Decolonizing Digital Collections


The need to remove bias from, or to decolonize, library collections and
library metadata has been a topic of discussion in the professional
library field for several years. In 2001, Hope Olson stated libraries
“must be held accountable for poor and biased access to information” in
her influential article “The Power to Name.” As stewards of the
collections in our care, how can we more effectively serve the
communities who use and are represented in these collections? At the
UCSC library, we have engaged in conversations to address this topic on
several fronts. We have evaluated subject descriptors in our local
digital objects metadata and identified subject headings that label
subjects by gender, race, and ethnicity when that information was not
otherwise supplied by the image. Separately, we have explored solutions
to the lack of representation for scientists from underrepresented
groups in Wikipedia, data which would have allowed us to leverage that
information using Wikidata into name authorities for digital objects in
our collections. This round table session will serve as a forum for
librarians to brainstorm, and to speak to their local efforts to
mitigate bias and to increase the visibility of content by and about
underrepresented populations.

Rachel Jaffe, Digital Content & Metadata Librarian, UCSC Sarah Lindsey, Head of Metadata Services & Acquisitions Librarian, UCSC Susan Chesley Perry, Head of Digital Initiatives, UCSC
Fri 10:15 am - 10:45 am
Round Table Discussion