Jake Tompkins Awarded Fellowship by the Coalition for Networked Information

MLIS student recognized for work on archive of contributions to human rights by incarcerated individuals.

Jake Tompkins, a MLIS student in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, has been honored with the Paul Even Peters Fellowship for graduate study in the library and information sciences by the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). Named in memory of Peters, CNI’s founding executive director, the fellowship recognizes outstanding scholarship, a commitment to democratic values, and imagination.

“The Paul Evan Peters Fellowship will support me in my graduate studies as I grow through my program by engaging in meaningful projects and exploring new avenues that allow me to weave together my passions for information technology and digital scholarship with a commitment to social justice and the advancement of human rights,” says Tompkins. 

Funded by a Digital Resource Development Initiative Grant from GSE&IS, Tompkins and his partner Julia Tanenbaum, who is also a MLIS student in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, are developing a “rebel archive,” highlighting the contributions of incarcerated individuals and members of groups such as the Black Panthers and the California Coalition of Women Prisoners to human rights. Their project, “Rebel Archives in the Golden Gulag,”  also documents the unlawful treatment of incarcerated individuals, including the threat of COVID-19 in prisons, by helping to build a data dashboard that maps the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in state and federal prisons across California. The project also documents hunger strikes and other types of protests by prisoners in response to the lack of protection from coronavirus. 

“Health and medical treatment disparities within carceral systems have become clearer than ever as we see surges in positive cases of COVID-19 and preventable deaths continue to occur among those incarcerated during the pandemic,” says Tompkins. “Vulnerable populations trapped within the walls of overcrowded and unsanitary facilities are stripped from their basic human needs and denied access to adequate medical attention, protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and the ability to socially distance, all of which are enforced on the outside and proven to prevent the spread of the virus. Simply put, ‘you cannot get well in a cell.’”

Tompkins received his B.S. in actuarial science from Florida State University. His main research interest is crisis informatics, in which information and communication technologies are used to respond to global emergencies. 

To view Tanenbaum and Tompkins’ work on “Rebel Archives in the Golden Gulag,” visit this link.

Courtesy of Jake Tompkins