Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2023 February 7

The following  post is one in a regular series on issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, compiled by Jay Weitz.

Harm reduction in WorldCat Discovery

As part of OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative, WorldCat Discovery institutions can now use a universal template that re-maps subject headings to hide sensitive language, leading to a more inclusive search experience. “Create locally preferred subjects for display and search expansion” offers step-by-step instructions to display locally-chosen alternate subject headings instead of those you locally deem to be problematic. This does not change the local bibliographic data or the WorldCat record itself, just the subject display in your institution’s user interface. In this initial phase, the replacement subject displays the first term it matches. A future second phase will enable institutions to build on their work and define local search expansions to support locally preferred subjects.

Uncovering medical history

Photo by Derek Finch on Unsplash

Approaching the archives of the Waring Historical Library at the Medical University of South Carolina (OCLC Symbol: SMC) with fresh perspectives reveals diversity that has been hidden by the ways in which long-existing collections have been described. In the January/February 2023 issue of Archival Outlook (Pages 11 and 22), Waring’s Brian D. Fors and Judith Arendall write about “Finding Hidden Voices in Medical Archives.” Serious reparative work via modernizing revisions to finding aids, collection diversification, and making sure that researchers are aware of previously overlooked resources enable the Waring collections to highlight medical history far beyond the white, male physician. The contributions of female, Black, and LGBTQ+ communities to medical history as well as accounts of Indigenous medicine are among the numerous subjects being uncovered by more conscious archiving techniques.

DEIA issues for library leaders and managers

On February 23, the ALA Core Library Leaders and Managers Interest Group will host the second of its 2023 series of readings and drop-in discussion sessions, this one on “DEIA Issues.” The Interest Group is open to all who want to participate. You do not need to be a member of either ALA or Core. Managers and leaders at all levels and from all types of libraries are welcome. Instructions on joining the session may be accessed from the Leaders and Managers IG page. The “DEIA Issues” forum will include “an informal, lightly moderated, synchronous zoom discussion session around the topic” starting at 12 noon Eastern Time on February 23.

“Librarians With Spines”

The Oregon Library Association (OLA) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Committee presents the twelfth episode of its podcast, Overdue: Weeding Out Oppression in Libraries. The episode entitled “Librarians With Spines, Part 1, with Autumn Anglin, Max Macias, and Yago Cura” is the first of two parts in which the trio of “information agitators” talk about radical librarianship and the necessity of a firm support system when undertaking antiracism work. Anglin, Macias, and Cura are the forces behind the “Librarians With Spines” blog and the now-three volume anthology of essays of the same name. Cura suggests that the current plague of book banning needs to be seen as an opportunity for us to shape the library narrative: “We need to be able to tell the story of why we’re important, and if you don’t think that you need to add to that story, then I don’t know what to tell you. I think we all add to that story, working in libraries and doing the work we do. Representation is super important.” Anglin, Macias, and Cura spoke with Constance Palaia, Library Manager at Fruitdale Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon, and Ericka Brunson-Rochette, Community Librarian at the Deschutes Public Library (OCLC Symbol: DCH) in Oregon on 2022 December 23.

The state of intellectual freedom

Virtually the entire “News” section of the most recent issue of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy (Volume 7, Number 2, Summer 2022, Pages 35-157) is devoted to book bans and other challenges to intellectual freedom in the United States during the first half of 2022. “For the Record” recounts, among other things, legislative actions from Alabama to Virginia affecting libraries and schools. “Censorship Dateline” briefly tours schools and prisons around the country with lists of challenged and withdrawn books, whereas “Success Stories” brings attention to schools and libraries that have overcome such efforts. “From the Bench” visits courts across the nation and their rulings on civil rights and net neutrality. “Targets of the Censor” is an alphabetical name and title list of the resources mentioned in the “News” section. The Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy is published by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association (ALA).

DEI “Guiding Principles” for metadata creation

On 2023 January 19, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) issued its “Guiding Principles for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Metadata Creation,” based on the “Cataloguing Code of Ethics” formulated by the cataloging communities of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The “Principles” are intended to promote respectful descriptive practices, work with user communities, develop more inclusive standards and vocabularies, be responsibly transparent, and incorporate DEI throughout all aspects of cataloging.

Social justice and intellectual freedom

On 2022 February 23 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Dr. Emily Knox, an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (OCLC Symbol: UIU) will explain that “You can’t have social justice without intellectual freedom” as part of the free Heterodox Libraries (HxLibraries) virtual Spring 2023 Symposium. HxLibraries “is a forum to explore heterodoxy in the context and practice of academic librarianship,” and is a community within the Heterodox Academy. HxA “is a nonpartisan nonprofit that works to improve the quality of research and education by promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in institutions of higher learning.” Dr. Knox will consider “trigger” warnings, navigating between social progress and intellectual freedom, and other questions of information ethics as part of Canada’s Freedom to Read Week, February 19-25, 2023.

Transliteracy among underserved students

In “Toward Metaliteracy and Transliteracy in the History Classroom: A Case Study Among Underserved Students,” Alston Brake Cobourn (university archivist at East Carolina University, OCLC Symbol: ERE), Jen Corrinne Brown (associate professor of history at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, OCLC Symbol: TXF), Edward Warga (library systems and discovery specialist at the St. Cloud State University Library, OCLC Symbol: MST), and Lisa Louis (director of user and research services at TAMU–CC) study how a class oral history project at TAMU–CC promotes transliteracy, “the intersection between information, visual, digital, and other literacies.” Furthermore, in their American Archivist article (Fall/Winter 2022, Volume 85, Number 2, Pages 587–608), they posit that such projects can promote literacy at all kinds of institutions, including those with historically underserved populations.