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Human rights archiving in a digital age

As the world witnessed from the Rodney King beating to the Arab Spring, audiovisual documentation of human rights violations serve as powerful evidence that challenge dominant narratives on the past and present and impact how we shape and understand our future. Yet what happens to that documentation, often born-digital, once it serves its immediate purpose (i.e. news reporting, legal evidence) and how can we ensure its long-term preservation for the historical record? Through the experiences of the University of Texas Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative collaborating with human rights organizations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the US, this presentation discusses the challenges of archiving born-digital human rights documentation and demonstrates how university libraries are uniquely positioned to meet the challenge of preserving this material that will greatly enhance scholarship and teaching as well as empower records creators and enrich the historical record.

Additional Supporting Materials

Learning Objectives

  1. What are the technical and ethical challenges of archiving digital human rights documentation?
  2. How are academic libraries / archives uniquely positioned to address the preservation challenges of digital human rights documentation?
  3. How can digital human rights archiving empower the creators of such documentation and / or the individuals/communities documented?



T-Kay Sangwand, Human Rights Archivist, Human Rights Documentation Initiative, Benson Latin American Collection. University of Texas Libraries

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