Never Neutral: Digital Library as Argument

Written by: Thomas Padilla

Primary Source : Thomas Padilla, October 29, 2015

At this year’s DLF Forum, Chris Bourg, Cecily Walker, and Safiya Noble powerfully drove home the responsibility that the digital library community has to reflect critically as it shapes the contours of the digital environment. We must be vigilantly aware of how our decisions accrete toward a constellation of world views that simultaneously foreclose and expand conditions of interpretation and possibility.

We are never neutral.

But what do we do with that admission? We build with our hearts on our sleeves. We build toward a vision of the world that spins openly on the axes of our convictions.

Soon after Chris and Cecily’s talk I circulated an open document for gathering examples of never neutral digital library work. If this approach resonates with you I hope you will consider contributing.

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Thomas Padilla
Thomas Padilla is Digital Humanities Librarian at Michigan State University Libraries. Prior to his move to Michigan he was at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign working at the Scholarly Commons and the Preservation Unit of the University Library. Prior to that he was at the Library of Congress doing digital preservation outreach and education. Thomas maintains diverse interests in digital humanities, digital preservation, data curation, archives, History, and interdisciplinarity. His work and projects often map to these areas of interest.