Spring 2024

I 320C Topics in Cultural Heritage Informatics: Preservation of Difficult Histories

Unique ID: 27440


09:30 AM - 11:00 AM  SZB 5.414

*Final exam activity for this class will take place in the regularly-scheduled classroom on Saturday, May 4 3:30pm-5:30pm.

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In Person


Engage in modern ethical dilemmas within archives, libraries, and museums, considering issues of collections management and preservation within changing cultural frameworks. This I 320C topic carries the Cultural Diversity in the United States flag. The purpose of the Cultural Diversity in the United States Flag is for students to explore in-depth the shared practices and beliefs of one or more underrepresented cultural groups subject to persistent marginalization. In addition to learning about these diverse groups in relation to their specific contexts, you’ll also reflect on your own cultural experiences.


Memory institutions, like archives, libraries, and museums, share a common goal of preserving the cultural record. Through their professional codes of ethics, practitioners in these allied fields establish ideals and standards of practice in creating and maintaining collections. But history is not static; it is subject to periodic reevaluations of the people, stories, and interpretations it includes. How do collecting and preservation ethics accommodate these changes? Students in this course will first examine established ethics, and then engage with current debates in collections management, preservation, and conservation. Case studies highlight how ethical tenets inform practices like post-custodial archiving, repatriation, and human-centered conservation. Special emphasis will be placed on physical materials, ideal states, and the management of change over time. Structured dialogue exercises will be used throughout the course to provide rules-based platforms for practicing critical thought, close listening, and respectful dialogue. This course will enable students to: 1. Build ethical foundations in collections management and preservation. 2. Critically engage with contemporary professional debates about representation within memory professions. 3. Apply ethical tenets to case studies and modern practices in archives, libraries, and museums. 4. Appreciate and advocate for contrasting viewpoints within complex issues. 5. Practice critical thinking, close listening, and respectful disagreement, especially within structured dialogue exercises.


Informatics 310C.

*All restrictrictions and prerequisites for this class waived for Spring 2024.