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Rockefeller Archive Center Digital Program Values

The values of the Rockefeller Archive Center's Digital Program inform how we work together as a team, as well as how we interact with our RAC colleagues, researchers, donors, and other external partners. They support and shape our strategic goals and provide a standard by which we measure our daily work. They exist to make us a part of a community of practice that engages technology from a basis of values and care, not to set us apart from our colleagues, researchers, donors, or other external partners.

We respect and contribute to a vibrant culture based on these values, and raise concerns clearly when they are not being followed by members of the Digital Programs team. We review our values on an annual basis and revise them as necessary.

Engage and empower users.

We serve multiple constituencies and always work for the good of others. Engage with users to understand their needs, prioritize solutions, and produce outcomes that provide high-quality and useful services for researchers, donors and RAC staff. Provide the care, resources, and training necessary for users to feel empowered to use and troubleshoot systems. Approach work with empathy and humility: listening before solving, valuing the work of others, and recognizing that we still have room to learn.

Provide ethical access

Respect researchers' privacy.

Support remote and on-site researchers' right to privacy and confidentiality. Advocate for sensible data retention policies and gathering minimal data.

Support broad and equitable access to archival materials.

Barriers to access including processing delays, unnecessary access restrictions, and complex use policies affect researchers unequally. Advocate for an inclusive community of researchers and research methodologies by supporting and developing systems and processes that enable all researchers to discover, evaluate and retrieve archival materials.

Collaborate

Build networks, not silos.

Break down silos between people, departments, and institutions by implementing systems that are open and interoperable, using open-source standards and tools whenever possible. Harness colleagues' unique skills and expertise by seeking out opportunities for collaboration.

Practice intentional communication.

Start by listening and move towards collective action. Create safe spaces in which ideas and feedback are heard and understood, and timely responses are provided.

Create a culture of learning

Learn constantly by taking strategic risks.

Embrace and learn from failure to inform future decisions. Strive for excellence, but don’t let the pursuit of perfection intimidate or immobilize your efforts. Test solutions and workflows out before implementation and learn through small, iterative changes. Take informed risks, but use safety nets like version control and backups to reduce downtime.

Invest in yourself and the profession.

All parts of the archival enterprise are connected; we rely on each other’s skills and knowledge. Develop your expertise and share it with others through contributions to documentation, forums, presentations, publications, and professional organizations. Seek to build community by promoting broad dissemination of knowledge and collective skill-sharing through any means available.