Digital Transgender Archive Receives Notable Award for Description From Society of American Archivists

World’s first archive of its kind awarded the 2017 C.F.W. Coker Award
June 2nd, 2017 by 


(From let) Catarina-Oliva Beal '18 works with K.J. Rawson, assistant professor of English, in the Digital Transgender Archive lab at Holy Cross. Photo by: Tom Rettig

The Digital Transgender Archive (DTA), directed by K.J. Rawson, assistant professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, has been named the recipient of the 2017 C.F.W. Coker Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA).

The award, established in 1984, recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids. Nominees must, in some significant way, set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.

Launched in January of 2016, the DTA is an online collection of transgender-related historical materials — the first of its kind — and already contains more than 2,100 digitized primary source historical materials, contributed by more than 30 collaborators from six countries around the world.

“Project director K.J. Rawson wanted to create a resource that would allow researchers to overcome the systematic challenges present in researching trans history, such as the geographic dispersion of historic materials, evolving and diverse language used to describe trans history, and the lack of availability of online primary sources,” the SAA wrote in their award announcement. “The aggregated digital content along with contextual learning resources provide a platform usable for diverse audiences and increases the discoverability and accessibility of historic materials from a traditionally underrepresented part of history.”

“The DTA is thrilled to have been awarded the C.F.W. Coker Award by the Society of American Archivists,” says Rawson. “As the largest professional organization for archivists in the country, the SAA establishes national standards for archival practices and their recognition of the DTA highlights the importance of the project and high-quality archival description we seek to provide.”

The DTA recently received an American Council of Learned Societies Digital Extension Grant for the amount of $150,000. The grant will support the DTA’s mission of increasing accessibility of transgender history to the general public.

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