Kairos 17.3

Collaborations across borders between multiple positions within the university hierarchy is one of the most unique features of the construction of the FSU Card Archive. The implications of this unique collaboration for making meaning (taken from the archive by researchers) is traced across this webtext. It is of note that this collaboration bears particular importance in regard to the authorship of the archive. The nature of this collaboration has meant that no single part has sprung wholly from one individual (Fitzpatrick, 2009). Instead, the structure of the archive underscores its collaborative authorship through dialogues that have shaped and will continue to shape the emergence of the archive. By foregrounding these conversations that radiate from the original etchings on these cards, we have followed the advice of Kathleen Fitzpatrick who reminded us that we must "relinquish a certain degree of control" over the shaping of the archive in acknowledgement of "the ways that scholarship, even in fields in which sole authorship is the norm, has always been collaborative."

While you have read elsewhere in this webtext about the vested interests of senior faculty members Kathleen Yancey and Kristie Fleckenstein, these interests have been in collaboration with those of other, more junior faculty members, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. No one interest has wielded control over the archive's authorship. Rather, these interests have been negotiated throughout the archive's construction.

A location in the archive where we can trace one of the collaborations that has occurred along these borders of positionality within the university hierarchy is the subject heading category of the Dublin Core. We will break this collaboration down into a series of three, oversimplified dialogues in the next node.

Positionality Dialogues

  • Dialogue One: In the interest of making sure that we were constructing an archive that would fill the needs of those most invested in it, we asked Drs. Yancey and Fleckenstein to tell us a little about how they envisioned using the archive and what kinds of research they might do in it. This information was gathered through a series of emails.
  • Dialogue Two: At the same time that this was going on, Stephen, Michael, and Katie were meeting with the interns. One of the first actions that we took was for each of us to take between 10 and 20 postcards to look over. We then made individual lists of the primary elements that we saw on the cards. Questions that guided this exercise in seeing the cards included: What categories did we need in order to begin entering data on these cards? This second dialogue was a recursive step and has required us to continually return to our categories, cutting some out while adding others. As we progressed further into the project, we realized that there was another factor influencing our metadata categories: time. The archive would not be sustainable if it was taking 30-45 minutes for an intern to enter a card.
  • Dialogue Three: As tags added by researchers in the archive grow, they illuminate the need to incorporate new subject headings. Incorporating a new subject heading based on tags added by users will require an archivist to return to all of the cards in the archive to insert this subject heading into the Dublin Core field where applicable.
Neal ・ Bridgman ・ McElroy