Post-Custodial Praxis at LLILAS Benson: Lessons in Digitization, Access, and Community Partnerships
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LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies & Collections works in partnership with archival organizations and community partners in Latin America to digitally preserve underrepresented histories and human rights documentation. By adopting a post-custodial archival model, we can support goals of digital preservation and access without physically removing collection materials from communities that use and identify with them. This panel will bring together archivists, partners, students, and scholars to share best practices, workflows, and lessons learned from a diverse array of post-custodial projects. The goal of the partnership between LLILAS Benson and community organizations is to empower communities that have been historically underrepresented in cultural heritages institutions.Through active involvement in designing and implementing these projects, partners gain greater control over how their materials are preserved, represented, and described. Furthermore, the integration of archivists, scholars, and technical staff expands opportunities for mutual learning and collaborative work, resulting in more nuanced collection development and scholarly outputs that will make a larger impact in a variety of disciplines, as well as supporting the missions of partner institutions. Finally, bringing these materials together in a shared repository space allows the collections, histories, and experiences to speak to each other across geographic and linguistic barriers, and highlight shared experiences. All this is accomplished without removing the physical materials from their place of origin. Panelists each represent different experiences and roles related to the endeavor of post-custodial archival development. Digital Processing Archivist David Bliss will open the panel by providing background on LLILAS Benson s model of post-custodial archiving, and discussing the development of our digitization workflows. Itza Carbajal, LLILAS Benson s Latin American Metadata Librarian, will elaborate on the significance of partnerships within LLILAS Benson s post-custodial framework, and discuss our metadata processes and challenges. Jane Field from the Texas After Violence Project will share their work to document the effects of interpersonal and state violence on individuals, families, and communities, and their experiences as an early partner of LLILAS Benson. Matthew Butler, faculty member in UT s Department of History, will share how the digitization of a collection documenting the privatization of indigenous lands in 19th century Mexico will enrich scholarship and local understanding of a pivotal era in Mexican history. Finally, PhD candidate Eddie Shore will discuss a new community partnership in Brazil to preserve the history of a Quilombola community as they face increasing external threats.