It is with great excitement that the Penn Libraries announces the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Garcon as its new Bollinger Fellow in Public and Community Data Curation, an important post upholding the Penn Libraries’ commitment to open access and responsible data stewardship.
Garcon, who received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Miami in 2018, creates interdisciplinary scholarship on political activism in the Cold War Caribbean that highlights underrepresented populations and their archives. She is also a research associate with the Library of Congress’s Radio Preservation Task Force, working specifically to uncover, preserve, and archive radio collections of the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora.
During her two-year fellowship, Garcon will work with the Digital Scholarship Department to develop and expand sustainable models for the care of vulnerable collections of data. In this role, she will take the lead in developing partnerships and strategies that ensure equitable access to data and promote data advocacy.
“By partnering with under-resourced community organizations and local archives on the one hand and with state and public data producers on the other, I am working to expand the Penn Libraries’ capacity to support the care of vulnerable historic material,” said Garcon. Her interest in the role of power in shaping archival memory and how scholars and citizens can work to ensure equitable distribution of that power drives her work with Philadelphia-based collections at the Penn Libraries. Garcon explained that she is “always asking, ‘What can and should we do to make sure that, in fifty or a hundred years, the historical record reflects the dynamism of the city and its people?’”
At the Penn Libraries, Garcon’s work will take many forms, including collaborations with faculty, students, and community groups who share an interest in the recent history and present of Philadelphia’s black and Afrodiasporic population to make their own, locally-held collections last longer and remain part of the city’s legacy. Garcon will also support the Penn Libraries’ ongoing efforts toward using open government data and ensuring its long-term stability and safety in light of a changing world.
“Jenn has astounded me with the work she has already done for the Bollinger Fellow program,” said Laurie Allen, Director of Digital Scholarship at the Penn Libraries. “It’s been a great pleasure so far to host a Bollinger Fellow who has not only helped us expand and innovate within the library, but also has already had a great impact on the broader Penn and West Philly communities.”