Transforming Knowledge | Transforming Libraries Research Project

IMLS logo

In Spring 2017, the UCI Libraries was awarded a 3-year Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant in the community anchors category for "Transforming Knowledge/Transforming Libraries." This research project will explore the outcomes of undergraduate students applying what they learn in ethnic studies combined with lived experience in contributing to community archives. The research team will partner with the UCI departments of Asian American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies and African American Studies, as well as stakeholders representing organizations throughout Orange County, California. Additionally, this collaborative partnership will work to connect library and information studies practice with the ethnic studies curriculum and provide undergraduates with first-hand experience in building and providing access to the digital cultural heritage of under-represented communities.

The grant proposal can be accessed here

The project was completed on June 30, 2020.


News & Updates

Summit Proceedings, Research Dataset, and Final Report Now Available

June 30, 2020

The "Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries" research project was completed on June 30, 2020 in accordance with the parameters of the IMLS grant. However, we are pleased to share that the research data, virtual summit proceedings, and final report are now published in Dryad and eScholarship. 

  • Yun, A., Zavala, J., Tribbett, K., & Vo Dang, T. (2020). Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries Virtual Summit Proceedings. UC Irvine: Libraries. Retrieved from 
  • Yun, A., Zavala, J., Tribbett, K., & Vo Dang, T. (2020). Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries - Researching the Intersections of Ethnic Studies and Community Archives: Final Report. UC Irvine: Libraries. Retrieved from 
  • Yun, Audra; Zavala, Jimmy; Tribbett, Krystal; Vo Dang, Thuy (2020), Transforming knowledge, transforming libraries research project dataset, v5, UC Irvine, Dataset, 

Congratulations to Jimmy Zavala!

June 15, 2020

We are excited to announce that Project Coordinator Librarian Jimmy Zavala has been appointed the inaugural Library Special Collections Teaching & Learning Librarian at UCLA. This permanent position will be dedicated to the "design and implement a robust instruction program that integrates material from Special Collections into undergraduate and graduate curriculum with a focus on critical inquiry and active learning. The goal is to develop a framework that facilitates students' critical engagement with original research using primary source materials."

See more about Jimmy's new position here: Jimmy starts his position on June 29, 2020. Congratulations, Jimmy -- we will miss you but we look forward to continued partnership and collaboration!

Save the Date: A Symposium on Community-Centered Archives

May 1, 2020

Symposium Website

The goal of the symposium is to bring together scholars, educators, library professionals, students, and community members to explore the intersection of community archives and ethnic studies theory and practice. More specifically, the symposium seeks to foster dialogue and action around two questions:

What is the impact of dialogue between community archives practice and ethnic studies theory and grassroots efforts to represent marginalized histories?

What are the ways in which students can address the silences and historical erasures prevalent in the archival record by becoming record creators?

The symposium will include such elements as:

  • Round tables featuring community archivists and scholars
  • Exhibits featuring our community partners
  • Breakout sessions
  • Mini-workshops and mini-tours

More updates and registration information can be found on the symposium website

Work in Progress: Community Digital Archives Clinic

February/March 2020

Our team is working with the California Digital Library to develop a free and simple tool to contribute digital content to Calisphere, the California Digital Library's (CDL) gateway to California’s cultural heritage. In early 2020 we will host a workshop/clinic for collaborators in the Orange County, California region to talk about partnerships, gather critical feedback, and pursue opportunities to share our region's distinctive history. 

NOTE: This event was canceled due to COVID-19 and replaced with virtual consultations, which took place on March 13, 2020.

Announcing the Second TKTL Summer Cohort 

June 26, 2019

The Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries Research Team is happy to announce the start of the second and final summer cohort for the research project. The following students have been selected to be a part of cohort: Joseph Cheung, Erika Guzman Cornejo, Chloe Davidson, Maria Guerrero, Erika Herrera, Akif Khan, Joann Lozano, Vian Nguyen, Victoria Nguyen, Genesis Peinder, K. Persinger, Arianna Rodriguez, Catherine Tran, Michelle Tran, and Yvette Vargas. For the next ten weeks, these paid undergraduate interns will learn about community archives through readings, invited guest speakers in the profession of archives and librarianship, and hands-on activities in the classroom. Outside the classroom, students will work on archival projects with community partners, applying the theory they are learning into practice. The community partners for this year’s summer cohort are Christ Our Redeemer, The Cambodian Family, Orange County Heritage Museum, Southern California Library, the LGBT Center OC, and Santa Ana History Room. Students will be divided into groups and work on different archival projects, including helping to process archival collections, conducting oral histories, and arranging, rehousing, inventorying, and digitizing photographs to be made available to the public. The TKTL research team would like to thank the community partners for collaborating with us for the next ten weeks.

The cohort syllabus can be accessed here.

Fall Quarter Update

December 20, 2018

The Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries research team wrapped up another successful quarter of collaborations as the project enters the second of its three-year grant. For the fall quarter, the research team collaborated with Dr. Bridget Cooks African-American Women in the Visual Arts course; Dr. Judy Wu’s Asian-American Histories course; and Dr. Louis Desipio’s Research in the Latino Community course. The research team was able to work with over 190 students throughout the quarter. The following are the number of surveys the research team received as well as the number of students who participated in the instruction workshop:

190 students completed the entrance survey. The goal of the entrance survey is to gather demographic data for the research team to better understand who our student are and tailor our workshops to them as much as possible.

193 students participated in the instruction workshop. In this instruction, students are introduced to the concept of community archives and the way community archives challenge traditional power dynamics involved in the identification, collection, preservation, and provision of access to history. The workshop portion consist of students engaging with archival material from the special collections department as well as reflecting on one's own identity/community and what might be missing from the historical record.

119 students completed the exit survey. The goal of the exit survey is to assess how students have transformed their thinking about libraries and archives after the workshop with us and a full quarter of being in their ethnic studies class.

The Research team would like to think Dr. Cooks, Dr. Desipio, Dr. Wu, and their students for participating in the research project this quarter.

Justin Chou joins TKTL Project as Programmer Analyst

October 3, 2018

The Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries team is happy to welcome Justin Chou to be a part of the research project. As the programmer analyst, Justin will help develop a digital collections portal with the goal of providing our community partners with a platform to upload their physical collections online. Justin received his B.A. from UC Riverside in Business and an MA in Software Engineering from California Baptist University.

Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries Begins Second of Three Year Research Project

September 25, 2018


Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries is beginning the second of its three year IMLS funded research project this Fall quarter. For the Fall quarter, the research team is collaborating with Dr. Bridget Cooks (African American Studies) and her African American Women and the Visual Arts course, Dr. Judy Wu (Asian American Studies) and her Asian American Histories course, and Dr. Louis Desipio (Chicano/Latino Studies) for his Research in the Latino Community course.

As was the case in the first year of the project, the research team will carry out an entrance survey at the beginning of the quarter followed by a workshop where students will be instructed on community archives and will interact with archival material from special collections. At the end of the quarter, an exit survey will also be administered to students to measure what they learned about community archives and to see if they are interested in pursuing an MLIS degree in the future.

Report on first Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries Summer Cohort Program

September 3, 2018

As part of the IMLS research grant, 15 paid undergraduate students from the ethnic studies departments at UC Irvine were recruited to participate in the first Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries Summer Cohort Program. The students that comprised the cohort were: Jesus Alejandre, Van Bui, Jocelyn Contreras, Petra Fabiola De La Cruz, Alberto Dauto, Kyla Garcia, Teresa Gaspar, Mayra Guerrero, Norma Elena Hernandez, Alejandra Jeronimo, Silvia Navarro-Hernandez, Rayne Patsachon Pothong, May Qin, Kurt Solano and Chi Song. For ten weeks, these students learned about foundational archival concepts and practice, in particular community archives, and acquired hands-on community-based archival experience by pairing up with five local Orange County community organizations to aid in various archival projects. The goal of the cohort was to provide students with the skills and tools to collect, preserve, and make accessible community history from a theoretical and practical standpoint.

Students were divided into groups of five and were partnered up with the community partners based on their interests. The community partners included the Orange Public Library, Santa Ana History Room, Heritage Museum of Orange County, the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA), and Collective in Resistance for Ecological and Cultural Empowerment (CRECE). Projects students worked on consisted of transcribing oral histories from the Cypress street barrio and digitization of Orange High School yearbooks; creating catalogue records for individual items; a photo archive project from different VAALA events; documenting the significance of the marigold flower as it pertains to dia de los muertos through interviews with community members in Santa Ana; and work on the Harriet Tyler collection, a collection begun by Harriet Tyler, an African-American woman who resided in Santa Ana and decided to document the African-American community in Santa Ana and Orange County at large.

On August 30th, students presented on the projects they worked on, their experiences in the cohort, and how they plan to apply what they learned outside of the cohort. After their presentations, students were presented with certificates in recognition of their work and completion of the program. If interested, you can view the student presentations here.

The TKTL research team would like to thank the following individuals for working with the students and overseeing their archival projects: Dylan Almendral (Santa Ana History Room), Kevin Cabrera (Heritage Museum of Orange County), Lizeth Ramirez (Orange Public Library), Abel Ruiz (CRECE), and Thuy Vo Dang (VAALA).

The research team would also like to thank the following individuals for their participation as guest speakers and for providing the student cohort with their knowledge and insight on archives and librarianship: Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez, Jessica Bell, Stacy Brinkman, Michelle Caswell, Anne Frank, Joyce Gabiola, Mary Haberle,  Susan Needham,Nancy Olmos, Annie Pho, Karen Quintiliani, Kai Alexis Smith, Adrian Turner, Thuy Vo Dang, and Ziba Zehdar.

Lastly, thanks to UCI libraries for all of their support in making the Summer Cohort Program a success.

Summer Cohort Program Kicks-Off this Week

June 25, 2018

Tomorrow, June 26, the first Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries Summer Cohort Program will officially commence. Fifteen students have been selected to participate in the summer cohort and they are: Jesus Alejandre, Van Bui, Jocelyn Contreras, Petra Fabiola De La Cruz, Alberto Dauto, Kyla Garcia, Teresa Gaspar, Mayra Guerrero, Norma Elena Hernandez, Alejandra Jeronimo, Silvia Navarro-Hernandez, Rayne Patsachon Pothong, May Qin, Kurt Solano and Chi Song . For the next ten weeks, these students will be partnering up with the Collective in Resistance for Ecological and Cultural Empowerment (CRECE), Heritage Museum of Orange County, Orange Public Library, the Santa Ana History Room, and the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) and work on different archival projects throughout the summer. These students will also learn basic principles of community archives and librarianship through readings, lectures and a variety of archivists and librarians who will be coming in to speak to the students about their experiences and the work that they do. We are very excited and looking forward to working with an amazing group of students. Congratulations to the first student cohort of the TKTL summer cohort program!

Spring Quarter Collaborations and Preparing for Society of California Archivists Presentation

April 3, 2018

This Spring quarter, the Transforming Knowledge/Transforming Libraries research team is collaborating with two more faculty from the ethnic studies departments at UC Irvine. The research team is collaborating with Dr. Linda Vo from the Asian American Studies department and Dr. Gil Conchas from the Chicano/Latino Studies department. With these two collaborations, the research team has partnered with eight different courses in the firts year of the project. Combined with the collaborations that took place in the Fall and Winter quarters, 391 students have completed the entrance survey, 150 have completed the exit survey, and over 250 students have participated in the workshop.

The research team is also preparing to present at the Society of California Archivists’ Annual General Meeting in April in Yosemite, California. The panel, titled Transforming Knowledge/Transforming Libraries: A Community-Centered Archives Approach will provide an overview of the project focusing on project design, implementation, and early results, as well as expectations and modifications for the project moving forward. The panel consists of Audra Eagle Yun, Thuy Vo Dang, Jimmy Zavala, Dr. Dorothy Fujita-Rony from the Asian American Studies department at UCI, and Jillian Cuellar from UCLA’s Special Collections department.

Meet the Research Team

Audra Eagle Yun (Principal Investigator)
Head of Special Collections & Archives
University Archivist

Krystal Tribbett
Curator for Orange County Regional History
Research Librarian for Orange County

Thuy Vo Dang
Curator for the Southeast Asian Archive
Research Librarian for Asian American Studies

Jimmy Zavala
Project Coordinator Librarian

UCI Libraries Project Team

Colby Riggs (Project Manager)
Project and Operational Improvement Librarian

Laura Smart (Digital Product)
Head of Digital Scholarship Services

Stacy Nakamura Brinkman (Summer Cohort)
Head of Education & Outreach

UCI Libraries Human Resources

UCI Libraries Business Office

UCI Libraries Information Technology

Our Advisory Board

Bridget Cooks
Chair, African American Studies
Associate Professor of African American Studies and Art History
UC Irvine

Louis DeSipio
Professor and Chair, Chicano/Latino Studies
Professor of Political Science
Director, Center for the Study of Democracy
UC Irvine

Judy Wu
Professor and Chair, Asian American Studies
UC Irvine

Vicki Ruiz
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and Chicano/Latino Studies
UC Irvine

Michelle Caswell
Assistant Professor of Archival Studies, Department of Information Studies
Co-Founder, South Asian American Digital Archive

Ricky Punzalan
Assistant Professor of Archives and Digital Curation, College of Information Studies
Co-Director, Graduate Program in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture
University of Maryland

Cathy Schlund-Vials
Professor of English, Asian and Asian American Studies
Director, Asian and Asian American Studies Institute
University of Connecticut

Joseph Morales
Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships
Office of Inclusive Excellence
UC Irvine