A digitization project controversy around Reveal Digital

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A digitization project controversy around Reveal Digital

Post by Admina on Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:11 pm

This thoughtful blog post is being shared on Twitter today: http://tararobertson.ca/2016/oob/ 

An out-of-print (1984-2004) lesbian pornographic magazine 'On Our Backs' (OOB) has been digitized and is being made available by Reveal Digital, which is causing a stir in the archives/library world regarding the ethics of such a decision.  For those that don't know, Reveal Digital calls itself "A library crowd-funding approach to digitizing special collections."


Tara Robertson wrote:The nature of this content makes it different from digitizing textual content or non-pornographic images. We think about porn differently than other types of content.
Most of the OOB run was published before the internet existed. Consenting to appear in a limited run print publication is very different than consenting to have one’s sexualized image be freely available on the internet. These two things are completely different. Who in the early 90s could imagine what the internet would look like in 2016?


This blogger makes points worth considering.

Should we refrain from digitizing content based on the potential negative impact to individuals?  Do we set contemporary attitudes aside and strictly view "old" pornographic reading & viewing materials as cultural artifacts?  Is "censoring" or "restricting" this contrary to a responsibility to remain objective and impartial in providing access to information?  Is there a middle ground?  What factors should be considered here?  What role does "timeliness" play here?

Please share your thoughts and questions.

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