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An Update-Registration Link for 6/25 Core Catalog Form and Function IG Discussion

  • 1.  An Update-Registration Link for 6/25 Core Catalog Form and Function IG Discussion

    Posted Jun 01, 2021 10:02 PM

    ** Apologies for multiple postings… **

    The ALA Core Catalog Form and Function Interest Group would like to give you updated information for our Zoom IG session at the 2021 ALA Annual Conference (Virtual) 

    The session requires registration on a new URL. Please ignore the link sent in the earlier invite.


    Session: Catalog Form and Function Interest Group Discussion

    Date: June 25, 2021

    Time: 11:00 A.M. to Noon (CST: Central Time US and Canada)

                Noon to 1:00 P.M.   (EST: Eastern Time US and Canada)


    Zoom Registration Link: 


    This is a free event, though you need to submit your name and email address on the registration page to receive the Zoom link/event password to access the virtual discussion.


    Topic: Catalog Form and Function Interest Group Discussion

    Conveners will center the conversation on defining ways to address harmful language and harmful biases in catalogs. 


    There is evidence to suggest that for many users, classification languages that are used in our catalogs has in the past, and at present made use of problematic language, with results that are not inclusive.[i]

    The Library of Congress uses controlled vocabularies and subjects to classify library resources.  They are difficult to change as they have been standardized. The LCSH vocabulary lacks a wholly inclusive language; instead, the language is one of a society divided by systemic inequity.  For example, the Library of Congress uses outdated terminology for Native American subject headings and those for tribes of India. These topics do not provide actual representation. 


    In Data Feminism, D'Ignazio and Klein consider this context through a frame of data feminism, which "asserts that data are not neutral or objective. They are products of unequal social relations, and this context is essential for conducting accurate, ethical analysis."[ii] The contextual frame is imperative for understanding LCSH bias; its racism is rooted in the historical inequities of American history. Other contextual considerations for this principle of data feminism include: "… a process that includes understanding the provenance and environment from which the data was collected, as well as working hard to frame context in data communication…"[iii] Integrations or mappings to other subject vocabularies could replace the LCSH vocabulary of inequality and racism until such time as American society might produce equitable and inclusive language in a more systematic way.


    There is also the possibility that a wholly just and equitable system of description may not be attainable from a system perspective, but rather may be negotiated by library professionals engaged in public service, offering information literacy praxis to engage critically with language the catalog offers.[iv]


    Bela Gupta and Jim Hahn

    Co-chairs, ALA Core Catalog Form and Function IG


    Bela Gupta

    Division Head, Library Technical Services

    Cataloging & Metadata Librarian

    Claire T. Carney Library

    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    285 Old Westport Rd

    Dartmouth, MA 02747


    Office: 508-999-8673





    Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. (NYU Press, 2018).

    ii Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein, Data Feminism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2020), 18.

    iii D'Ignazio and Klein, Data Feminism, 171–172.

    iv Emily Drabinski, "Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction." The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 83, no. 2 (2013): 94–111. https://doi.org/10.1086/669547






    Bela Gupta
    Cataloging & Metadata Librarian
    University of Massachusetts