Making "slave ownership" visible in the archival catalogue : findings from a pilot project
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This article outlines a pilot project aimed at making ‘slave ownership’ more visible in archival catalogues. The project began with the premise that it is incumbent upon academic communities and record-keepers to make known Britain’s slaving past and the ongoing legacies of that past as part of a drive to dismantle systemic (and often invisible) racism across the sector. Specifically, it explored different ways of cross-referencing the Legacies of British Slave-ownership database (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs//) with the Special Collections catalogue at the University of St Andrews with a view to updating the information provided in the latter. Six methods of identifying matches were trialled, each of which is presented and reflected upon here. Although some methods produced more matches than others, the collective results point towards the need for a multifaceted approach. Our findings also raise important questions about types of involvement in enslavement (direct/indirect), how different levels of certainty regarding the identity of certain individuals might be indicated in the record, and how collection-level and item-level descriptions might be updated. The project also highlights how our own assumptions about who is — and is not — likely to have ‘owned’ enslaved people can influence our very methods for uncovering those people.
Buncombe , M & Prest , J 2022 , ' Making "slave ownership" visible in the archival catalogue : findings from a pilot project ' , Archive and Records , vol. 42 , no. 3 , pp. 228-247 . https://doi.org/10.1080/23257962.2021.1985443
Archive and Records
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
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