Inclusive Cataloging: Histories, Context, and Reparative Approaches

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

Filling a gap in the literature, this volume provides librarians and catalogers with practical approaches to reparative cataloging as well as a broader understanding of the topic and its place in the technical services landscape.

As part of the profession's ongoing EDISJ efforts to redress librarianship’s problematic past, practitioners from across the field are questioning long-held library authorities and standards. They’re undertaking a critical and rigorous re-examination of so-called “best” practices and the decisionmakers behind them, pointing out heretofore unscrutinized injustices within our library systems of organization and making concrete steps towards progressive change. This collection from Core details the efforts of some of the many librarians who are working to improve our systems and collections, in the process inspiring those who have yet to enact change by demonstrating that this work is scalable, possible, and necessary. From this book, readers will

  • gain an understanding of the theoretical underpinning for the actions that create our history and be challenged to reconsider their perspectives;
  • learn about the important role of the library catalog in real-world EDISJ initiatives through examples ranging from accessibility metadata and gendered information to inclusive comics cataloging and revising LC call numbers for Black people and Indigenous people;
  • discover more than a dozen case studies drawn from a variety of contexts including archives, academic and public libraries, and research institutions; and
  • see ways to incorporate these ideas into their own work, with a variety of sample policies, “how to” documents, and other helpful tools provided in the text.    


Part I. History & Theory

Chapter 1. Ways of Knowing: The Worlds Words Create / Amanda Belantara and Emily Drabinski

Chapter 2. This Is the Work: A Short History of the Long Tradition of Inclusive Cataloging—Critiques and Action / Violet Fox and Tina Gross 

Chapter 3. Describing Themselves: Diverse Library Cataloging, 1930-1970 / Sasha Frizzell

Chapter 4. A (Very) Select History of Inclusive Cataloging / Karl Pettitt

Chapter 5. Did Libraries “Change the Subject”? What Happened, What Didn’t and What’s Ahead / Jill E. Baron, Violet B. Fox and Tina Gross 

Chapter 6. Accessibility Metadata and Library Catalogs: Current Outlook and Initiatives / Christopher Carr, Teressa Keenan, Chris Oliver

Chapter 7. Gendered Information and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging / Matthew Haugen and Michael L. Stewart

Chapter 8. From “Afrofuturist comics” to “Zombies in comics”: Inclusive Comics Cataloging from A to Z / Allison Bailund, Steven W. Holloway, Carole Sussman, Deborah Tomaras 

Chapter 9. Critical Cataloging Beyond the Core / B. M. Watson 

Part II. Case Studies

Chapter 10. Words Matter: Creating a Harmful Content Statement for Your Public Library / Rachel Newlin and Aaron Bock

Chapter 11. Coming to Terms: Enacting Reparative Change in and Urban Public Library OPAC / Miriam Gloger and Amy Mikel

Chapter 12. Enhancing Subject Access to LGBTQ+ Materials: It's Not Just About the (Rainbow) Crosswalk / Jawahir Javaid and Becker Parkhurst-Strout 

Chapter 13. Access, Identity, and Context: Inclusive Cataloging in the Hayes Research Library at Perkins School for the Blind / Jennifer Arnott

Chapter 14. Reparative Description for Collection-Level Archival Records: A Case Study / Allison McCormack

Chapter 15. Reparative Cataloging as a Solo Librarian: a Special Library Case Study / Katie Yeo

Chapter 16. Representing Gender-Diverse Creators in Indiana University Cook Music Library's Online Catalogs / Laikin Dantchenko

Chapter 17. Promoting Inclusivity and Cultural Humility Through Cataloging: A Digitization Project / Elyse Fox, Lynn Sanborn and Pachia L. Vang

Chapter 18. A Place to Think About Inclusive Cataloging / Bronwen Bitetti, Vic Panata and Sebastian Moya

Chapter 19. Retrospective Cataloging Project for Respectful and Inclusive Metadata: Revising LC Call Numbers for Black People / Yuji Tosaka

Chapter 20. The Trans* Collections Project: Conducting a Diversity Audit to Assess, Grow, and Make a Collection More Discoverable / Brittany O'Neill, David Comeaux, Marty Miller, Michael F. Russo, Zachary Tompkins

Chapter 21. "It Isn't Part of Our Language": Engaging Indigenous Peoples to Facilitate Self-Naming in Subject Headings / Steven Folsom and Laura E. Daniels

Chapter 22. Out of Many, One: A Unified Approach to Inclusive Description at Clemson University / Jessica L Serrao, James E. Cross, Scott M. Dutkiewicz, Charlotte Grubbs, William D. Hiott, and Shannon Willis 
Chapter 23. Subject Heading Enhancement: A Reparative and Inclusive Practice at the University of Virginia Library / Jeremy Bartczak, Veronica Fu, and Carmelita Pickett

Chapter 24. Canceling “Primitive”: A Subject Heading Revision Fifty Years in the Making / Jamie Carlstone 

Chapter 25. One Step at a Time: Using Targeted Pilot Projects to Achieve Meaningful and Scalable Metadata Reparation / Savannah Lake, Joseph Nicholson and Jenn Brosek

Chapter 26. Automating Inclusivity: A Case Study Detailing how to Automate Inclusive Cataloging in Alma / Rachel Turner, Maggie McGee, Brian Morse, Leslie Feldballe, and Maria Planansky

Chapter 27. Inclusive Cataloging in an Academic Library Consortium / Allison Bailund, Anamika Megwalu, Julie Renee Moore, Yoko Okunishi and Israel Yanez

Chapter 28. Reparative Cataloging at The Washington Research Library Consortium: Moving Ideas into Action in the Shared Environment / Matthew Bright, Yoko Ferguson, David Heilbrun and Jacqueline Saavedra

About the Editors and Contributors


Amber Billey

Amber Billey is the Associate Director for Bibliographic Services at Bard College. Billey served as the Chair of the Leadership Team for the Core Metadata & Collection Section and Co-Chair of the Core Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is a member of the PCC Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and was Chair of the PCC Ad Hoc Task Group on Gender in Name Authority Records. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Digital Transgender Archive, and the editorial board for the Homosaurus – a linked data thesaurus for the LGBTQ+ community.

Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson is the Cataloging and Collection Development Librarian and Library Department Chair at McHenry County College, where she has worked since 2008. Prior to working in academic libraries, she started her career in public libraries and then spent seven years in special libraries. She is also the current editor of Library Leadership & Management.

Rebecca Uhl

Rebecca Uhl has over 30 years’ experience as a catalog and authority control librarian at Arizona State University. Currently serving as the Principal on the Acquisitions and Metadata Services team, she has experience as a manager, supervisor and department head, in addition to copy and original cataloging in all formats.


The former Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), the Library Information Technology Association (LITA), and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) are now Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a new division of ALA. Its mission is to cultivate and amplify the collective expertise of library workers in core functions through community building, advocacy, and learning.