Creating a Sexuality and Gender Digital Collection to Digitally Break through to the Physical




Zavala, Melina

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As a queer early career librarian, coming into the digital collections space at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and not being able to see a very important part of myself reflected within the digital collection spurred me to think about ways in which I could make people like me more visible within it. Thus, for one of my early projects as the new Digital Scholarship Librarian at GVSU, I digitized the event archives from the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department, the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, and the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity. With this material I planned to create a sexuality and gender digital collection, with multiple objectives: to include a queer perspective within the digital collections, to raise awareness of what these physical places offer students within the digital space, and to allow easier access to the archives with the hopes of attracting people who may not have been looking specifically at what physical archives have to offer. I want the digital to break through to the physical and encourage people to go to the events and classes offered by the centers and the department. I also want to encourage students as well as people outside of academia to develop an interest working with archives in different ways. There is a need for more varied voices within the library profession as a whole, and increasing access to archival material can create interest for more LGBTQ+ people to professionally work in libraries. This project is one way I hope to spark interest in future librarians and archivists. The poster will outline the overall process this project took, and highlight the challenges and the lessons learned. Attendees will walk away with tools to start their own conversations and create digital collections alongside different departments, learn the benefits and drawbacks of working with different departments in an archival project which makes underrepresented communities more visible, and take a closer look at how a digital collection is made at Grand Valley State University.


Digital Frontiers Poster Session


queer perspective, digital collections, LGBTQ+, archives, sexuality studies, gender studies


Zavala, M. (2019). Creating a sexuality and gender digital collection to digitally break through to the physical. [Conference poster]. Digital Frontiers Annual Conference, Austin, TX, United States.


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