POST: Women’s History, and … Metadata?!

Reflecting on the recent Women’s History in the Digital World conference, held March 22-23 at Bryn Mawr, Arden Kikland provides an overview of sessions attended and considers Laura Mandell‘s conference keynote, “Feminist Critique vs. Feminist Production in Digital Humanities.” Kirkland describes the reaction to Mandell’s discussion of the TEI’s coding for gender– 1 for male, 2 for female. (An encoding that TEI adjusted following the conference.) She writes:

Mandell’s … slide served as an example of how to perform subversive encoding to simultaneously work within current systems and create new systems. Her example pointed out that predominant name authorities, such as the Library of Congress (LOC), sometimes define a woman’s preferred name in the format “Mrs. (insert husband’s name here).” Her slide provided an example of double/triple subversive encoding, including the ISO 5218 and LOC standard terms, but only as alternate terms, following terms and ontologies more appropriate to the given project and to the representation of women as primary figures. It is inspiring to imagine how our projects can meet current standards and interact with other existing projects, yet simultaneously set new standards for like-minded work which could gain traction and someday overtake our current hegemonic standards.

Kirkland points to Michelle Moravec’s coverage of the conference, which includes specific reference to archivists. She writes:

I heard so many amazing talks by archivists seeking to subvert the silences I hardly know where to begin.  Joanna Di Pasquale and Laura Streett presentations on Vassar’s student diary project provided some fascinating and sober insights into the hidden histories buried within.  Bethany Anderson’s talk highlighted the theoretical issues and possible solutions for the silences/absences.

This post was produced through a cooperation between Caro Pinto, Patrick Williams, and Amy Wickner (Editors-at-Large for the week), Sarah Potvin (dh+lib review editor for the week), and Zach Coble and Roxanne Shirazi (site editors).