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Abstract

Systems of library and archival resource description have historically reinforced the societal power structures of white supremacy, patriarchy, and cis-heteronormativity. Following the framework of critical librarianship and acknowledging our positionality as predominately white departments, George Mason University Libraries’ Metadata Services (MS) and Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) have been engaging in a variety of projects of reparative resource description. To discuss points of collaboration between the two departments, the Task Force for Ethical and Anti-Oppressive Metadata (TEAM) was formed, consisting of staff and faculty members from both groups who work with resource description. Although the departments have a history of collaboration, TEAM has provided us an opportunity to work together in a holistic way, giving us a space for learning, exchanging ideas, and sharing insights and resources. The particular focus of this group has been the identification of existing harmful and biased language in resource description and the exploration and installment of alternatives.

In this Field Report we demonstrate how MS and SCRC have been collaboratively engaging in reparative description within the university libraries, discuss our theoretical framework, approach its impact outside of the library, and share examples of ongoing projects. This report provides a model for collaborative work that addresses and interrupts the perpetuation of harm in resource description.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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