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Congratulations to Collaboratory member (and new Executive Director of the CLGA!) Rebecka Sheffield, for her award-winning poster on the LGBTQ Collaboratory. Rebecka’s poster was presented at the 2015 Archival Education Research Institute (AERI). Held at the University of Maryland, AERI brought together Archival Studies scholars from all around the world. Rebecka’s poster-an at once gorgeous and concise summary of the Collaboratory’s work-won the audience award, beating out a total of 26 other research posters presented at AERI. The poster also sparked stimulating discussions around archival work. The Collaboratory’s multi-institutional span for instance (across U of T, York, University of Victoria, SFU, College of the Holy Cross, and College of the Arts London), became a touching point for conversations surrounding the logistics of collaborative work. “This collaborative approach is increasingly necessary and in fact, essential for archivists who have grand challenges that require multi perspectival analysis and deep expertise in areas such as digitization, metadata creation, community outreach and partnership stewardship,” says Rebecka.
Another important conversation sparked by the Collaboratory, and Sheffield’s poster, was the issue of metadata and classification nomenclature. Archivists and researches certainly take care to use the classification preferences of interviewees, based on how interviewees politically/personally identified as (both within and beyond the identity markers available in the LGBTQ acronym) at the time of their respective interviews. At the same time, sexual and gender identities may change over time- an interviewee’s understanding of their self may not be the same as it was during an interview that happened decades ago. How are archivists and researchers to account for changes in something as personal as identity, and the subsequent impact on metadata and classification nomenclature? This particular conversation (and others) sparked by Rebecka’s award-winning poster, certainly points to the interesting, new and important work done at the Collaboratory! For more updates on the Collaboratory, be sure to follow @lgbtqhistory on Twitter.