Week Three – Collections and Contexts ?

Hi everyone,

Tim was in the Netherlands ?? this week so we were left to complete this week’s activities at home.

Starting off with an exercise in Google search we were asked to look up images of professional hairstyles and unprofessional hairstyles. I was really surprised when there were no Mohawks in sight for the unprofessional styles; instead the results were of natural African hair. Looking at professional hairstyles the results were starkly different, almost all white women! Though apparently Google’s search algorithm was ‘mirroring conversations about “unprofessional hair”’ I felt as if Google could have done more to avoid controversy and reputational risk though variation of its search results more (where were the Mohawks?!)

This exercise flowed into the topic of bias and selection for digital cultural material. I found a lot of the material difficult to follow without guidance. But the idea I got from it was that there is a lot of content that gets buried in search engines like Google and Trove, and the issues surrounding how we curate our online content like culturally sensitive or copyrighted materials.

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