We recently passed through a significant period in the Jewish calendar. The High Holy Days are a time for reflection and atonement. We think back over the previous twelve months, honestly own our missteps and failures, and make practical and spiritual reparations. This year, one of the moral and spiritual failures I found myself reflecting on and atoning for was a professional one.
Discovering records of same gender attraction
This is a qualitative account of the experience of searching for and discovering records relating to minoritised sexual identities and behaviours through the National Archives of Australia's Record Search.
Transgender knowledge and archival practice
I recently read an article by T.L. Cowan and Jasmine Rault entitled ''Onlining queer acts: Digital research ethics and caring for risky archives''. In this article, Cowan and Rault discuss the ethics of digitising material relating to queer arts communities and making it available online and the need to incorporate transgender epistemologies into research ethics. I found myself feeling enraged reading the article, not because I fundamentally disagree with anything Cowan and Rault are saying, but because it only gets taken seriously when it gets written up and published in an academic journal. I feel like I've known the things that Cowan and Rault are saying for a long time and use that knowledge to inform my professional practice. But I know those things in the wrong way, which means I can't express them publicly, or if I do try to express them I do so in the wrong way and am punished for it.
Imposter syndrome, gender dysphoria, and patriarchy
Nicola Andrews' recent article ''It's not imposter syndrome: Resisting self-doubt as normal for library workers'' in In The Library With The Lead Pipe resonated with me. It got me thinking about the way my male privilege combines with my transgender history to leave me in a state of perpetual self doubt that is invisible to and unsupported by my professional environment.
One of the things I do professionally is helping researchers organise and preserve their data. This can involve thinking through the best formats to use to represent their data and helping them understand how different software interprets those formats. This can be a particularly thorny issue when it comes to date formats, especially in the case of the very commonly used software, Microsoft Excel. But date formats aren't even the half of it when we start thinking about the cultural complexities of communicating and interpreting different systems for thinking about and encoding time.
Playing with data
One way patrons can explore GLAM collections is through the digital content that institutions make available as data. I have often heard (white, men) data scientists speak of this type of exploration in terms such as “playing with the data.” It is in this context that GLAM institutions must be particularly mindful that not all of the material we hold is appropriate for being converted into data to be played with.