Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2013

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From Custody to Collaboration: The Post-Custodial Archival Model at the University of Texas Libraries
Kent Norsworthy, T-Kay Sangwand

Last modified: 2013-03-21

Abstract


Despite living in an age of ubiquitous access to digital information, scholars still struggle to access both the physical and digital primary sources needed for research and teaching. This can be due to limited access to physical primary sources (i.e. cultural heritage materials located in another country), lack of resources to make analog primary sources digitally accessible (i.e. limited funds and staff for digitization), or lack of a concerted effort to collect born digital materials (i.e. no clear institutional mandate).  The inaction around preservation and access can result in the loss of the materials themselves, for example to obscurity and obsolescence, as well as an impoverished historical record. In order to confront these threats while simultaneously supporting scholarly research at The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas Libraries has adopted a post-custodial archive model to address the collection, preservation, and access challenges for digitized and born digital archival materials. This approach also allows us to secure valuable scholarly resources for The University of Texas at Austin and the global community and to foster deep collaborative relationships with campus faculty and academic units as well as with our partners around the globe, all in close alignment with the strategic priorities of the Libraries and the University. This presentation will explore the background and rationale that underlies the post-custodial archive model and how this model has been implemented through digital projects such as the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive, Primeros Libros de las Américas, and the Human Rights Documentation Initiative. We will discuss these initiatives as part of broader efforts to redefine the role and identity of the research library as a central component of teaching, scholarship, and resource to 21st century learners, and as an exemplary activity of the University’s commitment to “scholarship and education that advances the social good.”

Keywords


non custodial archives; digital scholarship

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