Paper 2

2018 Washington conference submission

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The Role of Collections Curators in Setting Priorities for Digitization

Athena Jackson - The Pennsylvania State University (United States)

Abstract: As we move into this fast-paced world of digitization and international collaborations, it is vital to consider the necessary voices for making sound decisions for our online manifestation of cultural heritage. Many times, collections come into a repository with complicated histories. They were formed through many professionals' hands over time; they were selected with purposes that may not be with contemporary cultural sensitivity in mind; they were described within a framework that is problematic vis-a-vis contemporary standards; or they were added to/deaccessed from/complemented via varying decision-making protocols. To select a collection for digitization requires an awareness of this complex past that can be reinforced by those whose work focuses on continuing to effectively and creatively build these collections. This presentation is a reflection from a current head of a busy special collections who will examine past experiences and dialogues had over the past years with contemporaries regarding the role of curators/selectors/archivists in digitization prioritization and offer suggestions for successful collaborations.

Presentation type: 20 minute presentations (plus 5 mins questions)


  • IIIF and archival collections


  • curation,
  • selection,
  • prioritization,
  • provenance,
  • collaboration,
  • agency