About the Project


The website “The Afterlives of Government Documents” houses digital projects that are multimedia investigations accompanying the dissertation titled "The Afterlives of Government Documents: Information Labor, Archival Power, and the Visibility of U.S. Human Rights Violations in the 'War on Terror'” by Rachel Daniell, deposited in February 2020 at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. The website is an online home for digital projects that act as ancillary components to the dissertation. The dissertation overall examines the way layers of meaning are generated through the interaction of archivists with the government documents they organize, focusing on U.S. government records of “The War on Terror.” At the heart of the research are questions about access to potential evidence of human rights violations under the George W. Bush administration during 2001-2009, as well as questions of the power of information labor in terms of what new possibilities for accessing information the interaction between persons and documents generates -- these are investigated through exploring new utilizations of digital archive record metadata and through mapping material traces of redaction and document withdrawal visible in archived records. “The Afterlives of Government Documents” website is a home for online digital visualizations and projects related to this research, including: "The Materiality of Redaction" and "Confronting Documentation of the 'War on Terror.'"



This project was made possible by the invaluable technical support and community of the New Media Lab at The Graduate Center, CUNY

Pratt Institute's Data Analytics and Visualization Program has also provided skills training, support, and community that make the realization of portions of this project possible.

The researcher is deeply grateful to the ACLU staff lawyers and programmers for their generous time answering questions about the ACLU Torture FOIA Database, and the researchers, indexing staff, and community liaisons at the National Security Archives.

The researcher also thanks Professor Victoria Sanford for her support.