Over the past 30 years, we have built strong and resilient relationships with archives and libraries around the world. We acknowledge that hegemonic perspectives and voices have often survived at the expense of marginalised communities, and understand that by digitising primary sources, we contribute to the continued survival and discovery of such materials.
At Adam Matthew, we know we must hold ourselves accountable for our editorial decisions. We are committed to asking questions and interrogating our decision-making process while also maintaining an open dialogue with our archival partners. We seek feedback with the academic community and collaborate with a dedicated board of consultants for each individual product, aiming to ensure the inclusion of scholars and curatorial experts who can speak to the experiences of underrepresented communities.
We continue to increase our efforts to commission essays and features which contextualise problematic terminology, highlight archival silences, discuss some of the complexities of historic archival practice and shed light on tools that students can use to overcome these challenges. To find out more, read about Adam Matthewâ€™s approach to diversity in our content.
Our determination to produce diverse and inclusive products steers our processes and best practices, helping to ensure that equal consideration is given from concept through to publication. Weâ€™re committed to reviewing the advice and training given to our teams and embedding principles which will enable us to build more equitable online resources. In addition to accessibility, we are carefully considering how best to address bias in terminology and metadata and exploring ways to uncover hidden voices wherever possible.
In partnership with source archives and subject experts, we intend to:
- Take advice on the terminology used to describe communities and individuals.
- Prominently display statements which help users to understand the terminology they may encounter in our resources, and where/why they may encounter offensive or uncomfortable language.
- Provide information in our resources that explains material selection and who has consulted on that process.
- Acknowledge which primary sources can illuminate the experiences of underrepresented voices and which reflect the perspectives or biases of the dominant narrative.
- Compile user guides to help researchers locate content within published primary sources.
Weâ€™re particularly excited about the role that technology can play in redressing the historic imbalance of representation in archives. By applying Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) software to our products, scholars can search manuscripts freely. While we cannot redress the biases held within sources themselves, the ability to search in this way can remove any historic or unintended biases existing in the catalogue data and improve the discoverability of underrepresented narratives. Through the application of searching software, we also aim to improve our metadata creation processes, actively seeking out voices which may have been obscured.
In addition to considerations that impact the titles we are currently developing and producing, we will re-evaluate existing products and consider how best to contextualise language used within metadata and editorial content. We also aim to provide publication details to ensure users can clearly understand when resources have been released or updates made.