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

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

Blue patch on a white background. Text below a decorative emblem reads "United Federation of Planets." A second patch is partially visible but not readable below.
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

Using Homosaurus to describe Star Trek-related fanzines

The Bibliographic Standards Committee of the ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section will host another edition of its free webinar, Cool Things We Cataloged. The webinar will take place on 4 December 2023, 3:00–4:15 pm EST (UTC +5). Five speakers will discuss the workflow, challenges, and information gained from cataloging items in their collections. The presentations topics are Fashon show invitations, Jackie Robinson comic books, Pennsylvania Dutch tin nursing can, Reunionese Creole translation of Greek fables, and Star Trek-related fanzines.

As a Star Trek fan and cataloger, I am particularly interested in the Star Trek-related fanzines presentation. Indica Mattson of Cornell University (OCLC Symbol: COO) will discuss cataloging a collection of approximately 50 of these fanzines. In her description of the materials, Mattson used Homosaurus, which is a linked data vocabulary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) terms. All the Star Trek television series have featured sexuality themes that were ahead of their time for network television, and “Original slash fiction” (the Homosaurus term for fiction focusing on same-sex or same-gender relationships) has been part of Star Trek fan fiction since the 1970s with Kirk/Spock. Using Homosaurus allows for better discovery of these items, which are important exemplars of queer fan fiction. Contributed by Kate James.

Indigenous Authors Collection at the University of Calgary

Screenshot from the University of Calgary's Indigenous Author's Collection

Although the University of Calgary (OCLC Symbol: UAU) has always collected Indigenous authors, Special Collections Librarian A. Murray writes that she “wanted to create a dedicated, named research collection in our Special Collections that would recognize the achievements and the variety of works being created by Indigenous authors living in Canada. I also wanted to create a place in our rare books vault for these books. Rare books and special collections departments tend to be oriented around European book traditions; they become rarified spaces that can exclude new non-European or settler voices.” A second copy is also acquired for general circulation.

I learned about the Indigenous Authors Collection through a recent publication by Kaia MacLeod, Indigenous Cataloging Librarian, and Susan Dahl, Director, Content Services at the University of Calgary. In “Decolonizing the Authority File: Creating Contexualized Access to the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Authors Collection” the authors detail how the cataloging of this collection placed works within an Indigenous Canadian context – including creating local subject headings, engaging with Homosaurus to add the term “Indigiqueer,” and augmenting authority records for Indigenous authors included in the collection.  The authors will be evaluating how these efforts impact the collection’s use, noting that this level of attention wouldn’t scale across their whole catalog. Contributed by Richard J. Urban.  

Mississippi State University Libraries host LGBTQ+ Read-Out

On 26 October 2023, the Mississippi State University Libraries (OCLC Symbol: MFM) hosted an LGBTQ+ Read-Out featuring students, faculty, staff, and community leaders reading from works that speak to them and the idea of inclusion. This event was part of the campus’ LGBTQ+ History Month in October and was cosponsored by the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee. Among the readers was Starkville, Mississippi Mayor Lynn Spruill who said that libraries, as well as communities, need to reflect the community they serve. “Any community’s services, whether from a library or a non-profit or a governmental entity, need to reflect the community it is charged to serve. We learn the most from shoes we have never walked in. . . . . It is only by embracing that diversity that we can have access to those viewpoints that allow us to best serve all our constituencies.”

Libraries play a crucial role in inclusion by creating and maintaining access to diverse resources and providing a safe space for members of diverse communities. They promote DEIA principles across the country in cities and towns of varying sizes and viewpoints. Contributed by Morris Levy.

Webinar from NNLM on medical libraries’ role in racial science

A recent article in Journal of the Medical Library Association Medical Libraries and Their Complicated Past:  An Exploration of the Historical Connections Between Medical Collections and Racial Science”  was highlighted in a previous edition of Advancing IDEAs. On 17 November 2023, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the Network of the National Library of Medicine will present the three authors — Raymond Pun of the Alder Graduate School of Education (OCLC Symbol: CAAGS); Patrice R, Green of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute (OCLC Symbol: SLR); and Nicollette Davis of Louisiana State University (OCLC Symbol: LUU) — in an “NNLM Region 6 Speaker Spotlight Series Webinar” entitled “Holding Space to Discuss a Complicated Past:  Exploring Medical Libraries’ Role in Perpetuating Racial Science” to discuss the historical and present-day implications of the issue.

Recognizing and understanding the racism that can be so deeply embedded within disciplines such as medical science, and as a result, the institutions such as medical libraries that serve the science, are necessary steps toward mitigating the ongoing damage caused.  Contributed by Jay Weitz.

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