Our Methods

 The Archive of Healing™ currently features tens of thousands of data points, and has hundreds of thousands of data points awaiting the director’s review. When Dr. David Delgado Shorter transitioned the previous incarnation of this site (the Archive of Traditional Medicine) to its current platform, he worked with a team of coders and card reviewers to develop a search engine which would curate data according to users’ specific interests and training. While the newly named Archive of Healing initially launched with the help of machine learning, the archive improves tremendously with the assistance of card reviewers and advisory board members who flag and tag cards to improve their functionality. In the future, AH administrators will move behind-the-scenes data points from “hidden” to “visible”, and will open a portal where healers and researchers can submit new data on allopathic healing.

In the meantime, we prioritize co-maintaining an archive that respects intergenerational learning spaces, shares healing practices across cultures, and democratizes the ways people can work together to create healthier lifestyles.

 

As The Archive of Healing grows its user base, its team remains steadfast in its commitment to: 

  • Giving a platform for indigenous contributions to knowledge about healing
  • Addressing “health” as a collective and community-based goal 
  • Serving students, healers, scholars, and seekers with a safe space for critical discourse 
  • Promoting mindfulness of the historical exclusion of women and other marginalized populations from positions in medical and healing fields, as well as of current gatekeeping structures which prevent alternative knowledge keepers from gaining influence in clinical medicine. 
  • Correcting salvage ethnography by circulating any profits (from subscriptions, licensing agreements, investments, student labor) back to the communities where the knowledge was long-held
  • Providing communities of need with free access to healing and wellness knowledge outside of often expensive allopathic and pharmaceutical approaches; not as alternatives but as complementary modalities

 

Changes Made to Data

AH administrators and card reviewers retain the ability to change words or phrases featured on data cards should they find offensive or derogatory language, and in the past have swapped outdated phrases with text more legible for a modern audience. For example, a data point on pansy tea originally had the following text: “Pansy tea will relieve female trouble.” The text was edited to “Pansy tea will relieve menstruation pains.” Another example of a common edit is exchanging the dated term “dropsy” with the known clinical term “edema”. These small changes do not alter the original healing modality but are altered linguistically to make card material easier to read, understand, and use. The Archive of Healing makes a conscious effort to not change data which uses clear language or data that includes prayers or chants in which particular combined phrasings are thought to be efficacious in healing. This is especially true for data that includes sayings, stories, and interviews which would interest historians and archivists. 

As a portion of our data has been cosmetically altered, we recommend that archivists or historians cross-check the information in the Archive of Healing™ with the sources from which they were derived before citing content for research purposes.