Queer as Data: Linked Data and Minoritized Digital Archives

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Main contributor
Watson, Brian M.
This presentation is the first step in an answer to Emily Drabinski’s 2013 challenge to library and information science (LIS) professionals to think about ways in which to ‘queer the library catalog,’ and to represent identity as historically constructed and described. Beginning with a brief outline of the troubled history between marginalized groups and LIS classifications, I examine some of the proposals suggested over the past half-decade by researchers—and their limitations. Instead of starting anew, or using ‘uninformed’ social tagging/folksonomies, I propose a ‘turn’ to the catalogs and controlled vocabularies of archives and special collections, which frequently reckon with unclassifiable material.

Following through on that turn, I will discuss how linked data and linked data vocabularies are currently being used by several digital archives—along with some possible lessons for the LIS field as a whole. The radical and subversive use of linked data by queer digital archives offers a partial solution to the conundrum of minoritized and historical representation in the catalog. Finally, I will conclude by describing my own experiences and considerations in the construction of a new linked data vocabulary.
Indiana University Digital Collections Services
Digital Library Brown Bag Series
IUScholarWorks Repository
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 IUScholarWorks Record