Vanderbilt Libraries to host ‘Cultural Heritage in the Age of Big Data’ symposium June 1

A public symposium titled “Cultural Heritage in the Age of Big Data” will be hosted by Vanderbilt University Libraries Friday, June 1, bringing together archivists, librarians, digital humanists and public historians to discuss the ethical implications of preserving and providing access to culturally sensitive materials online.

“Our annual ‘Cultural Heritage at Scale’ symposia critically examine the technological infrastructure for describing and providing access to digital cultural heritage in a networked age,” says Clifford Anderson, associate university librarian for research and learning. “Our symposium this year will grapple with how to preserve cultural objects for future generations while respecting the rights and following the norms of the communities that created them.”

Must sharing and surveillance always go hand in hand? This conference will explore the benefits and drawbacks of fostering openness in digital cultural heritage. What are the ethical implications of digitally preserving and providing access to cultural materials online? Are there limits beyond the right to privacy and copyright law to what we should make digitally available? How does sharing materials online affect, benefit or potentially harm cultural communities? “This is perhaps the most pressing issue of the day for any users of online information,” says University Librarian Valerie Hotchkiss, “and we are all users of online information.”

The 2017 “Cultural Heritage at Scale” symposium (photo by Jon Erickson)

Workshop leaders include Jay Clayton, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English, professor of cinema and media arts, and director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt; Ben Rydal Shapiro, MEd’13, and 2018 Vanderbilt Ph.D. candidate in learning, teaching and diversity; Susan W. Knowles, digital humanities research fellow in the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University; and Ethan Watrall, assistant professor of anthropology and associate director of MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. It is funded by the Jean Acker Wright University Library Staff Development Fund of Vanderbilt University.

For more information and to register, go here >>


Contact: Celia Walker, Vanderbilt Libraries, (615) 343-4701