Communities and Collections

Indians in the Database: Student Relationships with Subject Headings

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Controlled vocabulary subject headings are key elements to ensure consistent cataloguing across different institutions. Unfortunately, the language used in controlled vocabularies to describe library materials by and about Indigenous peoples does not always reflect terms Indigenous peoples use to describe themselves, leading to disconnects between students and the library. In this study, which was grounded in an Indigenous research methodology focused on relationality, I interviewed students in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta to better understand how they relate to the different Library of Congress Subject Headings used to describe resources by and about Indigenous peoples. Ultimately, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students students reported feeling various degrees of discomfort. While some were able to alter their search strategies to avoid terminology such as Indian, others opted to conduct their searches elsewhere and no longer used the University of Alberta library catalogue. As libraries look to alter their metadata to better support Indigenous users, it is crucial that we better understand how the terminology used in subject heading can affect students.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Conference/Workshop Poster
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International