Say Yes to Digital Surrogates: Strengthening the Archival Record in the Post custodial Era

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Shein and Lapworth demonstrate how employing “scan-and-return” practices to strengthen and diversify archival collections is a creative and responsible way to provide researchers with equitable and ongoing access to a more inclusive and democratic historical record. The authors review some of the main archival theories and practices of the post custodial era to show how their position is built on professional values and widely-accepted premises. They explain how and why UNLV Special Collections has joined a community of practice that validates stewardship of digital surrogates in support of the preeminent mandate of archives to preserve and provide broad access to cultural history. The theoretical discourse is followed by real-world examples and practical considerations related to collecting digital surrogates, including locally-developed guidelines and procedures, positive outcomes, and concerns that were raised and addressed along the way.

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