Dismantling Racism in Collaborative Collections


Diverse Hands Raised Together

In 2019, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launched a strategy that emphasized its commitment to empowering institutions and communities that have been historically marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented, and promoting diverse and inclusive collections and stories. As part of this work, DPLA recently launched the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection, a collaborative project that provides access to 200,000+ archival materials that help tell the story of the critical role Black women played—and continue to play—in the voting rights and civil rights movements. In order to address the inclusion of harmful language in collection metadata, the DPLA Metadata Working Group created a harmful language statement to explain the work librarians and archivists must do to balance the preservation of the history of people who have experienced trauma and harm with sensitivity in how it is presented to users.

In this on-demand webinar, DPLA staff and representatives from DPLA’s network discuss opportunities, challenges, and learnings encountered during this work; outline next steps for DPLA and member institutions in creating more diverse and equitable collections; and cover anticipated challenges as this work continues.

Originally presented June 9, 2021.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how collections have been shaped by systemic racism;
  • Identify ways in which institutions can commit to combating the effects of systemic racism in collections; and
  • Have a model for identifying and remedying harmful language in collection metadata.

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar is intended for metadata librarians, archivists, curators, and other library practitioners responsible for the description and categorization of materials.


Shaneé Yvette MurrainShaneé Yvette Murrain is DPLA's director of community engagement. She identifies and develops services, partnerships, and products to support its national network. Previously, Shaneé was the university archivist and an assistant professor at the University of West Georgia. She holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Bethune-Cookman University, a Master of Divinity from Drew Theological School and a Master’s of Library Science from North Carolina Central University. As former director of library services and archivist at Payne Theological Seminary, she curated the Payne Theological Seminary and African Methodist Episcopal Church Digital Collection. Shaneé was also the 2019 president of the Society of Georgia Archivists and serves on the Board of Directors of Atla (formerly known as the American Theological Library Association). Shaneé believes that education is a spiritual encounter and is passionate about making sure people have the information they need to do the work they were called to do.

Penelope ShumakerPenelope Shumaker is the metadata librarian at the State Library of Ohio in Columbus. The State Library of Ohio manages the Ohio Digital Network, Ohio’s DPLA service hub. Penelope manages the metadata ingests from the Ohio Digital Network contributors into DPLA, then works with these contributors to remediate and refine their metadata. She is the co-chair of the DPLA Metadata Working Group. Penelope received her MLIS from Kent State University and a BA in Philosophy from Cedarville University.

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This on-demand webinar is closed captioned in English (United States).

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your access to this on-demand webinar, please contact us at plawebinars@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) prior to registering so we can attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Tech Requirements

To play this on-demand webinar you should use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Edge. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.


This webinar is presented by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to plawebinars@ala.org or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

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