Dataist thinking, libraries, archives, and genealogy

This newsletter will focus on a character from one of favorite animated series and dataism, archives & libraries news, and a new fictional narrative!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a great week. With that, let’s dive in.

Late last week, I built off the article by Bohyun Kim in Information Today, which I included in my last newsletter, noting how some think that data and algorithms can better process and find meaning in data than human thoughts, which he called “data-ism.” I focused on one of my favorite characters from the ongoing animated series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Entrapta (pictured at the beginning of this newsletter), who is clearly autistic but also embodies dataist thinking. I not only show how criticisms of her as a “bad” form of representation of autism/Aspergers is incorrect, but I also note how her thought processes subscribe to dataist thinking. At the same time, I also connected it to my fan fictions, since she is an oft-recurring character.

Turning around completely, I’d like to point to some interesting articles in the library and archival fields. The first is by David Ferriero, the Archivist of the U.S. who heads NARA, about Cokie Roberts, who was not only a journalist but a member of the National Archives Foundation Board, said Cokie would have loved a recent use of projection technology where “Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Martha Washington, and Eliza Hamilton joined the ranks” of the Barry Faulkner murals depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He also wrote about, this week, a post arguing how NARA has opened up more access to digital records than ever before. Beyond that, there’s also a review by Becky Briggs Becker of Microsoft Planner in The American Archivist Reviews Portal, and Rosemary K.J. Davis’s insightful take on Student Loan Debt and how it is affecting the archival profession. There’s also, of course, an article in Hack Library School about how to deal with “divisive discussions” in a digital classroom, another about how librarianship is at a “crossroads” because of ICE surveillance, proposing possible solutions to this dilemma, and a final one about “library professionalism.”

That brings me to the final part of my newsletter: a focus on my newest fiction story, “Danger, Pleasure, and Arousal in the Tampa Lagoon,” published this past Sunday. Whether you groan and grumble, at this, I’d like to happily note that I was able to fit in some archival themes, especially when it comes to family research, with two characters talking about it, with some of their dialogue quoted below:

‘Fancy that! Do you have any family?

‘I’m not sure who they are…unfortunately…the identities of my parents are a mystery to me.

‘I thought that Coach…found me there [in Argentina]…I recently found out that was wrong…Shadowsan…saved me and brought me to the island.

‘If he’s a first-hand source, you need to quiz him for more details!

‘I could. I’ve heard about DNA tests…being a former thief and all who has undoubtedly broken laws…I am wary of trusting anyone with my personal genetic information, especially not Genealogical Research Inc., GRI, who might give it to the authorities.

We could all help you discover your parentage and heritage.

‘That would be wonderful. Learning more about my past is important to me.

‘There’s bound to be a national library or archives in Tanyuga, right? With the breadcrumbs Shadowsan gives you, it could help start you on family research.

‘That’s a great idea, Adora! Jules could help me too, since she’s heading up that V.I.L.E. museum. It could be their first big breakthrough.

Of course, there’s a lot more in the story than this, as the above is just an excerpt. But, my plan is to make this a sub-story, where Carmen is looking for her family roots, traveling to different libraries, archives, and whatnot.

With that, I hope everyone has a great rest of their week!

- Burkely