Sharing our Digital Collections Audit Project

A vintage illustration of flowers and butterflies on a blue background from the cover of sheet music

At UMKC Libraries’ Digital Collections, the development of an audit intended to drive collection development, accessibility, and the redescription of already-existing material is underway.

Aubrey Kobayashi, Digital Projects Fellow and lead for the audit, will present the project during the Digital and Public Humanities (DPH) End-of-Year Showcase on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, in the Digital Collaboration Studio on the third floor of the library. DPH Faculty Fellows and others working on DPH projects will discuss their work in a lightning round. Derek Long, Head of Marr Sound Archives, will also be presenting on Marr’s CLIR recordings at risk grant and an upcoming KCUR digitization project. 

Digital Collections shares material – both digitized and born-digital – physically held in LaBudde Special Collections, University Archives, and Marr Sound Archives, and is maintained by the Digital Projects team. The audit is made possible with a gift of $30,942 from the Herbert Vincent Jones Jr. Foundation Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

Central to the Digital Collections audit project is the redescription of materials.

“There is a history that permeates archives where there’s been a lot of momentum toward professing values of neutrality, which may very well not be intentional – but it’s often resulted in oppressive language and misleading historical narratives,” Aubrey said. “With the opportunity to research this trend in digital collections, I see the importance of maintaining description as language changes and shifts. As library and archive workers, we do not have all the answers, and we are always learning like everyone else.” 

As the funding for the project draws to a close later this year, it will conclude with a statement of what Digital Projects completed and hopes to accomplish in the spirit of maintaining more honest, accessible collections.

About Digital Humanities at the Libraries

Digital humanities is a diverse and still emerging field broadly defined as humanities research engaging in some way with information technology in addition to working with media and computational methods.

As the home of LaBudde Special Collections and University Archives and the Marr Sound Archives, the UMKC Library was a natural home for a new space to support the use of digital primary source materials and artifacts for teaching, learning, and scholarship. Opened in 2022, the Digital Collaboration Studio is a cooperative work and teaching space that features technology for high-definition viewing of digitized primary sources. It also offers an easy to use audio and video recording studio for oral histories and podcasts. The Digital Collaboration Studio will be a key work space for UMKC’s recently formed Center for Digital and Public Humanities.

By: Aubrey Kobayashi and Dani Wellemeyer

Aubrey (fae/she) is a current library science graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh’s (UPitt) College of Computing and Information and holds a Bachelors in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s (UF) College of Journalism. In her program,  her research revolves around archives and digital culture and labor. Fae lives on occupied Haudenosaunee, Lenape, Osage, and Shawnee land.

Image: The cover of a piece of sheet music titled “The Butterfly: intermezzo, op. 47” from our Digital Collections. The illustration shows butterflies around a stand of hollyhocks. Kansas City Sheet Music Collection, LaBudde Special Collections.

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