IWD 2018: Keeping feminism alive for a digital generation

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Jisc, the UK’s organisation for education technology, is working on a digitisation project with Reveal Digital, a US-based open access publisher, to make independent and alternative press collections available for teaching, learning and research.

As part of the Independent Voices collection, Reveal Digital has already digitised 500,000 pages of content in the US, including feminist collections, by employing a 'library crowd-funding' open access approach: access to the resulting collection is currently restricted to participating libraries but in January 2019, the entire collection will be openly available on the public web.

Following the success of Independent Voices, Jisc is calling for nominations of collections of UK alternative underground magazines by the end of March, in particular, titles covering the second wave feminism in Britain and the struggle for black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME) civil rights and equality in Britain

The material must date from the 1960s to the 1990s and have been produced by non-commercial publishers to be considered for match funding by the education technology organisation. Entries are open to UK Higher Education and community-based libraries and archives, too.

Peter Findlay, digital portfolio manager at Jisc, said: 'We recognise that this is a restricted set of material and are interested in other categories such as punk zines, community newspapers and material produced by political groups, but we decided to make a start here. We hope to keep these vital resources available for students today and celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote, by creating a new digitised collection of UK feminist material.'

Ann Kaloski Naylor, lecturer at the Centre for Women’s Studies at the University of York, is passionate about preserving access to this type of content. She commented: 'Current feminism has a strong relationship to (and perhaps even reliance on) the internet. We need to digitise material to allow recent history to be accessible to today’s students.

'Although there is now a huge array of easily accessible work on women’s lives, the discipline is very young, and rooted in grassroots movements. The community nature of these movements means that significant work was produced in pamphlet form, and later in ‘zines and books. The potential of exposing such material outside of small-scale archives is huge.'

To discuss your proposed collection or if you need more information, email: peter.findlay@jisc.ac.uk