The Theory & Practice of Digitization: A Community Symposium

Event Status
Dr. Raha Rafii

The UT Libraries invites you to the culminating event of the Theory & Practice of Digitization Community Symposium program. What gets digitized and how it gets digitized are decisions that affect everyone, but most of all, marginalized communities that have been historically disadvantaged from participation in scholarship and the building of library collections (even, and especially, collections for which they are the subject). As part of this symposium, cohort participants were trained in the basics of scanning, OCR, and outputs/applications with a print material selection of their choice, so that they have insight into the hands-on processes of digitization and how to harness this technology for their goals. This culminating event brings together the cohort’s theoretical and practical experiences in conversation with Dr. Raha Rafii, a cultural heritage scholar, and engages the audience in reaching new and reparative approaches to digitized resources.

View this LibGuide for the program and event

Doors will open at 4:45 PM, and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The Theory & Practice of Digitization cohort will begin the event with lightning talks on their experiences and research in the program.

Following the cohort’s presentations, Dr. Raha Rafii will give the keynote address, titled, “Navigating the Ethical Landscape of Manuscript Digitization.”

The evening concludes with an open discussion among the audience, cohort members, and keynote speaker, followed by time for networking and refreshments.

Keynote abstract: The expansion of digital humanities in the last decade has led to a widespread increase in manuscript digitization projects by libraries, universities, museums, and other institutions. But what does it mean to digitally manipulate a manuscript, and how does digitization predetermine how a manuscript is accessed and analyzed? We will look at recent examples of digitized forms of cultural heritage and the impact on their origin communities to think through complex issues of ethics, and to determine the lines between academic researcher priorities and digitization as an extension of colonial and imperialist practices.

Keynote speaker biography: Dr. Raha Rafii is a part-time faculty member in Religious Studies at the New School and an Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. Previously she was a research editor at the Islamic Law Blog at Harvard University and a post-doctoral fellow at Exeter. Raha received her Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania in 2019 and specializes in medieval Islamic history, jurisprudence, and Arabic and Persian historiography. In addition to her research specialization, Raha has also published on digital humanities, museums, and the legacy of Orientalism.

Co-sponsored by the University of Texas Libraries and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage at the Rare Book School


Detailed schedule:

4:45 PM Doors open & refreshments

5 - 5:30 PM Introduction & symposium program cohort lightning talks

5:30 - 6:30 PM Keynote address by Dr. Raha Rafii (New School, NYC) and Q&A

6:30 - 7 PM Networking & refreshments

Location: The Scholars Lab, Perry-Castañeda Library

Date and Time
Nov. 9, 2023, 4:45 to 7 p.m.
Perry-Castañeda Library
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