Session 5: Access and Discoverability

October 14, 2021

9:15am-10:00am Pacific / 12:15pm-1:00pm Eastern

Virtual Reading Rooms: Remote Access in Ethical and Responsible Ways

Shelly Black, North Carolina State University; Annalise Berdini, Princeton University; Greg Cram, The New York Public Library

Virtual reading rooms provide remote, mediated access to digitized and born-digital archival materials held by cultural heritage institutions. They have the potential to widen access and provide a secure and mediated environment for using materials with copyright, privacy, or cultural protocol restrictions. The demand for remote access during the pandemic has heightened the need for virtual reading rooms. To date, much of this work is approached in silos at institutions with significant resources to hire developers and other staff to manage such systems. However, when systems are homegrown and resources are limited, how can organizations implement virtual reading rooms sustainably and equitably?

This presentation will focus on considerations for implementing virtual reading rooms as a new form of access and discovery. These include the ethical, legal, and technical implications for users, practitioners, donors, and other stakeholders. Speakers will also share their approaches to developing and iterating virtual reading rooms at their respective institutions, and discuss how cross-institutional efforts can support scalability.

COVID-19 Telling Her-Stories in Canada

Satya Miller, University of Ottawa

In fall of 2020, the University of Ottawa Library launched a small scale pilot project called COVID-19 Telling Her-Stories. The project seeks to actively collect born-digital material from women in Canada describing their varied experiences, stories, or creative expressions during the pandemic. These donations become part of our Women’s Archives in the library’s Archives and Special Collections. As throughout history women’s voices have been largely underrepresented, Yoo Young Lee, Marina Bokovay, Roxanne Lafleur and Satya Miller embarked on the creation of a website and workflow to actively seek and preserve women’s voices. In this lightning talk, I will outline the project goals and workflow to process born-digital donations and make them available to the public using tools such as Omeka, BagIt, Archivematica, Ontario Library Research Cloud, and AtoM.

BitCurator Users Forum. October 12-14, 2021. Virtual Conference. bitly/BUF2021. #BUF21. Image of USB cord