I’m James, I’m a co-investigator on Making African Connections, and I run the digital component of the project. This involved much more than running a website. It is it imaging, cataloguing, metadata processing, rights management, and digital preservation, all informed by the intellectual and ethical agendas of the project, which span Geography, Museum Studies, Digital Humanities, and beyond.
So it seems vital to me that we don’t just put things online, but that we show our working. That we don’t make claims to innovation without making clear our debts. That we situate the experience of our users within the experience of producing the website. That – as far as possible – we make our thinking, preoccupations, and prejudices knowable to anyone who stumbles across the remnants of our labour 5, 10, 15, 20 years in the future.
So this week we publish our ‘Statement of Values, Principles, and Approaches‘, a document intended the frame the design, maintenance, and delivery of the Making African Connections Digital Archive. This is a live document. We encourage you to tell us (here, via email, on Twitter) what we’re doing wrong, what we could do better, and where we are getting it right. We include a list of references, most of which are things that have framed my thinking over recent years and months. We plan to keep this updated as we come across new work that advances our thinking. And we’re always looking for suggestions. So do get in touch if you have ideas.