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2024 Symposium Information

Event Details

  • Host: UCO Chambers Library

  • Audience: Catalogers, archivists, metadata specialists, library/archives workers or students interested in metadata justice

  • When: June 13, 2024

  • Where: Zoom

  • Cost: Free 


Click here to register!


Introduction and Welcome


Treshani Perera, University of Kentucky


Unraveling Metadata Justice: Librarians and Metadata Wranglers in Making Information Fair for Everyone
Rebekah Silverstein, Oklahoma State University

An exploration of metadata justice, focusing on the critical role of librarians and metadata wranglers. looking into the historical context of metadata practices and the challenges faced by those responsible for organizing information. Through examining the evolution of metadata standards and best practices, we'll highlight the contributions of librarians and metadata wranglers in promoting fairness and inclusivity. Together, we'll uncover strategies for navigating the complex landscape of metadata to ensure equitable access to information for all.


The Limits of Repair: The Case for and Boundaries of Reparative Description
Rachel Searcy and Weatherly A. Stephan, New York University

This proposed presentation will discuss a group reparative description project undertaken on an assembled archival collection held by New York University Libraries Special Collections that consists of documents concerning enslavement in Spanish-colonized Cuba. Years after its acquisition and accessioning, the Archival Collections Management department undertook collaborative reparative description on the collection, applying the recommendations of the Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia’s Anti-Racist Description Resources. The presentation will discuss the project design and outcomes, as well as larger reflections on the individual, institutional, and systemic challenges encountered and the limitations on archival re-description alone in the service of anti-racism and anti-oppressive.




Reparative Analysis of OOHRP's Oklahoma and OSU Diverse Sexuality and Gender Collections
Katanna Davis and Patrick Daglaris, Oklahoma State University

This presentation will focus on two Oklahoma Oral History Research Program collections, the Oklahoma and OSU Diverse Sexuality and Gender collections. As the OOHRP Digital Curation GRA, I will discuss my process of using controlled vs. homegrown vocabularies, more specifically the Library of Congress Subject Headings and FAST and the alternative vocabulary of the Homosaurus. I will go into discussion of how I approach, and what it looks like, creating metadata for these collections, along with the description writing process for these oral histories. There will also be a more broad discussion of reparative practices regarding 2SLGBTQIA+ oral histories and oral history collections. OOHRP archivist Patrick Daglaris will also be joining in on this presentation.


Apparitional Representations: Disability History, Reparative Descriptions, and Ethical Failings in a Special Research Collection
Melissa Weiss

In this presentation, I discuss the process and outcomes of a reparative description project I undertook for my master’s thesis at the University of Oklahoma. My thesis focused on remediating disability-related descriptions in the Western History Collections. I examined a variety of theoretical models and attempted to apply them as I remediated descriptions. My presentation covers the challenges of trying to remediate descriptions in an archive not dedicated to disability history and provides a methodology for doing remediations that might help archivists struggling with incomplete information about items in a collection.




Unveiling Hidden Stories: Interactive Digital Humanities Resources Empower Research on Underrepresented Communities
Megan Macken, Oklahoma State University

In three case studies, we show how the transformation from a static bibliography to an interactive digital humanities resource connects student researchers to the cultural heritage of often overlooked communities, including Indigenous artists and Indigenous architects and architecture. In addition to modernizing pre-existing metadata on Indigenous artists and the built environment of Oklahoma, we created an entirely new bibliography dedicated to the under-represented field of Indigenous Architecture of Oklahoma. These case studies show how unearthing and enhancing existing resources can help researchers develop new narratives about the history and culture of Oklahoma.


Inclusive Metadata through Bibliographic Control
Kirsten Bryson and Devin McGhee, Metropolitan Library System

As the Metropolitan Library System was implementing Aspen, an open-source discovery system, we decided to complete our first authority and bibliographic control project.  An RFP was written, and two vendors responded with quotes. Backstage was chosen as the vendor, and we started the process in August 2023. A major focus of this project was to move from homegrown genre headings to Library of Congress genre headings. As we were working to update all our records to current cataloging standards, we also made inclusive metadata a top focus. Backstage provided headings from Homosaurus ; a local authority file for Indigenous peoples and incorporating the work of the Xwi7Xwa (whei-wha) Library and the Greater Victoria Public Library.


Distributed Labour: Managing Harmful Language Work in A Canadian Library Partnership
Matthew Fesnak, McMaster University Library/Ontario Council of University Libraries

A major reason for the prevalence of harmful language in library catalogs is the hegemony of the Library of Congress. Recent threads in the autocat listserv show the resistance of catalogers to include their own voices, let alone the voices of marginalized groups that have been underrepresented in the profession, throwing their hands up and saying I’m just a cataloger, we have to follow the established rules, etc. At the same time, metadata staff have been cut from many university libraries, leaving those who are interested in doing metadata justice work overwhelmed. In order to address some of these challenges, Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) Collaborative Futures (a shared library platform group) created the Decolonizing Descriptions Implementation Working Group to manage harmful language across the Collaborative Futures partnership. As members of this group, we would like to discuss our efforts to manage alternative vocabularies in an Alma network zone environment, and some of the issues and crossroads we have faced thus far. Our current approach is to replace and/or amend LCSH terms with other, already established vocabularies like Manitoba Archival Information Network Indigenous Subject Headings, Saskatchewan Indigenous Subject Headings, Canadian Subject Headings, Canadiana, and Homosaurus, but this may evolve over time. We will present what our partner libraries have been working on individually and our working group’s efforts to centralize efforts and possibly implement a distributed labor model in OCUL CF. We are a nascent group and will be seeking feedback from colleagues.


Multilingual Metadata: The Pan-American Authorities Initiative for Spanish Subject Headings
Rose Echeguren, University of Florida
Devon Murphy, University of Texas at Austin

In 2020, a group of library information science specialists at the University of Florida Libraries (UF) formed the Pan-American Authorities (PANA) group, a bilingual (English/Spanish) metadata working group dedicated to standardizing the creation of Spanish-language metadata to improve discoverability and access to digital collection materials published in Spanish. Recognizing our growing non-English collections, we found it important to address biases in North American cataloging and metadata practices, changing them to be more inclusive and representative of materials in our collections, their creators, and their users.    However, the primary challenge was finding reliable authority files for assigning Spanish metadata that captured national and regional variations of the Spanish language. Prior to the formation of PANA, UF’s bilingual metadata specialist's primary resource for assigning Spanish metadata was, a bilingual English-Spanish database that aggregates six Spanish language authority files. While the convenience of accessing Spanish subject headings through a centralized platform was invaluable, over-reliance on this resource was problematic, notably because the authority files aggregated in predominantly originate from Europe or the United States. To address this, the PANA group began establishing a workflow that would allow for Latin American authority files to be utilized.   Since its origin, the group has partnered with the University of Texas Austin Libraries, who have adapted the workflow to increase their Spanish metadata translation across several digital collections sites, representing materials from across Latin America, fostering greater accessibility for its users throughout the region. Collectively, the PANA group has successfully contributed approximately 700 terms to this resource, ranging from human rights themed-subject terms to genre forms. Currently, we are constructing a publicly accessible website, and the Pan-American Authorities (code: pana) is now an officially recognized subject heading source code by the Library of Congress.




Searching the Past, Finding the Present: Identifying Contemporary Tribal Communities in Gilcrease Museum's Rare Books Collection
Jana Gowan, Dr. Billy Smith, and Dr. Benjamin Pokross, Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum

Gilcrease Museum staff and scholars embarked on a multi-year project in 2023-2024 to research, identify, and catalog Native American Tribal affiliations within Gilcrease’s rare book collection. The Helmerich Center for American Research (HCAR) houses approximately 4,000 rare books from the Gilcrease Museum. First collected by Thomas Gilcrease (Muscogee Citizen) in the mid-20th century, the collection tells the hemispheric story of the Americas from 1494 to the mid-1900s. A small team at HCAR, including  Dr. William (Billy) Smith, Associate Director, Dr. Benjamin Pokross, Duane H. King Post Doctoral Fellow, and Jana Gowan, Reference and Outreach Librarian, began surveying, researching, and documenting the presence of tribal communities and Indigenous creators in the museum’s rare book collection in order to create  more accurate and culturally sensitive catalog records while also increasing accessibility to and understanding of the Gilcrease collections. This presentation will provide a general overview of the project design and progress to date and specifically feature the use of the Tribal Nations in Oklahoma Metadata database in support of the project, while also inviting input from the cataloging community.


Creating Occult Identities and Subjects, or, How New NACO and SACO Funnels will Improve Access to Occult Resources
Guy Frost, Valdosta State University
Margaret Breidenbaugh, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and authorities for names, covens, groups, organizations, and especially practitioners of New Religious Movements are lacking. Many of the existing LCSH terms omit scope notes, opening them up to being misassigned to cataloging records. In addition, many practitioners of these movements may be misassociated with the existing terms or unsatisfied with how their creative works have been labeled. Much of this conundrum lies with a lack of knowledge of the subject, but another issue may stem from prejudice. In early 2024, three people met online to consider addressing this problem with the aim of forming an Occult SACO Funnel and a separate Occult NACO Funnel. Learn about the mission, vision, and immediate plans of this exciting project, including how to get involved.

Planning Team

  • 3 members from Metadata & Cataloging department
  • 3 members from Archives & Special Collections department

Questions about the event may be directed to


Here at UCO Chambers Library, we are committed to accurately and respectfully describing materials relating to historically overlooked communities. We are continually implementing specific strategies for carrying out this work and have found that sharing and learning with our colleagues has been an essential component. 

Starting summer 2022, we are committed to hosting an annual virtual symposium to connect our library and archives colleagues across the state of Oklahoma for a virtual symposium to discuss how metadata justice can be incorporated into our shared work of creating description and access for library and archival resources. Borrowing from our friends at OU, metadata justice "refers to the use of accurate and appropriate language in metadata systems like library catalogs."

Our intention with this event is to create a space for folks to share their ideas and to create a support network for those interested in this important work in our state's libraries and archives. 

Symposium Proceedings