Journal article

Care, code and digital libraries: embracing critical practice in digital library communities

Libraries Digital libraries Computer software Research institutes open access

In this article, the author explores the necessity of articulating an ethics of care in the design, governance, and future evolution of digital library software applications. Long held as the primary technological platforms to advance the most radical values of librarianship, the digital library landscape has become a re-enactment of local power dynamics that privilege wealth, whiteness, and masculinity at the expense of meaningful inclusive practice and care work. This, in turn, has the net result of self-perpetuating open access digital repositories as tools which only a handful of research institutions can fully engage with, and artificially narrows the digital cultural heritage landscape. By linking local narratives to organizational norms and underlining the importance of considering who does the work, and where they can do it, the author explores manifestations of care in practice and intentional design, and proposes a reframing of digital library management and governance to encourage greater participation and inclusion, along with “user-first” principles of governance.

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