Design for Diversity: Towards More Inclusive Information Systems

Most current systems for the acquisition, housing, and care of cultural objects reflect existing structures of oppression. Typically, digital technology further perpetuates these power differentials. Furthermore, as library, archive, and museum practitioners seek to increase digital access to the history of disenfranchised and marginalized communities, they engage with communities that have been at best ignored by cultural heritage fields, and more likely actively harmed.

Providing access to the history of marginalized communities foremost requires genuine, responsive partnership. Our technical systems and workflows (processing, digitization, metadata, web design) must be equally responsive, but they often aren’t. This problem is not new or unknown – what are the barriers to change?

This talk presents resources from Design for Diversity, an IMLS-funded project exploring strategies for the development of more inclusive information systems in libraries, archives, and museums. We explored two main points of impact: the education of new practitioners, and opportunities for change in the workplace. We collected case studies and study paths, created specifically for the Design for Diversity project, with additional pointers to exemplary readings and projects in our online Toolkit. Through this Toolkit, we explore key moments where practitioners can make decisions that lead to more inclusive information systems.


1:30 PM
20 minutes