As the Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Mary Borgo Ton develops digital resources, finding aids, and teaching materials in Spanish and English for Archivo Mesoamericano, a digital archive of videos created in collaboration with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico, the Institute of History of Nicaragua and Central America (IHNCA) in Nicaragua, and the Museum of the Word and the Image (MUPI) in El Salvador.
Her current research adopts digital approaches to screen-based media in the global south with a particular focus on nineteenth-century missionaries who traveled to Africa and Oceania with a magic lantern. Her most recent work includes: "Shining Lights: Magic Lanterns and the Missionary Movement, 1839—1868," a digital-born dissertation; "Magic lantern shows through a macroscopic lens: Topic modeling and mapping as methods for media archaeology," a forthcoming article in Early Popular Visual Culture; Livingstone’s Manuscripts in South Africa: A Critical Edition, for which she served as a project scholar and peer-reviewing editor; and “Lasers and plastics and slides, oh my!,” an adventure in experimental archaeology for the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
As part of IU Libraries, Mary collaborates with stakeholder institutions around the world to remediate historic slides, manuscripts, and cultural objects in order to increase access to these materials, critique the limitations of current digitization practices, and foreground perspectives from the global south through digital collections. Digitally remediating historical documents and cultural objects through publicly accessible collections and virtual museums promotes continued scholarly conversations about global history. To foreground underrepresented voices in the colonial archive, these recovery projects rely heavily on thoughtful coding practices, carefully crafted scholarly framing, clearly articulated project documentation, and collaborative editing practices. Grappling with the inheritance that digital archives received from their physical antecedents creates possibilities for more ethical and just representations in public-facing collections.
Mary received her Ph.D. in English with a concentration in British Literature and a minor in Victorian Studies from Indiana University in 2019. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Digital Arts and Humanities. In her former role as the Digital Pedagogy Specialist for the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities (IDAH), she collaborated with faculty, librarians, and staff to design class materials that introduced students to discipline-specific analytical skills through digital approaches.
Mary's pronouns are she/her/hers.