration with ethnic studies faculty and building community partnerships.

Following the workshop exercises and discussion, we seek critical responses from participants at all levels of archival education on the viability and scalability of this approach. Our purpose is to think critically and strategically about diversifying archives and the archival profession. At AERI, we seek to engage with archival educators in considering the intervention of ethnic studies praxis into the archives field. In doing so, this workshop pursues inclusivity, diversity, and the potential to transform libraries and archives.

Weapon of Math Destruction: Implementing Machine Learning for Archivists in Research and Practice 

Facilitators: Jonathan Dorey and Jennifer Stevenson

Seminar Room 6

10:30 – 14:30

We see machine learning as a way to complement and augment the work done by professional archivists in order to gain greater control on large-sized collections. This is another tool to provide more (and better) descriptions to collections that are too large to tackle using traditional descriptive practices and not a tool to replace current ways of working. “Machine learning” and “big data” are two phrases that are often put on a pedestal and are sometimes considered too technical or scary to approach or implement in an archival setting. However, we would like to gather empirical data about these assertions. Our study aims to break down these two concepts of machine learning and big data by focusing on tasks that archivists can understand to incorporate a machine learning program in their archive. These tasks would include evaluating machine learning projects, understanding common algorithms, differentiating between supervised and unsupervised learning, and addressing metadata generation for both training and evaluation purposes.

This session will include elements of education, research, and professional practice. More specifically as part of our session, we will first introduce and define machine learning concepts and their applicability to an archival setting. We will also address how to best present this to students and professionals (this falls under the education component). We will then present the preliminary results of a survey of archivists regarding their awareness and knowledge of machine learning in the context of archival education, research, and practice (this falls under the research component). And finally, session participants will be introduced to TensorFlow (a machine learning framework) in the form of a tutorial. This tutorial will combine a demonstration and “hands-on” activities for participants where they will be able to test machine learning using their own supplied material (this falls under the professional practice component).

Wednesday 10 July

Encountering Digital Representations and Implications for Archival Practice, Education and Research 

Facilitator: Cal Lee

Room: To be confirmed.

9:30 – 14:30

Digital materials exist at multiple levels of representation. These are not just levels in the functional hierarchy of records but also levels of representation. Digital records can be considered and encountered at levels ranging from aggregations of records down to bits as physically inscribed on a storage medium; each level of representation can provide distinct contributions to the information and evidential value of records. There is a substantial body of information within the underlying data structures of computer systems that can often be discovered or recovered, revealing new types of records or essential metadata associated with existing record types. The multiple representation levels of digital materials have significant implications for all archival functions.

The full-day hands-on workshop will illustrate a variety of digital representations through the use of open-source digital forensics, natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning software. Participants will use the software to demonstrate a variety of concepts. This will serve as the foundation for group discussions around implications for (1) archival practice around specific functions including appraisal, arrangement, description and preservation, (2) archival education, and (3) archival science research.

Thursday 11 July

Developing a Computational Curriculum Framework for Archival Education

Facilitators: Jenny Bunn, Mark Hedges and Richard Marciano

Seminar Room 2

10:30 – 14:30

This half-day curriculum development workshop will act as a forum for sharing emerging practice and developing curricula for what has recently been labelled Computational Archival Science.

The understanding that the discipline and practice of archival science requires reinvention in the light of digital technologies is not new, and there have been numerous initiatives and developments to address this. In the UK context, we have seen the launch of new Master’s level programmes in digital curation and digital asset management, and technical traineeships organised by The National Archives. In cultural heritage institutions, the concept of ‘collections as data’ has emerged, where computational methods and tools are leveraged to work with archival (and other) collections. More broadly, the challenges for practitioners and researchers who work with archival collections, and the enhanced possibilities for scholarship through the application of computational methods and tools to the archival problem space, as well as, more fundamentally, through the integration of ‘computational thinking’ with ‘archival thinking’, have led to the identification of Computational Archival Science as a new, transdisciplinary field of study, concerned with the application of computational methods and resources to large-scale records/archives processing, analysis, storage, and access, with aim of improving efficiency, productivity and precision, in support of recordkeeping, appraisal, arrangement and description, preservation and access decisions, and engaging and undertaking research with archival material (e.g. Marciano et al., 2018).

The aim of this workshop is to bring together people either involved in or with an interest in these developments, in order to reflect on what has been achieved so far, to share emerging practice, and to consider how the work of developing curricula (whether undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD) centred on computational treatments of archival collections might best be taken forward. In particular, the workshop aims to
identify some of the building blocks for curricula designed to prepare the next generation of archivists (and information professionals more broadly) to meet the evolving needs of working with digital collections.

Marciano, R., et al. (2018). Archival records and training in the Age of Big Data. In J. Percell , L. C. Sarin , P. T. Jaeger , J. C. Bertot (Eds.), Re-Envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education (Advances in Librarianship, Volume 44B, pp.179-199). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Imagining a Human Rights Digital Archives Network as a Political Shield

Facilitator: Itza Carbajal

Seminar Room 4

10:30 – 14:30

For the past three decades, the archival field has witnessed an increase in post-custodial or noncustodial transnational partnerships focused on preserving and producing digital copies of historic records many documenting turbulent periods in history. Many of these cases demonstrate how cultural heritage and education institutions in the United States and abroad have taken on the role of digital and political stewards of many contemporary and hotly contested records and stories. As a result of these digitization projects, digital archival copies most of which derive from unique physical holdings end up scattered across distance. Over the years as these approaches gained a foothold in archival circles many have touted these practices as preventive measures against physical and even political threats. Now ongoing controversies on destabilization of cultural heritage institutions working with Human Rights collections and attempted efforts at undermining the roles of many memory institutions highlight the urgency of these discussions. Information workers such as archivists, their institutions and networks can provide the necessary support and resources to alleviate some of these threats.

During this “think tank” workshop participants will engage with policy driven questions around the idea of peer to peer interlinked preservation networks for human rights records. Dialogue will center questions including the role of local, national, or international entities, the implications of technological approaches to information distribution, methods to identify areas of urgency, as well as the challenges of pursuing shared digital stewardship among various stakeholders. This session would serve as the first opportunity to take a deep dive into how distributed information networks combined with a post-custodial approach may add a layer of protection for both preservation and political instabilities. Participants should leave new ideas, possible next steps, potential collaborators, as well as an understanding of the political and technical requirements and outcomes of this sort of work.

Family Archives, Community Archives: History, Archival Science, Anthropology

Facilitators: Maria De Lurdes Rosa, Rita Novoa, Margarida Leme, Filipa Lopes, Alice Gago, Judit Gutierrez de Armas, Fabio, Duarte, Pedro Reis, Maria Joao Sousa, Margarida Lobato, Joana Ribeiro Ricardo Mingorance

Seminar Room 6

10:30 – 14:30

This is a methodological workshop on the work developed by ARCHIFAM – a group of professors, Post-doc researchers, Ph.D. and M.A. students based in FCSH.NOVA (Lisbon), working in family archives since 2009. The team aiming at going to AERI gathers 12 persons, all working and pursuing research/ academic formation on the subject, at various levels. The workshop will be organized according to four different perspectives:

-The history of premodern family archives and the institutional history of their producers (Rita Nóvoa, Margarida Leme, Judit Gutierrez, Fábio Duarte, Pedro Reis)

-Archival questions on premodern family archives: arrangement, classification, description (Maria de Lurdes Rosa, Alice Gago)

-Cultural outreach: heritage institutions and foundations in Portugal caring for family archives (Ricardo Wingorance, Joana Ribeiro)

-Family archives as living community archives: anthropological enquiries on the voices of today’s private owners (Filipa Lopes, Maria João Sousa, Margarida Lobato)

The workshop will be a mixture of research presentation, learning (specially for M.A. students) and debating experiences.

The workshop will also present the recent ERC Consolidator Grant project VINCULUM, directed by Maria de Lurdes Rosa, the group leader, which has a strong component of archives’s history and theory.