Organization for Transformative Works: What We Believe

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is “a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms.” Here it provides a model values statement showing how one community, rooted in a primarily female culture, views the importance of preserving its history and archive. Also useful for considering the ways that some community archives, in this case of transformative fan works, may require firm knowledge of copyright and fair use law — see the section on Legal Advocacy for more. Pairing OTW beliefs towards transformative works with readings on the privacy and intellectual property needs of other marginalized communities would be particularly fruitful, showing the complicated role of privacy and intellectual property in community archives.

Indian Arts Research Center

The Indian Arts Research Center is a division of the School for Advanced Research, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution established in 1907 to advance innovative social science and Native American art. Since 2010, the Indian Arts Research Center has “pioneered a radically participatory approach to the stewardship of its Native American art collection” through initiatives such as its Native American Artists Fellowships and extensive, no-cost programming for the Native Community. The IARC also led the development of the excellent Community + Museum and Museum + Community guidelines, created through a three-year period of collaboration between Native and non-Native museum professionals, cultural leaders and artists.

‘Chuck a Copyright on it’: Dilemmas of Digital Return and the Possibilities for Traditional Knowledge Licenses and Labels / Jane Anderson and Kimberly Christen

An in-depth look at the history and considerations behind the development of the Traditional Knowledge labels, which pairs well with an investigation in to the TK Labels themselves. “This article focuses on the creation of an innovate network of licenses and labels delivered through an accessible, educational, and informative digital platform aimed specifically at the complex intellectual property needs of Indigenous peoples, communities, and collectives wishing to manage, maintain, and preserve their digital cultural heritage. The Traditional Knowledge (TK) Licenses and Labels answer a grassroots, global call by Indigenous communities, archivists, museum specialists, and activists for an alternative to traditional copyright for the varied needs of Indigenous communities and the cultural materials they steward. Local Contexts is a project and educational website dedicated to the production of new intellectual property frameworks for Indigenous materials that depart from colonial histories of collection and Western legal frameworks.”

Anderson, Jane, and Kimberly Christen. 2013. “‘Chuck a Copyright on It’: Dilemmas of Digital Return and the Possibilities for Traditional Knowledge Licenses and Labels.” Museum Anthropology Review 7 (1–2): 105–126. https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/mar/article/view/2169.

Local Contexts: The Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels

Providing a framework for sharing cultural materials that respects the wishes of the people to whom those materials belong, the TK Labels “are a tool for Indigenous communities to add existing local protocols for access and use to recorded cultural heritage that is digitally circulating outside community contexts.” They serve as framework for developing information system facets such as user accounts, access protocols, API features, and more.

“The TK Labels offer an educative and informational strategy to help non-community users of this cultural heritage understand its importance and significance to the communities from where it derives and continues to have meaning. TK Labeling is designed to identify and clarify which material has community-specific restrictions regarding access and use. This is especially with respect to sacred and/or ceremonial material, material that has gender restrictions, seasonal conditions of use and/or materials specifically designed for outreach purposes. The TK Labels also can be used to add information that might be considered ‘missing’, including the name of the community who remains the creator or cultural custodian of the material, and how to contact the relevant family, clan or community to arrange appropriate permissions.”

 

Anderson, Jane, and Kimberly Christen. n.d. “Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels.” Local Contexts. Accessed March 2, 2018. http://localcontexts.org/tk-labels/.

June Mazer Lesbian Archives

The Archives, originally called the West Coast Lesbian Collections, was founded in Oakland California, in 1981. Six years later it was moved to Los Angeles by Connexxus Women’s Center/Centro de Mujeres. The Archives acquired its present name after the death of June Mazer, in honor of her work as a community activist and invaluable supporter of the Archives.

The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives remains the only archive on this side of the continent that is dedicated exclusively to preserving lesbian history and to guaranteeing that those who come after us will not have to believe that they “walk alone.” The Archives is committed to gathering and preserving materials by and about lesbians and feminists of all classes, ethnicities, races and experiences. Included are personal letters and scrapbooks, artwork, manuscripts, books, records, newspapers, magazines, photographs, videotapes, flyers, papers of lesbian and feminist organizations, private papers, and even clothing, such as softball uniforms from the 1940s and 50s.

Hundreds of lesbians and feminists have been inspired to donate artifacts of their personal and collective histories. The Archives encourages all lesbians to deposit the everyday mementos of your lives so that others can discover them in the future. The privacy of any donor is protected to whatever extent she desires.

In 1989, the archives earned 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and received donated space from the city of West Hollywood, where it remains today. The mission of the Mazer Archives is to collect, preserve and make accessible lesbian, feminist and women’s queer history as a means of providing a link among all generations of lesbians; to develop social activities, educational events, opportunities and programs that promote historical awareness; and to provide research and resource facilities.

The all-volunteer staff of the Mazer Archives not only keeps the doors open, but also helps to make lesbian communities and others aware of our history through speaking engagements, the Archives’ newsletter, In The Life, (no longer in publication), and special programs and exhibits.

WITNESS: See It, Film It, Change It

WITNESS identifies critical situations and teach those affected by them the basics of video production, safe and ethical filming techniques, and advocacy strategies, making it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. Includes guides for activists to archive their work and training materials for activists working in the field.

Native America’s twenty-first-century right to know / Allison Boucher Krebs

More than 30 years ago, in October of 1978, Standing Rock Sioux scholar Vine Deloria Jr. prepared a paper for The White House Pre-conference on Indian Library and Information Services On or Near Reservations titled “The Right to Know.” In his paper, Deloria establishes the United States Federal government’s treaty responsibility for Indian Country’s:

…need to know; to know the past, to know the traditional alternatives advocated by their ancestors, to know the specific experiences of their communities, and to know about the world that surrounds them (Deloria 1978, p. 13)

Deloria called for “direct funding from the federal government to tribes for library, information and archival services…[specifying that] every effort should be made in joint planning to transmit the major bulk of records dealing with tribal histories to modern and adequate facilities on reservations” (p. 13). Deloria warned us that “Authorizing the development of libraries, archives, and information centers and dividing existing federal records among these groups will require sophisticated and intelligent planning by the persons concerned” (p. 15).

One decade into the twenty-first century, this paper analyzes two catalytic initiatives relating to this Indigenous “right to know” funded—at least partially—by the US Federal government:

* Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Grants to Indian Tribes
* Fourth Museum of the National Museum of the American Indian.

It places these initiatives within the broader Indigenous knowledge ecology.

Krebs, Allison Boucher. 2012. “Native America’s Twenty-First-Century Right to Know.” Archival Science 12 (2): 173–90. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10502-011-9161-2.

From Custody to Collaboration: The Post-Custodial Archival Model at the University of Texas Libraries / Kent Norsworthy and T-Kay Sangwand

Despite living in an age of ubiquitous access to digital information, scholars still struggle to access both the physical and digital primary sources needed for research and teaching. This can be due to limited access to physical primary sources (i.e. cultural heritage materials located in another country), lack of resources to make analog primary sources digitally accessible (i.e. limited funds and staff for digitization), or lack of a concerted effort to collect born digital materials (i.e. no clear institutional mandate). The inaction around preservation and access can result in the loss of the materials themselves, for example to obscurity and obsolescence, as well as an impoverished historical record. In order to confront these threats while simultaneously supporting scholarly research at The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas Libraries has adopted a post-custodial archive model to address the collection, preservation, and access challenges for digitized and born digital archival materials. This approach also allows us to secure valuable scholarly resources for The University of Texas at Austin and the global community and to foster deep collaborative relationships with campus faculty and academic units as well as with our partners around the globe, all in close alignment with the strategic priorities of the Libraries and the University. This presentation will explore the background and rationale that underlies the post-custodial archive model and how this model has been implemented through digital projects such as the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive, Primeros Libros de las Américas, and the Human Rights Documentation Initiative. We will discuss these initiatives as part of broader efforts to redefine the role and identity of the research library as a central component of teaching, scholarship, and resource to 21st century learners, and as an exemplary activity of the University’s commitment to “scholarship and education that advances the social good.”

Norsworthy, Kent, and T-Kay Sangwand. 2013. “From Custody to Collaboration: The Post-Custodial Archival Model at the University of Texas Libraries.” In . Austin, TX. https://tdl-ir.tdl.org/handle/2249.1/66973.

Power to the People: Documenting Police Violence in Cleveland / Stacey Williams and Jarrett Drake

Archivists have long recognized the inherent historical and social mandate in preserving stories of those who endured violence at the hands of the state. Examples of this responsibility include archivists who recorded public tribunals in post-apartheid South Africa, documented stories of Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during World War II, and acquired collections of 1960s civil rights activists who experienced military intervention while fighting to end segregation. These endeavors align with the historian Howard Zinn’s call for archivists to “compile a whole new world of documentary material” about the lived experiences of marginalized populations and communities. Drawing upon Zinn’s charge as well as scholarly literature around community archives, social justice, and human rights, this article describes the joint effort of community organizers and professional archivists who collaborated to establish a community archive for victims of police violence in Cleveland, Ohio. The archive, A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland, provides a sustainable, autonomous means for Cleveland residents to share their first-hand accounts of police violence in the region. The authors will narrate the archive’s conception and development as well as advance the archive as a post-custodial model for other grassroots organizations protesting various forms of state violence.

Williams, Stacie M, and Jarrett M Drake. 2017. “Power to the People: Documenting Police Violence in Cleveland.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 2. http://libraryjuicepress.com/journals/index.php/jclis/article/view/33.