"The Need for Community-Institution Collaboration in Describing Indigenous Sound Recordings"
Information Studies 212 – Values and Communities (Spring 2018)
Note: The objective of the final paper for this core class was to “survey a significant body of literature that considers questions of ethics, values, cultures, communities, and societies in relation to the information institutions, systems, and technologies of our world.” Instructions for the assignment were to “pick an example or case that you would like to briefly introduce, and examine it relative to a thesis that is systematically argued and defended relative to course readings and concepts.”
Abstract: Some of the oldest known sound recordings are housed within larger institutions versus community-based archives because of the huge financial burden that comes with proper climate and humidity control and other preservation needs of these materials. However, many of these mainstream institutions fail to accurately represent the true meaning of the content found in these recordings to the native community and the context in which they were originally recorded. This paper argues that collaboration with indigenous communities to describe sound recordings captured within these communities is a goal that cultural memory institutions need to be striving towards. In calling for the need for archival description derived from community-institution collaboration, a brief history of the role of an archivist is presented, as well as an examination of a specific case study of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center's Ancestral Voices pilot project through the lens of existing academic discourse on participatory efforts between indigenous groups and libraries, archives, and museums.
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