Queer Digital History Project

MISSION

Logging queer history online, one site at a time.

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FAQ

What is the Queer Digital History Project (QDHP)?

The QDHP is an ongoing effort to document and preserve pre-2010 LGBTQ spaces online. Currently, it has 3 collections:

Why do we need the QDHP?

Since computer networking's inception, LGBTQ individuals (such as Tom Jennings or Mary Ann Horton, to name a few) have been key players in the development of digital platforms. From the 1980s onward, sysops (short for system operators) of various identities created and nurtured communities online, where individuals could network, find support, and access vital information.

However, the rise of commercial web providers like America Online and then social media platforms shifted attention and prospective members away from these smaller, ad-hoc spaces, which were often labors of love for their hosts. By collecting information and documents from this period, the QDHP provides necessary context for understanding the full scope of LGBTQ “net history”.

How does the QDHP organize its content? What terminology does it use?

The QDHP follows a policy similar to the Digital Transgender Archive: whenever possible, content is categorized using terminology derived from the document or contemporaneous descriptions. This practice, while it may not always reflect current preferred terms, aims to avoid retroactively applying labels to individuals or spaces who might not have identified with them—a politically fraught act.

What kind of content does the QDHP not hold?

The QDHP does not hold:

Moreover, the QDHP does not link to blog posts or similar “publicly private” communications about communities in the Catalog unless the author has given written consent for the post to be included.

Is access to any of the content on the QDHP restricted?

In most cases, content hosted on the QDHP will always be publicly available. However, complete archives of a community, when available, will come with some form of access restriction outlined on the file page itself.

How can I contribute to the QDHP?

Please feel free to suggest a community for inclusion using this form, or via email at adame@winona.edu. For files for the Primary Documents Archive, please email me directly.