Community Agreements and Code of Conduct

The Lighting the Way project is committed to providing a productive, inclusive and welcoming environment for discussion and collaboration about archival discovery and delivery, following the Stanford University Libraries policy on workplace and sponsored conference conduct. To support this and to further the goals of the project, we expect all participants to follow our Community Agreements and Code of Conduct, including project staff, advisors, event participants, and other contributors.

The Community Agreements outline ways in which we encourage and expect each other to hold safe, engaging, and respectful discussions. The Code of Conduct outlines behaviors which will not be tolerated, how to report concerns or incidents, and how the code will be applied.

Community Agreements

Our project seeks to address the broader challenge of how to improve archival discovery and delivery, or what people and systems do to find, access, and use materials from archives and special collections. We recognize that this work is supported by a wide range of responsibility and kinds of expertise, across institutional contexts, levels of resourcing, and the types of communities we serve. We also recognize that people may be discouraged or excluded from these conversations in a local context based on their identity or systemic issues including racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and more. To this end, we have established a core set of principles for the project:

  • We believe everyone has something to contribute; not everyone needs to be a self-identified expert.
  • We focus on shared and holistic concerns and recommendations, rather than focusing on specific technologies or tools.
  • We enable the adaptability of recommendations across contexts, communities, levels of resourcing.
  • We develop recommendations consciously as an inclusive expression of professional ethics and values.

To be truly transformational, our work must be conducted in a space that acknowledges the power dynamics of bringing together workers across professional contexts, roles, and job classifications, acknowledging institutional privilege, and the lack of representation of marginalized people within the archives, library, and technology sectors.

We expect all participants to practice community by agreeing to the following:

  • To ensure only one person speaks at a time, and consider pausing to allow those who need more time to process or interject in conversation to do so.
  • To make space and take space - encourage and yield the floor to those whose viewpoints may be under-represented in a group, and take space made for you as you’re able.
  • To listen to and respect a person’s description of their experiences, including but not limited to those related to marginalization and discrimination.
  • To recognize the interdependent nature of our work to support archival discovery and delivery.
  • To acknowledge that choices around practice, implementation, and technology vary widely and can be dependent on the availability of resources, and to respect our work as incremental.
  • To provide a space where everyone can feel comfortable participating, even if they don’t use specific terminology or the perfect way to express their ideas or knowledge.
  • To embrace curiosity and creativity, allowing for the opportunity to try new ideas, consider other perspectives, and establish new patterns.
  • To use welcoming language (including a person’s pronouns) and favoring gender-neutral collective nouns (“folks” or “y’all,” not “guys”).
  • To give credit where it's due, and to uplift each other’s work and ideas.
  • To accept critique and feedback graciously, and to offer it constructively.
  • To seek concrete ways to make our physical spaces and online resources more universally accessible.
  • To acknowledge the difference between intent and impact, and to look for ways to take responsibility for negative impact that we have.
  • To be aware of time, respecting the commitment of all participants and project staff to accomplish the goals of the meeting.
  • To take the moments that everyone needs to care for ourselves and their community, by paying attention to the needs of your body and mind, and to the welfare of those around us.

Code of Conduct

The Lighting the Way project seeks to provide participants with opportunities for collaboration that are free from all forms of harassment and inclusive of all people. All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, national or regional origin, body size, accent, race, age, religion, or other marginalized characteristics are inappropriate. Do not insult or put down other participants. Be careful in the words that you choose. Sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes are not appropriate.

Harassment is understood as any behavior that threatens or demeans another person or group, or produces an unsafe environment. It includes offensive verbal comments or non-verbal expressions that reinforce social structures of domination; sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online); deliberate intimidation, stalking, following; threats or incitement of violence; photography or recording without clear permission; sustained disruption of presentations or discussion; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

Photography and Recording

Presentations from the Lighting the Way Forum will be live-streamed and recorded, and the project team will consider live-streaming and recording the final session of the Working Meeting. All speakers are required to review and sign Stanford University’s speaker release form.

We otherwise ask you to not photograph or record fellow participants without permission of all those present. Please ensure when taking group photos that everyone in the picture agrees where the photograph will be shared. If you wish to record at the event for personal use, please speak with the project team before each event.

Applying the Code of Conduct

All project participants — including the project team, facilitators, and participants — are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct in person, in online spaces, and while present in any groups of project participants inside or outside a formal project event (e.g. including receptions and informal gatherings). Participants violating the Code of Conduct will be warned and may be asked to leave an event, and in some cases, may be asked to no longer participate in the project. If you are being harassed, witness another participant being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a person listed below.

For guidance on how to address reports of violations of the Code of Conduct or Community Agreements, see “Procedures for Responding to Violations of the Code of Conduct and Community Agreements” (included in the Lighting the Way Forum Playbook).

Contact information for Forum Code of Conduct responders

The project team and designated facilitators will be on hand to respond to Code of Conduct violations and assist in following the Community Agreements. If you witness, suspect, or are the target of a violation of the Code of Conduct at an event, contact one of the people in the list provided by the event organizers. At in-person events, they are identifiable by distinctive striped lanyards for their badges. For virtual events, including the Working Meeting, please contact a facilitator member of the project team fromm the list provided.


The Community Agreements and Code of Conduct were developed through consultation and adaptation of a number of existing sources, including: