This case study examines Aanischaaukamikw Cree Culture Institute, a Cree museum and resource center in the Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec, and the institute’s adaptation of the Brian Deer Classification System for use in their library. It gives an overview of the process of adapting Brian Deer for Quebec-focused classification in a small Aboriginal library, detailing the research, planning, testing, and implementation of the project. The value, merits, and disadvantages of adapting the Deer Classification System are addressed.
Digital information can bridge age-old gaps in access to information in traditionally underserved areas of the world. However, for those unfamiliar with abundant e-resources, their early exposure to the digital world can be like “drinking from a fire hose.” For these audiences, abundant metadata and findability, along with easy-to-use interfaces, are key to their early success and adoption. To hasten the creation of metadata and user interfaces, the authors are experimenting with “crowd cataloging.” This report documents their work and Maron’s Lo-Fi to Hi-Fi metadata pyramid model guiding a developing metadata initiative being pursued with the eGranary Digital Library, the technology used by Widernet in a global effort to ameliorate information poverty. The Lo-Fi to Hi-Fi model, with principles adapted from technical design processes, aligns with research that has shown that community-based librarians are better poised to identify culturally congruent resources, but many require significant training in metadata concepts and skills. The model has students crowdsource “lo-fi” terms, which domain experts and information professionals can curate and cull in “hi-fi” to enhance findability of resources within the eGranary while simultaneously honing their own computer, information and metadata literacies. Though the focus here is on Africa, the findings and practices can be universalized to eGranaries around the globe, if successful.
Critical race theory is introduced as a potentially useful approach to the evaluation of bibliographic classification schemes. An overview is presented of the essential elements of critical race theory, including clarifications of the meanings of some important terms such as “race” and “social justice.” On the basis of a review of existing conceptions of the just and the antiracist library service, a rationale is presented for hypothesizing that critical race theory may be of use to the library and information sciences. The role of classification schemes as information institutions in their own right is established, and the Dewey Decimal Classification is introduced as the case to be studied. The challenges faced by classification-scheme designers in the construction and/or reconstruction of race-related categories are reviewed; and an analysis is presented of one sense in which it might be suggested that recent (2003) revisions in one of the DDC’s tables appear not to meet those challenges wholly successfully. An account is given of a further sense in which adoption of a critical race-theoretic approach has the more radical effect of calling into question a fundamental decision recently taken to “deracialize” the DDC. In conclusion, an assessment is made of critical race theory as a framework for evaluating library classification schemes.
This paper reports the results of a content analysis of the literature on biases in classification and subject headings. This study gathers 93 works documenting biases of gender, sexuality, race, age, ability, ethnicity, nationality, language, and religion with the goals of: 1) identifying existing research and experience on subject access for marginalized groups and marginalized topics, and 2) providing a basis for addressing systemic subject access problems.
Melissa Padilla joined with Dartmouth students at the Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and Dreamers, and they have spent more than two years petitioning the Library of Congress to remove “illegal alien” from its subject headings.
In this article we discuss the heuristic capabilities that the process of generating, processing, and integrating cultural heritage linked data may afford, including its potential for enhancing arts and humanities research. More specifically, we report on our current work on detecting and assigning gender properties to person entities and semantically enriching a set of Linked Open Data (LOD) in the domain of history of jazz. Linked Jazz—-an ongoing project that experiments with the application of LOD principles and techniques to cultural heritage materials-—provided the context for this research. Linked Jazz aims to uncover meaningful connections between data and documents from digital archives of jazz history. It employs oral histories as the main source of named entities to be represented as linked data. The entities are then semantically connected and visualized as social graphs. Using the assignment of gender properties, this article describes how the data development process itself offers new and unanticipated paths of research inquiry and engagement with heritage data.
In this introduction to Documenting the Now collaborative project, Summers provides background about the urgency and need for this type of open source application, especially for the Black community. He outlines two main goals of the DocNow project: 1) Create an open source app “that will allow researchers and archivists to easily collect, analyze, and preserve Twitter messages and the Web resources they reference;” 2) “Cultivate a much needed conversation between scholars, archivists, journalists, and human rights activists around the effective and ethical use of social media content.”
Nowviskie begins this talk by asking the question “where and when do Black lives matter?” in information sciences; she looks at Afropolitanism (space) and Afrofuturism (time), focusing on Afrofuturism; it is “self-possessed” and centers around the past, present, and future of blackness and locating/telling stories of the future while never forgetting the past. She advocates the need for digital cultural heritage systems affordance – a White-dominant field – to decolonize archives and “design for agency” so that Black communities and cultures as well as other marginalized communities have control over their stories and archives, their “philosophical infrastructure.” Instead of merely designing for inclusion, design for progress and spaces/places where Black lives are everywhere and every when.
“Repatriation is the process whereby specific kinds of American Indian cultural items in a museum collection are returned to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Native clans or villages, and/or Native Hawaiian organizations.”
Repatriation at the NMAI is a uniquely proactive and collaborative process. Working closely with Native peoples and communities, the NMAI conducts research and makes decisions independent of other Smithsonian offices. This policy details who can be part of the repatriation process and what this process looks like. Provides an example for how to create a specific policy to demonstrate commitment to respecting Indigenous peoples and cultures.
McPherson reflects on two experiences that reflect the disconnect between digital humanities and other modes of inquiry around race, gender, class, etc; instead of focusing on how to rupture oppressive infrastructures, conversations around tool-building and coding focused on how to build infrastructure. The answer to why the digital humanities are so white lies in this disconnect as well as the “effect of the very designs of our technological systems.” McPherson looks back at the 1960s, a time when UNIX (the basic philosophy/foundation for modern operating systems) was being developed, as well as the center of the Civil Rights Movement; she provides a compelling argument that these two extremely “different” camps are actually interdependent.
In the explanation of their vision for the UNIX, Kernighan and Plauger argue that modularity should be a priority; only the input and output should be visible to the user while the inner-workings, or the actual transformation process from point A to point B0 should not. This modularity resonates with liberal colorblindness; the “lenticular logic,” or fragmented lens, during the mid-1900s demonstrates how race is visible through its absence. “The emergence of covert racism and its rhetoric of color blindness are not so much intentional as systemic.” McPherson calls for a mergence of the two conversations that have continued to avoid each other: those on the side of technology might find new ways to understand culture, while those on the side of race discussions should “analyze, use, and produce digital forms.”