Ethical Cataloging Gabrielle Daniello, Portland Public Library, Cataloging
Ethical Cataloging Gabrielle Daniello, Portland Public Library, Cataloging Librarian Kathryn Donahue, Colby College, Technical Services and Metadata Librarian Carin Dunay, Southern Maine Community College, Head Access & collection Services Peggy OKane, Maine State Library, Coordinator of Digital & Special Collections Deborah Tomaras, Lewiston Public Library, Collection Services Library
Technician Toward a Code of Ethics for Cataloging / Sheila A. Bair. University Libraries Faculty & Staff Publications 11 (2005) https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article =1011&context=library_pubs 1. The primary role and duty of the librarian is to connect relevant, appropriate information to the people who need it.
2. Catalogers are responsible for two powerful areas: Access Naming Dunay, Carin. Biases and ethical considerations when using controlled vocabularies / Carin Dunay and Deborah Tomaras.
Newry, Maine : Maine Library Association Annual Conference, 2018. 1. Subject headings, Library of CongressMoral and ethical aspects. 2. CatalogingMoral and ethical aspects. I. Title. II. Tomaras, Deborah. Toward a Code of Ethics for Cataloging / Sheila A. Bair. University Libraries Faculty & Staff Publications 11 (2005) https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article =1011&context=library_pubs
1. The primary role and duty of the librarian is to connect relevant, appropriate information to the people who need it. 2. Catalogers are responsible for two powerful areas: Access Naming
Default person in all subject headings is.. (Example: the heading Artists) Male Women artists Christian Jewish artists White African American artists Straight Gay artists
Physically abled Blind artists Cisgender Transgender artists Adult (but non-senior) Older artists American Artists, Aboriginal Australian Moving away from the Default Usually only one to two steps at a time. So you may need more than one heading to describe
a single character. 650 _0 African American teenagers. 650 _0 Gay teenagers. Offensive Terms Sometimes, instead of simply reflecting implicit bias, subject headings are explicitly offensive
Offensive Terms They might use outdated terminology that has since fallen out of favor and common usage due to understanding of its biases Five Civilized Tribes Illegal aliens Miscegenation Offensive Terms
Or they might be terms that actively and contemporarily discriminate against or offend traditionally marginalized peoples Ex-Jews Japanese Americans |x Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945. Indigenous peoples religious stories as Folklore or Mythology 650 _0 Japanese Americans |x Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
[published in 2016] 650 _0 Creation. VS. 650 _0 Creation |v Folklore. 650 _0 Indians of North America |v Folklore.
Subjects include: 650 _0 Miscegenation |z United States |x History. Sometimes the offense is in the scope notes Gaps in coverage that impede access No race/ethnicity/tribal characteristics recorded if not deemed important to story. Or differences in subject tracing that make more
comprehensive recall difficult for patrons No real way to encode positive relations between people of different races/ethnicities Gaps in current and retroactive coverage for subject and/or genre categories that were only recently created (Gay fiction, Transgender comics, etc.) has subject heading African Americans Sudanese Americans
African American women jazz singers Hairdressing of African Americans No description of race/ethnicity of character at all Racism Eugenics --Crimes against
Anti-racism Stereotypes (Social psychology) Discrimination Discrimination in Ethnic conflict Segregation
Segregation in Racism in Prejudices Race riots Interracial friendship
(To be fair, there are some other subjects that describe cross-group contact; but they dont specify positive interactions) Intercultural communication Ethnic relations Cultural relations Race relations Interpersonal relations and culture Examples of things catalogers can do to reduce harm
Example 1 Avoid if possible headings that are offensive (seek alternatives), and change any that you come across Alternative to Five Civilized Tribes Add the headings for the names of the tribes 650 _0 Cherokee Indians |v Genealogy. 650 _0 Five Civilized Tribes |v
Genealogy. 650 _0 Southern States |v Genealogy. Alternative to Five Civilized Tribes Add the headings for the names of the tribes 650 _0 Cherokee Indians |v Genealogy. 650 _0 Choctaw Indians |v Genealogy.
650 _0 Chickasaw Indians |v Genealogy. 650 _0 Creek Indians |v Genealogy. 650 _0 Seminole Indians |v Genealogy. Alternatives to Miscegenation 650 _0 Sex (Psychology) 650 _0 Miscegenation
650 _0 United States |v Race relations Alternatives to Miscegenation Use other valid LCSH for the concept, like: 650 _0 Interracial marriage 650 _0 Racially mixed families 650 _0 Racially mixed people 650 _0 Interracial dating, etc.
Alternatives for Folklore 650 _0 Mayas |v Folklore. 650 _0 Mayan mythology. 650 _0 Creation |v Folklore. Alternatives for Folklore Record the basic conceptual heading without additions (i.e., Creation instead of Creation |v Folklore)
So People of corn could have: 650 _0 Creation. Alternatives for Folklore Record the basic conceptual heading without additions (i.e., Creation instead of Creation |v Folklore) Add the subdivision Religion instead of Folklore
under the ethnic/tribal group So People of corn could have: 650 _0 Creation. 650 _0 Mayas |x Religion. Example 2 Back-add genres and subjects to the catalog to describe works of interest when possible
Additions for new subjects/genres Retroactively search for materials that could benefit from new subject and/or genre terms for marginalized peoples, and add the terms in Example: I searched for keywords Transgender and Comic and added the new genre term 655 _7 Transgender comics |2 lcgft to all bibliographic records I found.
Example 3 Always add subject headings and genre headings for historically marginalized groups. Preferably in multiple and consistent ways so they can be recalled in simple searches Always add headings for race/ethnicity/tribal affiliation when they can be identified, even if unimportant to the story Consider adding a second basic subject heading for race/ethnicity/tribal affiliation when more specific terms are used in the bibliographic record, to increase the likelihood of
recall Additions for Moon girl Subjects now include: 650 _0 African American girls |v Comic books, strips, etc. 650 _0 African Americans |v Comic books, strips, etc. The second heading links her to other graphics with African
American characters (like Black, Black Panther, Boondocks, etc.) Additions for Drawn together Subjects now include: 650 _0 Thai Americans |v Juvenile fiction. 650 _0 Asian Americans |v Juvenile fiction.
(There is a language translation note on the page facing the title page to identify the group.) Example 4 Consider adding subjects used by the material itself in its self-description, if they are otherwise lacking in the existing bibliographic record
Add subject headings that are used by the item 650 _0 Columbus, Christopher Influence. 650 _0 Indians, Treatment of. 650 _0 Indians First contact with Europeans. 650 _0 America Discovery and exploration Spanish. Add subject headings that are used by the item 650 _0 Columbus, Christopher Influence.
650 _0 Indians, Treatment of. 650 _0 Indians First contact with Europeans. 650 _0 America Discovery and exploration Spanish. 650 _0 Genocide America. 650 _0 Racism History. Request Changes/Deletions for Offensive Terms Library of Congress subject headings manual (note especially H0193, H0193.5, H200, H202, etc.)
https://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeSHM/freeshm.ht ml SACO resources page https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/saco/saco-resources.html Cataloging lab? (for cooperative work on SACO proposals if desired or needed) http://cataloginglab.org/ *And a cautionary tale involving Five Civilized Tribesdo your research, and make sure your proposed change is used by and approved of by the group/s affectedyou cant arbitrarily decide, even if a heading is offensive
Resources for further study? Page full of links to articles on cataloging ethics http://catassessmentresearch.blogspot.com/2014/02/cataloging-and-s ocial-justice.html Information about Sanford Berman http://www.sanfordberman.org/ Decolonizing Description project by the University of Alberta https://www.oclc.org/research/events/2017/10-17.html and https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/e1431abd-abf8-46e0-a039-eadc3 9752113
Diverse BookFinder (look also for other projects addressing diversity of resources and metadata) http://diversebookfinder.org/ Kim Christen and Mukurtu (a database with metadata for the special needs of indigenous cultural artifacts) http://www.kimchristen.com/ Critique of encoding gender in 375 field of authority records (perhaps also applicable to the bib record 386 field?) h ttps://scholarworks.uvm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&contex t=libfacpub Daniello, Gabrielle.
Biases and Ethical Considerations When Using Uncontrolled Vocabularies / Gabrielle Daniello. Sunday River, Maine : MLA Annual Conference, 2018. 1. Cataloging Moral and ethical aspects. I. Title. ALA Code of Ethics We provide the highest level of service
to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
One ring er, one standardized vocabulary to rule them all? "Portraits of the coal miners" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1913. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/ Turn the power to name over to our users
"Seward Park, Two young readers" New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org Uncontrolled headings: Chaos? Georg Andreas Wolfgang, the Elder God Creating Order from Chaos
Patron-driven subject access User Tags: the good, the bad, the ugly Hilarious yet angsty
"Two men in conversation with a lumber yard in the background" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 24, 2018. Further Reading: Bair, Sheila. Toward a Code of Ethics for Cataloging. Technical Services Quarterly, 23 (1): 13-26, 2005. https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/library_pubs/11/. Accessed 10 August 2018. Colbert, Jessica L. Patron-Driven Subject Acess: How Librarians Can Mitigate That Power to
Name. www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org. Accessed 12 August 2018. Hoffman, Gretchen L. Meeting Users Needs in Cataloging: What is the Right Thing to Do? Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 47:631-641, 2009. Porter, John. Folksonomies in the Library: Their Impact on User Experience, and Their Implications for the Work of Librarians. The Australian Library Journal, 60:3, 248-255, 2011. https://www-tandfonline-com.ursus-proxy-9.ursus.maine.edu/doi/abs/10.1080/00049670.2011.10722 621 . Accessed 12 August 2018. Spiteri, Louise F. Social Discovery Tools: Extending the Principle of User Convenience.
Journal of Documentation, Vol. 68, no. 2, 2012. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241296205_Social_discovery_tools_Extending_the_princ iple_of_user_convenience Accessed 9 September, 2018. Ethical Description in the Postmodern Archives Kathryn Donahue Technical Services and Metadata Library Colby College
1 October 2018 Objectivity and Neutrality Objectivity = Neutrality? Objectivity = Passivity? Remaining neutral or invisible is impossible for archivists engaged in selection, appraisal, arrangement, description, and references services. Archivists inevitably will inject their personal values into all such activities, Terry Cook asserts, and thus will need to examine very consciously their choices in the archive-creating and memory-formation processes,
and they will need to leave very clear records explaining their choices to posterity. ~ Jimerson, Archives for All, 277 Neutrality of the past Believing in the professional value of intellectual neutrality, archivists in the past often strove to make their own activities and influence on their collections invisible to researcher. In contrast, todays archivists increasingly realize that their
own decisions regarding appraisal, processing, and description should be documented and made available to researchers. ~Theimer, Archives 2.0, 61 The illusion of neutrality The illusion of neutrality: Archives are neither neutral or objective Indeed, we are vital players, not passive observers, of the relationship between history, memory, and
accountability. Power carries responsibility. ~Jimerson, Embracing the Power of Archives, 29 Accountability of the archivist When archivists appraise and acquire records, when they represent them in various descriptive media, when they make them available for use, they are engaging in activities that have moral significance beyond the immediate concerns of managing forms of information. ~ James OToole
[The] very act of placing certain records on the pedestal of national progress, sacred memory, civilization, history, culture, democracy, or societal necessity often raises records which were once though quite ordinary to this new special status as archives or, for some records, even higher yet, as archival treasures This new recognition changed the context for understanding these new records, and thus changed what they are. ~Nesmith, Seeing Archives, 33 Active role of the archivist [Tom Nesmith:]
The archivists role in society is the assessment and protection of the integrity of the record as evidence. Thus the utility, reliability, and authenticity of archival records are directly related in the ability of the archivist to interpret or contextualize records as fully as possible, rather than based simply on observing and guarding those attributes of records. ~Jimerson, Embracing the Power, 29 Inherent bias of the work
Archivists inevitably will inject their own values, experiences, and education, and reflect those of various external pressures, into all such research and decisionmaking. Archivists have thus changed over the past century from beingpassive keepers of an entire documentary residue left by creators to becoming active shapers of the archival heritage. ~Terry Cook, Evidence, 102 Transparency
The solution to this is not to attempt to restore the lost innocence of archivists neutrality, but to recognize their unavoidable influence on the process and to make their actions as transparent as possible. ~Jimerson, Archives for All, 278 Subjectivity of archival description Archival description is inherently subjective. Archivists must constantly choose what facts are
important and which are not as they create a narrative that will guide researchers to the records. As Wendy Duff and Verne Harris warn, What we choose to stress and what we choose to ignore is always and unavoidably subjective, and the value judgments that archivists make effect in turn how researchers find, perceive, and use records. ~Jimerson, Archives for All, 278 Finding aids as socio-historical texts
Finding aids, like scholarly editions, are not simply neutral tools for facilitating research. They are cultural texts, historically situated in time and place. ~Heather MacNeil, Picking our Text, 274 What we can do Archivists must be aware of the subtle shadings of bias and privilege in how they refer to social groups and individuals (Jimerson, Archives, 278)
Connotations can be culturally-bound Create archival context for the collection: what was done to the collection as part of preservation, accessibility, and description. Recognize the archival context of the administrative aspects of a collection. Nomenclature and descriptive practices change; how do you represent this? Do you? Should you retroactively change your descriptions? What we can do
Colophon to finding aids: Record information about the records chain of custody, the kinds of choices made by the archivist in the course of appraising, arranging, and describing those records, as well as information about the archivist and [their] perspective on the records. The mediating I Conditional phrasing: perhaps, may have been ~MacNeil, Picking our Text, 273
Works Referenced Cook, Terry. Evidence, memory, identity, and community: four shifting archival paradigms. Arch Sci, vol.13, 2013, p.95-120. Jimerson, Randall C. Archives for all: professional responsibility and social justice. The American Archivist, vol.70, no.2, Fall-Winter 2007, p.252-281. Jimerson, Randall C. Embracing the power of archives. The American Archivist, vol.69, no.1, SpringSummer 2006, p.19-32. MacNeil, Heather. Picking out text: archival description, authenticity, and the archivist as editor. The American Archivist, vol.68, no.2, Fall-Winter 2005, p.264-278. MacNeil, Heather. Trusting records in a postmodern world. Archivaria, vol.51, p.36-47.
Meehan, Jennifer. Making the leap from parts to whole: evidence and inference in archival arrangement and description. The American Archivist, vol.72, no.1, Spring-Summer 2009, p.72-90. Nesmith, Tom. Seeing archives: postmodernism and the changing intellectual place of archives. The American Archivist, vol.65, no.1, Spring-Summer 2002, p.24-41. Theimer, Kate. What is the meaning of Archives 2.0? The American Archivist, vol.74, no.1, Spring/Summer 2011, p.58-68.
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