Prioritizing the People: Developing a Method for Evaluating a Collection’s Description of Diverse Populations
Published online: 01 Aug 2022
Following the long overdue cancellation of the Library of Congress Subject Heading "Illegal alien" many libraries are assessing options for remediating problematic descriptive language in their catalogs. This paper presents a method of evaluating LCSH corresponding to historically marginalized populations—women, African Americans, Indigenous peoples, and LGBTQIA + people—by measuring cooccurrences of LCSH and Library of Congress Classifications (LCC) across a library's collection. Starting with a sample of 468,100 MARC records, data was extracted with Python then organized and graphed with R. The results offer a holistic perspective of descriptive language assigned to these populations and produced data that can help guide collection development and local subject description policies.
Cataloging & Classification Quarterly
Library of Congress; Subject Headings(LCSH); Library of Congress Classification; subject cataloging; catalog maintenance; case studies