Post-Custodial Archiving for the Collective Good


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Hannah Alpert-Abrams, David Bliss, and Itza Carbajal. “Post-Custodial Archiving for the Collective Good.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Science. 2019.


LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at the University of Texas at Austin applies post-custodial archival methods in pursuit of a new vision of digital archival practice and the transnational construction of historical memory. This work seeks to develop a practice for digital archiving that enables the redistribution of resources while centering communities as contributors and owners of their own documentary heritage. Although LLILAS Benson has successfully built partnerships and continues to manage widely recognized collections using a post-custodial model, the anti-colonial framework through which this work has been understood does not fully account for the power imbalances at play. Using Cifor and Lee’s survey of neoliberalism in the archives as a launching point, this article considers how neoliberalism has shaped post-custodial practices at LLILAS Benson, focusing on ideas and practices of labor, digitization, and the common good. Through this analysis, the authors describe not a static set of methodologies, but rather an ongoing process of learning, unlearning, and restructuring in pursuit of a collective good.

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