Shīʿīsm, Sects, and Subject Headings

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  • The problem of bias in Knowledge Organization Systems (KOSs) has been the focus of numerous ‘radical cataloging’ studies. This study examines the use of the term sect as it is applied to the Shīʿī (or Shīʿa) branch of Islam in various KOSs including the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system, and indigenous Islamic classification schemes. The study demonstrates how the use of the term sect is discriminatory and disparaging towards library users who identify as Shīʿī Muslims. It also offers non-pejorative alternatives that can be used in its place to refer to a living tradition.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International