Principles Guiding Our Work

The following principles guide our digital scholarship work and align with our larger mission and values and diversity strategic plan.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

We endeavor to make labor practices, research methods, and distribution of time and resources equitable and inclusive. We commit to prioritizing, as within our power, initiatives that work toward ensuring just, equitable, and inclusive outcomes. We will avoid supporting scholarship that goes against our DEI values or further marginalizes individuals and groups who have historically been discriminated against or oppressed. We believe digital scholarship should not cause harm, but when harm is unavoidable, we commit to mitigating the harm caused. 


We recognize the longstanding historical harms and oppressions that libraries and archives have committed as part of colonial practices rooted in white supremacy. We commit to supporting research that uses ethical approaches that do not further perpetuate harm on communities disproportionately affected by historic and systemic racism and neglect. As much as possible, we will work to dismantle entrenched racism and support work that takes reparative approaches to counteract that historical and ongoing harm.


We commit to principles of disability justice and affirming the value of disability culture. As part of this, we commit to supporting projects and technologies that use ethical, accessible approaches and do not further perpetuate the harm or exclusion of disabled individuals or communities. When we make use of a tool, technology, or platform, we will assess its accessibility, utilize best practices and relevant standards (including WCAG 2.1 AA), plan for alternative equitable access, and advocate for improved accessibility where needed.


We believe access to digital scholarship should be made as open as possible, though in some cases it should be closed to protect sensitive information or vulnerable communities. Where possible, we will use open standards, tools, and review processes to promote responsible long-term sustainability and access.


We endeavor to make our processes transparent and legible, and to provide proper attribution and compensation. This will be accomplished by adhering to best practices for collaboration and hiring in digital scholarship, by sharing our documentation, and providing opportunities for feedback.

Care and consent

We prioritize the consent of involved parties and believe it is central to our service model. Informed by the Consentful Tech project, we employ an opt-in model, where staff may choose to work on projects, and are empowered to decline if they don't have the capacity. We prioritize projects that have mechanisms for community accountability. Our goal is to center human needs throughout the research process.

Connection and partnership

We leverage the resources of the U-M Library and the University of Michigan to provide our digital scholarship service and to be a partner in the research, learning, and teaching processes. At the same time, we also recognize that there are limits to individual and organizational capacity.