Negotiating Online Access

Perspectives on Ethical Issues in Digital Collections


  • Cristela Garcia-Spitz UC San Diego Library, Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology
  • Noah Geraci University of California, Riverside Library



How do we act as responsible stewards of archival collections in the digital realm, with a reflective eye toward issues of privacy, ethics, and cultural sensitivity; while working with technological infrastructures that tend not to share these priorities? What strategies can be used to work within and around the limitations of existing systems, especially in regard to the nuances of privacy and access, and to advocate for further development that treats these concerns as core requirements rather than special cases?

This article will provide practical considerations around the real-world work of building ethical digital collections. Framed as an asynchronous, semi-structured interview between two archivists working in academic libraries with digital collections management and culturally sensitive materials, we will draw examples from work with anthropological archives and academic-community archives partnerships. How do we do this work within our existing systems for digital asset management and aggregation, and how can we make them better?

Pre-print first published online 10/14/2021

Author Biographies

Cristela Garcia-Spitz, UC San Diego Library, Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology

Cristela Garcia-Spitz is the Digital Initiatives Librarian and Curator for the Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology at the UC San Diego Library, where she collaborates across areas of the library, campus, and community on projects to ensure the long-term accessibility, use, and preservation of the University’s unique collections available at

Noah Geraci, University of California, Riverside Library

Noah Geraci is the Digital Assets Metadata Librarian at the University of California, Riverside library.  He works on digital initiatives and metadata projects across library departments to promote access, preservation and use of unique digital collections.