Inconvenient Exposure: Managing controversial content in digital collections

From family history to wrongful arrests to genocide denial, our community collections are reaching more people in more places, and not everyone is happy about it. So, how do you handle online pushback about your digital collections? Is it censorship or good policy to remove a newspaper article from the collection because someone’s checkered past is affecting their present? What happens when a collection sheds new light on a controversy?

This session discusses a wide array of examples of individual and community response to controversial content online. ODW Projects Coordinator Jess Posgate talks about how organizations are managing everything from personal information removal requests to hacked servers as new or buried narratives emerge through digitization. The session hopes to instigate conversation around planning digitization of controversial – or potentially controversial – material with respect and honesty, audience experience with in-house policies around personal information, and idea sharing for sustainable and comprehensive community representation online.

Presenting at the 2022 conferences for audiences at Ontario Library Association Super Conference and Atlantic Provinces Library Association, Jess Posgate walks through scenarios that might be familiar to some and provides tips on creating organizational policy to safeguard our community members when local history goes global.