POST: Creating metadata for equity, diversity, and inclusion

Karen Smith-Yoshimura (OCLC) has authored a post on Hanging Together, OCLC Research’s blog. Smith-Yoshimura’s post, “Creating metadata for equity, diversity, and inclusion,” focuses on a recent discussion of OCLC’s focus group of metadata managers on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). The focus group delved into some findings from OCLC Research’sĀ report on the 2017 Research Library Partnership (RLP) survey.

Smith-Yoshimura points out that “55% of [2017 RLP survey] respondents have changed metadata descriptions in archival collections due to their institutionsā€™ EDI goals and principles.” The focus group posited that archival collections metadata has been more responsive to institutional changes aimed at diversity than library cataloging metadata, perhaps because:

Archivists are more likely to be more closely connected to the donors of their collection and thus more sensitive to their concerns. Fewer metadata specialists have the opportunity to deal directly with the public they serve.

The metadata managers group went on to note that there has been an increase in interaction between metadata specialists and curators/archivists, that locally-created vocabularies continue to be difficult to maintain, and that the rise of off-site storage may have the benefit of allowing catalog records to contain multiple classifications.

Smith-Yoshimura closes by calling for suggestions for the literature review that DLF’sĀ Cultural Assessment Metadata SubgroupĀ is conducting, and emphasizing the Western nature and constructs of current metadata and cataloging systems:

We agree that consulting the communities reflected in our descriptive metadata and access points would help facilitate moving to terms that are more appropriate and respectful. Our metadata is currently created according to Western knowledge constructs, and our systems have been designed around them.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Devin Becker, Kristina De Voe, Heather Froehlich, Shanna Hollich, Sarah Nguyen, Hannah Park, and Madelyn Washington (Editors-at-large for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb (Editor for the week), and Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara, Sarah Melton, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).