“Cultural Heritage in the Age of Big Data” Symposium to Be Held at Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilt University Libraries is hosting a public symposium on Friday, June 1, 2018, titled Cultural Heritage in the Age of Big Data. The symposium will bring together archivists, librarians, digital humanists, and public historians to discuss the ethical implications of preserving and providing access to culturally sensitive materials online. “The annual Cultural Heritage at Scale symposia critically exam the technological infrastructure for describing and providing access to digital cultural heritage in a networked age,” stated 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.”

Sharing and surveillance: Must the two 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 of the day for any users of online information,” says University Librarian Valerie Hotchkiss, “and we are all users of online information.”

Speakers include Jay Clayton (Vanderbilt University), Susan W. Knowles (Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University),Ben Rydal Shapiro (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University), and Ethan Watrall (Michigan State University). The symposium is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. For more information and to register, see heritage-at-scale.info.

Image: Cultural Heritage at Scale 2017; Photo: Jon Erickson

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