CTDA should represent ALL of Connecticut, not just a select few communities.
CTDA In Context is an opportunity for building connections among content managers in the repository, our friends and colleagues across the state, the residents of Connecticut, and the larger public community. Our goal is to understand where and how power imbalances and systemic oppression affect history and preservation, especially among underrepresented communities.
We recognize the effect that power and oppression has on documenting histories, especially for marginalized communities whose presences have traditionally been minimized. CTDA In Context will encourage and support marginalized populations and affinity-based affiliated community centers, organizations, and institutions of all types in Connecticut to best preserve their histories independently. We hope to cultivate a culture that is conscious and vigilant about preventing erasure and ensure equitable preservation of history.
We are here to support Connecticut organizations, communities, and individuals to preserve their collections according to their wishes.
One of our main goals at CTDA is making participation and membership possible no matter an individual’s level of experience in preservation. CTDA In Context was created to ensure we keep this at the front of everything we do.
During the summer of 2021 we conducted a self-examination of the CTDA and an analysis of its peers in the Digital Public Library of America Hub network. This white paper presents the findings of the research team in terms of general observations on the current state of digital cultural heritage as well as a more specific analysis of the CTDA and offers a four-point action plan for the CTDA to follow in the near term.
The recommendations in the paper can be summarized in four points:
Policy: Current participation policies reinforce the hegemony of customary organizations.
Immediate Goal: Changing participation requirements may make it easier for underrepresented communities to participate. As of June 17, 2022 CTDA membership is open to any person, group, or organization that has “made a commitment to preservation and access” of their collections.
Technology: Much or our technology and many practices are inherently biased, including search algorithms to metadata systems and tools.
Immediate Goal: Ensure our technology supports multiple cultural viewpoints in intellectual structure, metadata standards and practices, search algorithms, and more.
Inclusion: It is more difficult for us to change if we remain all the same.
Immediate Goal: Investigate and learn from others how to encourage more inclusive participation in the CTDA.
Outreach: How we describe ourselves to others speaks only to those who already know what we do and how we do it.
Immediate Goal: Improve our communications to be more understandable to non-specialists and underrepresented community members.