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Metadata for diversity: Identification and implications of potential access points for diverse library resources

Rachel Ivy Clarke (School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA)
Sayward Schoonmaker (School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 17 September 2019

Issue publication date: 7 January 2020

2762

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what metadata elements for access points currently exist to represent diverse library reading materials, either in libraries or from external sources, as well as what metadata elements for access points are currently not present but are necessary to represent diverse library reading materials.

Design/methodology/approach

A field scan of thirteen contemporary metadata schemas identified elements that might serve as potential access points regarding the diversity status of resource creators as well as topical or thematic content. Elements were semantically mapped using a metadata crosswalk to understand the intellectual and conceptual space of the elements. Element definitions and application of controlled vocabularies were also examined where possible to offer an additional context.

Findings

Metadata elements describing gender, occupation, geographic region, audience and age currently exist in many schemas and could potentially be used to offer access to diverse library materials. However, metadata elements necessary to represent racial, ethnic, national and cultural identity are currently not present in specific forms necessary for enabling resource access and collection assessment. The lack of distinct elements contributes to the implicit erasure of marginalized identities.

Originality/value

The search for metadata describing diversity is a first step toward enabling more systematic access to diverse library materials. The need for systematic description of diversity to make visible and promote diverse materials is highlighted in this paper. Though the subject of this paper is library organization systems and, for clarity, uses terms specific to the library profession, the issues present are relevant to all information professionals and knowledge organization systems.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge and express gratitude for funding support from the 2018 OCLC/ALISE Library & Information Science Research Grant Program (LISRGP).

Citation

Clarke, R.I. and Schoonmaker, S. (2020), "Metadata for diversity: Identification and implications of potential access points for diverse library resources", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 76 No. 1, pp. 173-196. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-01-2019-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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