Director of Community Engagement
Digital Public Library of America
Head, Digital Collections and Initiatives and DH Lab
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) was founded in 2013 with a mission to ensure equitable access to the nation’s cultural heritage. In 2019, DPLA developed a new strategy that emphasized our commitment to empowering institutions and communities that have been historically marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented and promoting diverse and inclusive collections and stories. As part of this work, in September 2020, DPLA launched the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection, a collaborative project that provides access to 200,000+ archival materials that help tell the story of the critical role Black women played, and continue to play, in the voting rights and civil rights movements. In order to address the inclusion of harmful language in collection metadata, the DPLA Metadata Working Group created a Harmful Language Statement to explain the work librarians and archivists must do to balance the preservation of the history of people who have experienced trauma and harm with sensitivity in how it is presented to users. In addition, in the summer of 2020, the DPLA Network Council drafted and approved a statement on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Social Justice (IDEAS) to commit DPLA contributing institutions to address “deficits in the ways our profession has documented Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, the LGBTQ community, and others whose voices have been drowned out by those with more power or organizational standing.” In this session, DPLA community manager Shaneé Yvette Murrain and former DPLA network council chair Ann Hanlon, Head, Digital Collections and Initiatives and Digital Humanities Lab at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee will discuss opportunities, challenges, and learnings encountered during the creation of the IDEAS Statement and the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection, as well as outlining next steps for DPLA and member institutions in creating more diverse and equitable collections, and anticipated challenges as this work continues.
Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection: https://www.BlackWomensSuffrage.org
IDEAS Statement: https://pro.dp.la/hubs/dpla-membership-ideas-statement
Harmful Language Statement: https://blackwomenssuffrage.dp.la/harmful-language-statement