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Working with non-traditional partners on digitization initiatives can be full of challenges. Community partners may not have cataloging or metadata experience, they may lack funds for equipment or software necessary for digitization, they may be short staffed, and for a multitude of reasons getting buy-in for digitization projects may be difficult. As academic libraries, we often see our roles as facilitators and advisors, providing expertise where needed to help achieve the community’s digitization goals. Yet, how do we ensure collaborative efforts are beneficial for all parties? How do we ensure everyone has a seat at the table while balancing the technical workflows required in creating digital collections?

Building on the concept of “radical collaboration” introduced by Nancy McGovern, director of Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries, this presentation frames a discussion around strategies for implementing inclusivity in community partnerships. This presentation also provides examples from several academic and cultural heritage organizations demonstrating successful digital collections initiatives with non-traditional and historically marginalized communities, where mindful collaboration is essential.

Originally Presented or Published at:

DPLAfest 2019


This presentation was shared at the DPLAfest 2019 Conference as the first half of an hour-long collaborative session with Krystal Thomas of Florida State University. The theme of the conference was Future Shapers, Culture Makers, with a call for proposals “that showcase projects, ideas, and solutions designed to help the field meet the technological, social, and civic demands of the 21st century and that highlight the critical role of libraries—and the DPLA network—in shaping the future of access to digital knowledge.”