News and Events

Aug. 15, 2018: SAA-Sponsored Community Engagement Workshop

Integrating Archival Education with Technology & Research

Organized by the DCIC and Harvard Library
Organizers: U. Maryland iSchool/DCIC: Michael Kurtz, Bill Underwood, Katrina Fenlon, Richard Marciano
Harvard Library: Daina Bouquin (Space Librarian and Data Scientist)

Workshop Flyer: SAA_workshop_flyer18



8:30 am: Registration and coffee / snacks

9:00-9:30: Welcome; Orientation to DCIC technical capabilities and future engagement opportunities


  • “DCIC WWII Japanese-American Relocation Camps” project — Bill Underwood
  • “Mapping Inequality” neighborhood redlining project — Richard Marciano


  • Developing big cultural datasets appropriate for computational and archival analytics.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Digitization
  • Optical Character Recognition
  • Data Analytics/Data Management
  • Geographical Information System referencing
  • Python/SQL Programming

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-11:45: Brainstorming session on the feasibility, goals, and objectives of a cross-community collaboration. Those interested in developing a model for this type of collaboration will establish a framework to move forward.


DCIC Spring Open House on Thu. Jan. 31, 2018

Welcome back iSchool Students (in particular our new MLIS Spring 2019 cohort),

A reminder for the 2019 Spring Semester: we will hold our Spring DCIC Open House at the end of January:

  • Date: Thursday, January 31st, 2019
    Time: 4:45 – 6pm
    Location: Room 4110 Hornbake South (4th floor in the DCIC space)
    4130 Campus Dr.
    University of Maryland College Park

The Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) is happy to announce we will continue to engage in a number of interdisciplinary research themes/projects for this spring semester. If you are interested in gaining new digital skills, conducting interdisciplinary research, and exploring professional development opportunities at the intersection of archives, big data, and analytics, feel free to join one of our ongoing projects.

Project teams are typically made up of iSchool students (MLIS, MIM, HCIM, Doctoral & InfoSci), faculty, staff, and community members outside the iSchool.

Current Interdisciplinary Research Themes include:

  • Movement of People [Global Journeys, Local Communities]
  • Community Displacement [Human Face of Big Data]
  • Racial Zoning [Mapping Inequality]
  • Managing WHCA Pool Reports [Presidential Transparency]
  • Legacy of Slavery [Revealing Untold Stories]
  • Citizen Internment [Japanese-American WWII Camps]
  • Cyberinfrastructure for Digital Curation [Big Data Archives and Analytics, Enhancing User Access to Big Data Archives]

Please e-mail with the projects you are most interested in, the week after the Open House (1st week of February).

No prerequisites needed, just the desire to develop new skills and play, however, students should expect to dedicate at least 2 – 3 hours to the project per week.

Links to the DCIC brochure and Project Booklet details:


Best regards,

Will Thomas presents at AADHum 2018 1st National Conference

Ph.D. student, Will Thomas presented and moderated a panel at the AADHum 2018 1st National Conference, Intentionally Digital, Intentionally Black.

The full video of his presentation and panel can be found here:

This Great Future, You Can’t Forget Your Past: Memory Commons as Afrofuturist Memory Institution

Will Thomas

University of Maryland, United States of America

Afrofuturism is the simple but radical concept that Black people live in the futures we envision. This paper argues that, to be meaningful, Afrofuturism must not break the chain of Black memory a second time – the industrial destruction of memory at the heart of the middle passage being the first such break.

At the heart of this argument is the assertion that Afrofuturism depends upon sustainable Black memory institutions that also survive in that future. Black identity may have been forged in the industrial removal of Africans to the Americas in order to increase the concentration of wealth in Europe and create a new ruling class across the Atlantic, but Black identity perpetuates itself on the maintenance of memory.

This paper theorizes a memory commons as such a sustainable institution. It defines a memory commons as shared information space wherein a community develops norms for its sustainable management. It postulates that the management of such a commons requires literacy in the protocols and objects residing in that shared space, and that such literacy is learned.

The paper holds that a commons is the best such form for a serviceable Afrofuturist memory institution as it does not depend upon public state power or private corporate power to grant it the legitimacy to exist, and hence the moral or systemic failure of a state or corporation would not prove fatal to the survival of that memory. It argues that the so-called “tragedy of the commons” lacks evidence for its existence and is based on a faulty assumption about human beings that is not borne out in the lived experience of Black community life.

The resiliency of the memory institution is impaired by depending on public or private state power as an anchor. Evidence for this is shown in the ample traces in the archival record of the enmeshing of such Black state power as has been achieved in emancipatory or postcolonial schemes in an international system which will destroy all around it rather than dismantle the structures which maintain it, one of which structures is the subjugation of the many for the benefit of a few.

The neutrality of archival practice in the service of such structures is under challenge from both a change in methods of creating and managing records relying on open formats, protocols, and algorithms and a change of industrial organization made possible by interoperable systems and inexpensive broadband networking. The nature of the state under the various revolutions of the past 500 years have changed archives as an institution and as practice; the contemporary change creates the opportunity to drive that change toward the memory commons model. This paper argues that such a drive can come through the bottom-up definition of a specific poetic counternarrative memory and defines how a commons can be built around it.

Into the Pool – Maryland Today

“The University of Maryland and the White House Correspondents’ Association are teaming up to provide a deep dive into the daily life of the U.S. president with a new digital archive of pool reports.” Read More

This portion is from the article, “Into the Pool” by Liam Farrell at the Maryland Today website.


DCIC Open House & Agenda

Good afternoon iSchool Students,

A reminder for the 2018 Fall Semester, that we will have two DCIC Open Houses.

Date: September 5th
Time: 4:45 – 6pm
Location: Room 4110
4130 Campus Dr.
University of Maryland College Park

Here is the upcoming Agenda for the Open Houses:

Time Topic Speaker
4:45 – 4:50 Welcome Richard Marciano
4:50 – 4:55 DCIC and Staff Introduction DCIC Staff
4:55 – 5:00 Global Journeys, Local Communities Ken Heger
5:00 – 5:05 Managing WHCA Pools Reports Richard / Bill
5:05 – 5:10 Legacy of Slavery Noah / Sohan
5:10 – 5:15 Japanese-American WWII Camps Richard / Bill
5:15 – 5:20 Mapping Inequality Richard Marciano
5:25 – 5:30 The Human Face of Big Data Myeong Lee
5:30 – 5:35 Cyberinfrastructure Projects Greg Jansen
5:35 – 6:00 Wrap-up and next steps Richard / Noah

We look forward to meeting everyone! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:

See you soon!


SAA, Community Engagement Workshop

Society of American Archivists Sponsored Event:

Community Engagement Workshop
Integrating Archival Education with Technology & Research

Wednesday, 15th of September
0830 – 1145
University of Maryland College Park
College of Information Studies, iSchool
Digital Curation Innovation Center (4110)

To explore the possibility of collaboration among archival educators to share techniques, strategies, and tools to develop and enhance the skills of students in academic and professional education programs. The DCIC wishes to share some of its capabilities, learn from colleagues in the field, and foster a discussion on opportunities for collaboration in digital curation and computational treatments of archival collections in particular. We believe that meeting off-site at a digital curation lab, and allowing time to present and discuss, would be a beneficial way to add value to AES interests.

For more information about the presenters: SAA 2018

Celebrating Dr. Michael Kurtz’s Accomplishments at the DCIC Center


The DCIC staff (past, present… and future) were very honored to celebrate Dr. Michael J. Kurtz for his leadership and (too) many (to count) contributions at the University of Maryland, most recently as the Associate Director of the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) in the College of Information Studies.

Celebrating with DCIC members (past, current, and future) on May 9, 2018:

  • Standing (left to right): Myeong Lee, Sohan Shah, Bill Underwood, Greg Jansen, Richard Marciano, Ken Heger, Will Thomas, Mary Kendig, Katrina Fenelon, Noah Dibert
  • Sitting (left to right): Cherie Loustaunau, Michael Kurtz

We are very grateful for all of Michael’s contributions, creativity, and boundless energy, and look forward to continued engagements beyond his tenure at the iSchool. Feel free to catch up with Michael over the summer at the Society of American Archives (SAA2018) Annual Conference:

Michael not only taught at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, for the last 18 years, but also became a full-time faculty member in 2011, and cofounded the DCIC Center in 2015 where he was the Associate Director until now. See:

Michael has been a tireless advocate and benefactor to the iSchool. He set up a 2012 bequest of $500,000 to establish the Michael J. Kurtz Professorship in Archives and Digital Curation, and in 2015 provided a second $500,000 bequest to create an endowment fund to support the DCIC Center’s efforts.

“In my life and career, the combination of education and archives has been very powerful, and my goal to is help expose students to the tools and technologies they are going to need for contemporary careers in archives.”


Michael is also co-founder of the Computational Archival Science (CAS) initiative in the DCIC (with colleagues from Kings College London, Georgia Tech, University of British Columbia, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center).  See: CAS Portal:

He has led DCIC Student Project efforts on the Legacy of Slavery project, in partnership with the Maryland State Archives, and the International Research Portal Project, with records related to looted Nazi-Era art. See:

Prior to this he worked at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for 37 years as a professional archivist, manager, and senior executive, including leading the National Declassification Center to streamline efforts to make billions of pages of government records public. His leadership was recognized by “Federal Computer Week” in 2005 with one of its prestigious Fed 100 Awards.

Michael received his doctoral degree in European History from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has published extensively in the fields of American history and archival management. His broad and eclectic scholarly work, among others, include:

  • “Museums, Archives, and Universities – Structuring Future Connections with Big Data” (co-author), in Big Data in the Arts and Humanities: Theory and Practice (June 2018)
  • “Archival Records and Training in the Age of Big Data” (co-author), in Re-Envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education (May, 2018). See:
  • “Archival Management and Administration,” in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (Third Edition, 2010);
  • Managing Archival and Manuscript Repositories (2004);
  • America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe’s Cultural Treasures (2006, Paperback edition 2009).

DCIC at UMD Social Justice Day


Google Document for Discussion / Viewing

Mapping Inequality Website:


News Articles about Mapping Inequality

(1) The New York Times:

Lines like these, drawn in cities across the country to separate “hazardous” and “declining” from “desirable” and “best,” codified patterns of racial segregation and disparities in access to credit. Now economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, analyzing data from recently digitized copies of those maps, show that the consequences lasted for decades. As recently as 2010, they [researchers] find, differences in the level of racial segregation, homeownership rates, home values and credit scores were still apparent where these boundaries were drawn.

“Did the creation of these maps actually influence the development of urban neighborhoods over the course of the 20th century to now?” said Bhash Mazumder, one of the Fed researchers, along with Daniel Aaronson and Daniel Hartley. “That was our primary question.”

(2) National Geographic:

“These residential decisions had decades-long consequences,” Connolly adds. “So much of the wealth inequality that exists in America is driven by inequality in real estate market and the ability to generate equity and pass it down from one generation to the next.”

(3) Washington Post:

Nearly 70 percent of formerly redlined communities in Baltimore remain predominantly minority, as well as lower income. Even neighborhoods in western Baltimore that had been rated as “desirable” subsequently became populated with minority, low-income residents as middle-class whites fled to the suburbs, researchers said.


SAA ERS Blog on DCIC – Partnerships in Advancing Digital Archival Education

The blog of the Electronic Records Section] of the Society of American Archivists was founded to foster communication and collaboration within the ERS and across the wider archival community. The DCIC is honored to have a blog published on the work we are doing in advancing Digital Archival Education at the University of Maryland.

To read our blog, please see:

Meeting with Executives from the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office at the University of Maryland (Feb 15, 2018)

The DCIC on February 15 hosted a team from the Baltimore City Mayor’s
office to demonstrate DCIC work, capabilities, and the empowerment of
students to innovate for social good. The visitors found good ideas from the
DCIC demonstrations that could be leveraged into a small implementation
project during this debut year for the Baltimore City IT/Tech Master Plan.