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Title:The Chinatown Library Digital Archives Project: A Story of Community, Memory, and Technology
Author(s):Wong, Vivian
Subject(s):Cultural information system
Ethnic communities
Digital archives
Digital records
Abstract:Developments in digital technologies are making it more possible for previously neglected and buried communities to document themselves, allowing diverse peoples to (re)discover and (re)claim their identities and experiences and (re)capture their memories. These communities act as agents in the creation, collection, preservation, and dissemination of their own historical and cultural narratives, while (re)producing these narratives as information resources in archival systems for themselves and the larger society— “iSociety” . Their participation in these information production and archival processes is not only changing the kinds of stories that are being told in content, but it is also reshaping the ways in which the stories are being told in form. How these stories are remembered and represented in archival formations and information systems that house collective memory and communal knowledge is being (re)conceived and (re)conceptualized through the use of digital technologies that simultaneously re-imagines those systems and structures in the communities to serve their needs, as well as aspirational desires. Information systems and archival formations are participatory practices in communities that create communities of belonging while also documenting, collecting, preserving, and displaying their information sources and archival records. The Los Angeles Chinatown Library was a “dream” 12-years in the making for the Chinese American community in the Chinatown neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles. It began in 1971 with one person’s desire to have a neighborhood library for the growing population of Chinese Americans and “new” (post-1965) Chinese immigrants who lived in the area in the later decades of the 20th century. It grew into a community effort that gathered support from the greater Chinese American community in Los Angeles and state board until the library opened its doors at a local elementary school in 1983. Addressing the 2009 iConference themes of cultural information systems and memory institutions for ethnic communities, The Chinatown Library Digital Archive Project poster will illustrate how one community-based organization is beginning to engage new technologies in collaboration with its community to the create the digital information resources and archival systems that will give “voice” and make “visible” the memories of the Los Angeles Chinatown Library and the story of community collaborated that created a “space” or “home” of knowledge, information, and learning for the community to inhabit .
Issue Date:2009-02-08
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-03-25

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