The toolkit consists of several main types of components (which are more fully described further down):

  • A collection of case studies
  • A set of readings (articles, books, blog posts, project reports, etc.)
  • An annotated set of exemplary projects and curricula
  • An annotated listing of communities and organizations where cultural heritage practitioners can connect with others on specific topics relevant to Design for Diversity
  • Orientation materials on using the toolkit: e.g. scoping, guidance on curriculum design, guidance on persuasion (i.e. working with resistant or unfamiliar audiences
  • A glossary of technical concepts with links to resources for further learning
  • A set of synthetic ”study paths” that provide a way into these materials by grouping together selected resources and providing some questions, analysis, activities, or other forms of engagement with them. Study paths should offer both a pedagogical study path (e.g. a course module, an assignment) and also prompts aimed at a self-guided learner engaged in self-empowerment or further study.
  • A bibliography of all resources in the toolkit including readings, case studies, tools, exemplary projects and curricular materials, and other resources
  • Mechanisms for user-contributed resources such as curricular examples, audio/video of classroom experiences, records of experiments (which might arise from classroom projects)

Case studies, pedagogical study paths, readings, and exemplary projects and curricula will have associated metadata to assist in organization and discovery including:

  • A small set of broad topic areas
  • A larger and finer-grained set of thematic keywords (using a controlled vocabulary to be developed) such as specific identity categories, areas of specialization, and research issues that cut across the broad topic areas
  • Basic Dublin Core metadata (creator, creation date, possibly other fields)
  • For the study paths, two additional fields describing the mode and genre of the path


Types of Materials



The smallest individual units of information and narrative which the toolkit offers are “resources”: items of study that can be combined in many different ways. They are the raw materials from which teachers and learners might develop curricula and self-guided study paths.

The toolkit includes several different types of resources:

  • Case studies are short (about 1000-2500 word), concrete reflections on real-world challenges and examples, providing grounded examples for students and professionals to think with. In relation to more theoretical and speculative readings, the case studies offer specific, situated knowledge arising from practitioner experience. Case studies explore how a particular situation and set of outcomes were shaped by local circumstances (cost constraints, people, work practices, content, environment, audience, etc.) and yield insight into the impact of specific factors and influences. These studies are recruited via a widely distributed call for proposals as well as invitations to individual projects and researchers.
  • The readings list is a collection of readings on topics relevant to the D4D topic areas, including articles, books, websites, reports, standards, and other materials. It is stored as a Zotero library with topical keywords to assist in searching and organization. Depending on the size of the bibliography, we may develop a shorter annotated bibliography of especially relevant readings.
  • Model projects are projects (including digital publications but also practical initiatives such as cataloguing efforts or educational programs) from which teachers and learners can derive valuable examples and prompts for reflection. To be included, projects of this kind should have some visible, legible online presence that can be examined, ideally via documentation, a user interface, or some other material. (If the project is chiefly discoverable via a published article, it would also be represented in the Bibliography, and in some cases it may also be represented in a case study.)
  • Model curricula are pedagogical scenarios (including workshops, formal courses, degree programs, individual course modules and assignments, etc.) from which teachers and learners can derive examples on which to model further pedagogy. To be included in the toolkit, these materials should involve some consideration of issues of social justice and diversity in relation to the management of cultural information (broadly speaking).
  • Communities of practice are places (either in-person, such as conferences, or online, such as email lists) where issues of inclusion in cultural heritage information systems are discussed.

All resources are also listed in the D4D Bibliography, which is currently maintained in Zotero.


Study paths

While the “resources” described above will be browsed and explored directly (through keywords and listings), to support the specifically pedagogical goals of D4D the toolkit also provides pedagogical “study paths” into the material that are intended to suggest how teachers and learners might use the toolkit’s resources in courses and workshops (for instance, as part of a prompt for a written assignment or an in-class discussion), and also for self-guided study.

The study paths are small pedagogical units (analogous to course modules or units, sessions in a workshop, or individual learning activities) that combine one or more resources with descriptive elements such as assignment prompts, discussion topics, or study questions, to provide a complete prompt for a specific pedagogical activity. So for instance, a study path on metadata design might reference a reading (e.g. Billey et al.) and suggest discussion questions that ask learners to consider two different case studies (e.g. one focused on race and one focused on disability) in relation to the questions raised by the article. Another study path using the same resources might describe an assignment or in-class activity in which learners experiment with developing an exemplary controlled vocabulary that addresses the critiques of RDA discussed in the Billey article, and then discuss their results. While the study paths will address specific pedagogical scenarios, they will also include language that invites a broader audience of self-guided learners to undertake a similar activity.

Any given study path might pull out one category of identity for focus, while remaining open to other ways of inflecting the activity (so for instance an article may focus on gender identity, but raises questions that could potentially be extended to considerations of race).

Each study path should include:

  • A brief description of the curricular activity (including an explanation of how the study path could be used in specific pedagogical contexts)
  • A list of the resources it draws upon
  • A set of metadata:
    • One or more topics
    • One or more keywords
    • Potentially more to be developed
  • Supporting and contextualizing materials

In addition to the “resources” and “study paths” the toolkit may in the future include a variety of supporting materials. These might be:

  • Orientation materials that welcome readers, invite them to explore, and provide an understanding of the scope of the toolkit (i.e. what it does and does not seek to cover). These materials might include pages with guidance on curriculum design, guidance on persuasion (i.e. working with resistant or unfamiliar audiences), discussion of how readers can empower themselves and learn from empowering examples in the case studies, and suggestions on where to start for those new to the domain.
  • A glossary of technical concepts with links to external resources for further learning. Authors of case studies will be invited to propose items for the glossary, and readers will be invited to suggest additions using a contribution form on the page.
  • User-contributed resources such as curricular examples, audio/video of classroom experiences, samples of student work.


To support exploration and discovery of relevant materials, the resources and study paths will all carry several metadata fields. Briefly, these fields are:
● Topic: a division of the D4D subject domain into topical areas to help us ensure breadth of coverage across the range of “design” spaces in cultural heritage information management systems and processes
● Keyword: a finer-grained identification of issues and subjects covered in the resource
● Creator: the author(s) or entity/ies responsible for the resource
● Creation date



The resources listed above will each have one or more “topic” associated with it, to aid in discovery and organization of the toolkit. These are topical areas that will provide one possible point of access to the toolkit materials, and will also help us ensure that the toolkit covers a range of different areas of “design” and information handling. The “topics” are broad subject areas representing different strategic spaces within which issues of diversity and social justice play out. Terms like race, gender, ethnicity, disability, indigeneity, and socioeconomic status are treated as cross-cutting keywords (described below) rather than as organizing topics, since they will appear so pervasively throughout the toolkit materials.

This is an initial list of topics, revised and expanded in discussion with the Advisory Board and Core Design Group:

  • Selection: Selection of material, shaping and building of collections, process of gathering from “outside” the organization, or from members within the organization
  • System and tool design: assumptions built into software tools, data management systems, software code; may include algorithms, but also larger systems
  • Algorithmic bias: Automated data processing, algorithms and algorithmic bias including information retrieval and processing, text processing algorithms, ethics and social/political factors surrounding this
  • Metadata and nomenclatures: Metadata, controlled vocabularies, nomenclatures and naming conventions
  • User experience: User interfaces, user interaction design, and the ways interfaces organize and hail knowledge and identity; the role of transparency in making underlying design choices clear
  • Intellectual and cultural property: Issues of intellectual and cultural property, the ethics of sharing and open access, control of knowledge and decision-making about access and usage, repatriation and relationships with originating cultures, post-custodial approaches
  • Curation and remix: Curatorial behaviors, responsible digitization and transcription, contextualization and exhibition design, practices of remixing, reuse and narrativization, repatriation and relationships with originating cultures
  • Ethical partnerships and process: Community partnering, establishing and sustaining relationships with originators and users, processes for making change including participatory design
  • Spaces: Environments of technology and technology use that can deeply affect the experience of using cultural heritage information systems



The keywords are a more fine-grained set of descriptors that reflect the many different themes and discovery points for the toolkit resources. The initial set of keywords was developed for use in the Zotero bibliography, and will be expanded and refined as we apply it to the other resources. It is not structured as a hierarchical taxonomy but rather is treated as a flat set of terms. Each resource may have as many keywords as apply to it. We anticipate that keywords will be an important way for readers interested in specific themes and subject areas (such as indigenous languages, LGBTQ issues, zines, RDA, repositories, etc.) to find specific materials of relevance.


Use Cases

These are specific educational contexts or scenarios that will serve, during the toolkit development process, as a way of discovering where/how the specific study paths fit in. Each use case should ideally be based on an actual course, workshop, or other scenario that members of the CDG and grant team have seen or taken part in. The use cases serve as a heuristic for the CDG to envision audience, usage, and also as a heuristic for scoping: i.e. to identify which teaching situations we are and are not supporting.

Types of pedagogical spaces we are targeting in this first phase:

  • LIS/GLAM/CS/DH/etc. courses (i.e. formal coursework and professional training for people seeking jobs in GLAM, DH, technical fields)
  • Workshop (short formal event, hands-on, focused on a discrete topic)
  • On-the-job professional development (training sessions, professional guidance, webinars)
  • Self-study (individual or group seeking knowledge and empowerment, guidance on advocacy)

A list of illustrative examples:

  • Pre-conference workshops within varied disciplines (ALA, DLF, Museums on the Web, AHA, etc.)
  • LIS courses in formal educational settings
  • CodeAcademy/Programming Historian/self-study options on the web
  • LAM, DH, or CS courses in formal educational settings (distinct from LIS courses in that archives and museum-related courses may occur in non-LIS programs and schools)
  • On the job training/orientation materials for developers/programmers, e.g for DH centers and other kinds of professional spaces that hire programmers from industry
    Resources for “the lone arranger”: single librarians/archivists/curators
  • ALA, ACRL, DLF, SAA, library consortia (AMIGOS, LYRASIS) other national-level or regional-level association online education (certification/webinar)
    • Including online webinars for a state library association or regional library consortium which are in particular one of the main ways cultural heritage practitioners rural areas access professional development
  • Self-study group in a working environment