GSISC 2020 Agenda


Registration, Gelman Library



Colloquium opens, Gelman Library room 101

Plenary: The Digital Afterlife of Henrietta Lacks

Tonia Sutherland

There is an unresolved tension between memorialization and commodification, and a thin line between concerns about oblivion and the freedoms associated with the “right to be forgotten.” One such example of the “Black body” as record allows for a discussion of how a single cell can represent an entire Black body, and how a single cell, as an embodied record, can also be manipulated and disarticulated from the humanity of the Black body from which it came. This paper considers the case of Henrietta Lacks’s digital afterlife from the perspective of human bodies as records and data, arguing that being reduced to data makes Black people even more vulnerable to potential abuse, even posthumously.



Activism & Reimagining, Gelman Library, room 702

Revealing the “Con” – Putting the Conversation Back into Scholarly Communication

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz and Sara Howard

The scholarly publishing landscape is an inhibiting technology within the paradigm of librarianship. As both producers and providers of scholarship, librarians are beholden to the manufactured “system” of scholarly production. The “conversation” will be presented as an alternative technology, loosening the tight confines of the scholarly publishing landscape as well as a response to the strictures of authority and format. Two LGBTQ librarians will queer the scholarly publishing landscape by introducing conversations as a reformative and reclamative technology, allowing for a deep reworking of current tools of scholarly production, tenure review, peer reivew, and other scholarly assessments.

Slow Activism, Technology, and Gendered Labor: a Case Study on LIS Organizing 

ariel hahn

Despite radical agendas, contemporary technology organizing, both within LIS and beyond, often fails to reflect progressive gender politics. Using experiences gleaned from time working with the student group README @ UCLA as a case study, I highlight larger issues of equity, value, and labor present throughout technology-based activism and advocacy in LIS.

Renovating Librarianship: Race, Gender, and Technological Reparations

Lynne Stahl

What’s missing from library collections, buildings, and training? How might renovating LIS curricula better prepare librarians to identify and challenge root problems rather than reproducing them in increasingly advanced forms? What’s the nature of the mold into which collections, users, and librarians are cast, and what might all achieve if unbounded from the same constraints that bind gendered and racialized bodies outside of libraries? Through Zong!, Afrofuturism, critical librarianship, and queer critiques of reproductive futurity, this paper asks how we might use existing technologies to address the past’s foundational wrongs and their present manifestations–to help us begin making technological reparations.

Identity & Collections, Gelman Library room 302

Metadata as Colorblind Racism: What Picture Books Can Teach Us About Absence

Christina Bell

Metadata is the backbone that guides all library systems. Even as we challenge the “neutrality” of libraries and the information we provide, the standardized metadata goes relatively unquestioned. We rarely dig deep into the inequalities pervasive in the underlying language of our systems. This talk will consider the ongoing work of the Diverse BookFinder, a database of multicultural picture books that is building new metadata to account for who is represented in a story and how they are depicted relative to their identity. This work also looks at metadata used outside the library world created by publishers and retailers to make such books more discoverable. The larger goal is to facilitate conversation about who and what is missing from our standardized information systems.

Race and Reaction .Gifs

Annie Felix

This paper examines reaction GIFs as the site where race (specifically blackness) is fragmented into a standing-reserve of performance, affects, and images. It will also investigate the (equally violent) animatedness of the body it ventriloquizes, looking for places of healing, fugitivity, resistance; where the puppet takes up agency; where the appropriated black puppet-body is re-appropriated, by mapping the way these GIFs are used and shared/proliferated on social media.

Half-Lives and After-Lives of Kwīr Knowledge Projects: Digital Archives of Arabic Auto-Publishing on Gender and Sexuality

Robert James Farley

Grassroots movements for human rights have their own methods of producing, preserving, and circulating their work that exist outside mainstream, dominant discourse. Scholars and archivists must take this into account in order to properly and ethically archive these materials. Dominant scholarship on zines define the form by its handmade production, stating that zines must be low-tech in order to build affective communities and maintain an anti-capitalist ethico-political commitment. However, in the case of queer zines in Arabic, I argue, the digital still accomplishes creating intimacy among its makers and readers, and in fact can facilitate community building across securitized transnational landscapes.

Sociotechnical Oppression, Gelman Library, room 301

Sociotechnical Oppression: On Systemic Harms and Harms of Systems 

E.E. Lawrence; Cassie Herbert; Beth Strickland Bloch

This panel brings together investigations of a distinctly sociotechnical form of oppression that immobilizes particular social groups qua user populations. Cassie Herbert (Illinois State University) explores how the mechanics of social media facilitate new ways of enacting misogyny. Beth Strickland Bloch (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) interrogates how dominant ideologies of the body get reified through the algorithms used to diagnose and treat illness. Finally, E.E. Lawrence (Rutgers University) characterizes the harms specific to technological deadnaming. Following their presentations, the panelists will lead a dialogue with audience members on the practical implications of these problems for information professionals.


Lunch, provided, 11:30-1pm



Communities & Archives, Gelman Library, room 702

Challenges for Digital Preservation and Access for Community Archives

Sonoe Nakasone; Kimber Thomas

Even when pared down to the basics, the digital preservation and access standards libraries promote are often too difficult to attain for communities interested in custodianship over their own digital archives.  The importance of communities having custody and rights over their digital assets is compounded when working with black and other communities of color who have historically had cultural assets stolen or appropriated.  This presentation draws from archives literature, conversations with community archives projects and will explore the difficulty of collecting, storing, and making accessible born digital files as part of a grassroots community archive or small township initiative.

Discursive Traces of Affect in a Digital Public Library Service

Amy Wickner

This paper analyzes the discursive practices through which library users and workers construct, as an affective object, a do-it-yourself (DIY) digital conversion lab and personal digital archiving training program in a public library.

Making Space, Not Assumptions: Building a Womxn/Trans/Femme Makerspace Movement

Amanda Meeks

Makerspaces in academic libraries are on the rise–bringing new technologies, knowledge creation, and experiential learning to our library spaces. While makerspaces are often promoted as open, inclusive, and collaborative it is well documented that equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are critical challenges within makerspaces. Where gender is concerned, EDI issues are often only examined and addressed through the lens of cisnormativity and the gender binary: i.e. cisgender women and men. This presentation will push the scope of the conversation and efforts to be explicitly inclusive of those who identify as transgender, non-binary, and femme.

Embodiment, Gelman Library, room 302

Assistive Technology, Intersectional Identity, and Libraries

JJ Pionke

There is plenty of evidence that indicates that accessibility and assistive technology are not priorities for libraries in general.  Further, people who use assistive technologies typically have intersectional identities, which can be problematic for libraries in terms of how these patrons interact with and use libraries.  This presentation will explore the potential reasons why there is resistance to accessibility and assistive technologies through the lens of intersectional identity vis a vis gender, sexuality, and ability.

Aging out of the technology body

Jennifer Nace

This paper will expand on matters of technology and its interplay with the aging body.  It will also explore the cultural feedback loop of aging technology and aging bodies. Technology interplays differently with differently abled and gendered aging bodies and this is nowhere more apparent than in the workplace. How does technology help the aging body?  How does it hinder the aging body?  How does aging make us feel about technological intervention?  How does technological intervention make us feel about life/work/the things that matter?

Design Justice as a Means to Address Systemic Sociotechnical Inequities that Disadvantage Queer People in Libraries

Diana Floegel

Libraries often advocate for adopting digital technologies in programs and services. However, such technologies systemically surveil people, and these surveillance practices have particular consequences for queer people. Moreover, algorithms that underscore these technologies add additional layers of injustice and discrimination because they are embedded with structural inequities related to race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability. I propose that we can address systemic problems related to technological surveillance and algorithmic oppression in libraries through participatory research rooted in design justice, which centers marginalized perspectives in order to articulate and challenge how the matrix of domination is instantiated in sociotechnical systems.

Cisnormative Data Structures, Gelman Library, room 301

Cisnormative Data Structures & the Invisibilization of Nonbinary Identities

Ari Gofman; Nina Exner; Sam Leif

The presenters will explore the ways that cisnormative power structures manifest through the data lifecycle in quantitative, qualitative, and humanistic data sources & methodologies. We will trace downstream effects on automated and human-mediated findings generated by cisnormative data. Finally, we will suggest ways that these self-reinforcing power structures should be challenged and replaced with more nuanced representations of the gender spectrum. The neocolonial cisgendered structures we embed in our basic data concepts have far-reaching and self-perpetuating consequences. Nonbinary demographics fundamentally change statistical & methodological norms, and we identify strategies and approaches that destabalize structures of oppression.



Data & Personal Information, Gelman Library, room 101

Exploring the possibilities and limitations of using web-based technology for reporting patron perpetrated sexual harassment in libraries

Danielle Allard; Tami Oliphant

Patron-perpetrated sexual harassment in libraries is reproduced in libraries by social structures (patriarchy, rape culture, and white supremacy), social identity factors (gender, race, sexual orientation, and age), and workplace factors (feminized and precarious labour, whiteness in librarianship, and service and care work). Incidents are often addressed informally and not reported despite library workers experiencing stress, fear, and depression. In this session, we consider the limitations and possibilities of developing a web-based reporting form for library workers to document incidents of sexual harassment. We ask how might such a technology serve library workers in addressing sexual harassment at their workplaces? What kinds of questions should we ask in order to understand the multi-faceted contexts in which library workers are situated and in which third party sexual harassment occurs?

Name, gender, and pronouns: Collecting personal information in a gender-inclusive way

Stephen Krueger

From library cards to job applications to conference registration, collecting personal information is an integral part of library work. But how do we do that in a way that is welcoming and respectful to people of all genders? This presentation will cover best practices for asking names, pronouns, and gender. Going well beyond Trans 101, it will provide practical examples and delve into the impact of different approaches on trans and gender variant people.

Decentering Whiteness in Data

Negeen Aghassibake

Whiteness centers itself in and informs our data and data structures, quietly perpetuating the oppression of marginalized groups. Data can serve as an efficient decision-making tool but can also oversimplify the complexity of the lives and identities of those contributing to or existing in our data. This can lead to the misrepresentation, whitening, or complete absence of marginalized groups in some data. This session will discuss these concerns as well as identify strategies to decenter whiteness in data and data structures.

Open Forum, Gelman Library, room 302

Unstructured moderated session to allow space for reflection and discussion on the events of the day or other topics of interest selected by those in attendance.

The Future Is Not Inevitable, Gelman Library, room 301

The Future is Not Inevitable: Reframing Narratives of Technological Progress

Ashley Peterson; Leo Settoducato; Dianne Brown

In a neoliberal model of education, technological progress is seen as both inevitable and inherently good. Libraries adhere to this way of thinking in the hopes of demonstrating relevance to our institutions. This session poses an essential question: what could librarianship look like if we reject inevitability? As facilitators of this structured conversation and interactive workshop, we will discuss our experiences challenging the status quo of information literacy instruction. We will encourage participants to consider inevitability narratives in their own professional practice in order to imagine different futures.



Closing remarks, Gelman Library, room 101