From April 25-26, 60 GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) practitioners and disciplinary scholars from 18 countries gathered in Vancouver at Internet Archive Canada for Collections as Data: State of The Field and Future Directions. The summit was conducted as part of the Mellon foundation supported Collections as Data: Part to Whole - an effort focused on supporting responsible computational use of gallery, library, archive, and museum collections. Participants provided a robust set of collections as data position statements and generous feedback that will inform creation of a white paper, a transformative update to the Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data, and establishment of post-summit, international collections as data efforts.
Summit Participants, Internet Archive Canada, 4/26/2023
Day 1 was dedicated to assessing the present state of collections as data work and community in an international context. In order to support that work, participants engaged in a phases of maturity exercise inspired by the People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM); assessed the transferability of collections as data models produced by Collections as Data: Part to Whole cohort teams; and documented challenges and opportunities to collections as data work specific to individual contexts (e.g., geographic, linguistic, cultural).
Day 2 was dedicated to charting the future of collections as data work and community in an international context. Participants engaged in a speculative futures exercise that partnered participants with each other in order to chart next steps to work described in participant position statements; an exercise designed to initiate a transformative update to the Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data; an exercise designed to support the creation of individual action plans; a discussion to assess mechanisms for international collections as data community collaboration moving forward; and a closing individual reflection exercise.
The project team is deeply thankful for critical contributions from summit participants, and looks forward to sharing out public drafts of a Collections as Data: State of The Field and Future Directions white paper and a revised Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data (perhaps the Vancouver Statement on Collections as Data!) for broader community feedback.
In preparation for the summit, participants submitted position statements to establish a foundational context for our collective work - summit position statements are available here. In writing these statements, participants responded to the following prompt:
We ask that you write a brief position statement (1-2 pages) derived from direct or related experience salient to the scope of work described in Collections as Data: Part to Whole (see grant narrative and sub grantee final reports). Please send to us by April 7. We strongly welcome bridging, divergence, and provocation in your position statements. Is there something concrete or conceptual we are missing? Are there questions and communities we aren’t currently considering? This is an opportunity to highlight aspects of your experience that relate to collections as data and will help stage interaction at the face-to-face meeting as we collectively consider the state of the field and future directions together. As a whole, these position statements will form a collective resource to be shared publicly with any community interested in collections as data.
A sampling of position statement titles is included below:
Against Archival Collections as Data
Michelle Caswell, UCLA
Archaeological collections and the ethical challenges in the use of digital repositories
Mercedes Okumura, Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Bridging academia’s preservation and documentation of collections and communities at large
Gabriela Baeza Ventura, US Latino Digital Humanities Center, University of Houston
Collections as Training Data?
Daniel van Strien, Hugging Face
Extracting Black Humanity, Blurring Collections into Data
Dorothy Berry, Digital Curator, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Gimena del Rio Riande, University of Buenos Aires
The neverending story: law and ethics challenges to data-driven scholarship
Timothy Vollmer, UC Berkeley Library
Sovereignty as Data? Indigenous Knowledges and Library Collections
Kayla Lar-Son, Xwi7xwa Library, University of British Columbia
Over the next 4 months the project team will work to synthesize feedback from event participants in order to draft a Collections as Data: State of The Field and Future Directions white paper and a revised Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data. We plan to work with participants to share out drafts to a broad range of communities to elicit further feedback. This is essential as the resulting work should be as representative as possible of collective work in the space. We look forward very much to engaging with you. After the community feedback cycle is complete, final deliverables will be translated into multiple languages and published openly in the Fall of 2023.
May - June 2023
- Project team drafts Collections as Data: State of the Field and Future Directions white paper + Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data
- Project team and event participants seek broad public feedback on white paper + statement
- Project team secures translation for white paper + statement into additional languages
- Project team Publish Collections as Data: State of the Field and Future Directions white paper and revised Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data