Category Archives: diversity

jclc 2012

Just over a week ago, I returned from attending the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC).  JCLC is sponsored by the five ALA ethnic associations:  AILA, APALA, BCALA, CALA, and REFORMA.  This year was only the second time the conference was held — the first happened six years ago.  I first heard of JCLC a couple years ago and was very excited to learn that the second conference was in the process of being planned.  I’m very fortunate and grateful to have received a Kansas City Crown Center Scholarship that funded my trip.  Without that financial assistance, there’s no way I would have been able to attend.

JCLC was definitely the best conference I have attended (so far).  The size of the conference wasn’t large enough to be overwhelming, or too small to be stifling, and everyone I met was incredibly friendly and approachable.  The main reason I wanted to attend is that the conference’s focus is on exploring various diversity issues in libraries, and my research interests all center on issues of diversity in archives.

While I attended many sessions over the course of a few days, I enjoyed “The Need for Diversity Research in the Profession: A Collaborative Opportunity” the most.  Karen Downing, Merve Fejzula, and Mark Winston all made a strong case for why more research needs to be conducted on diversity in the profession.  Below is a storify of tweets from that session, but missing from them is another takeaway I got — often research is conducted that is then not shared.  Research isn’t only to inform our own work but to inform others as well, so if you’ve done something, be sure to share that knowledge with others!

  1. Makibaj
    The Need for Diversity Research #JCLC2012 opening discussion of whether America is a post racial society. A resounding NO.

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 08:54:57
  2. roselovec
    Post-racial america? Every societal indicator (health, ed, housing, hunger, employment, poverty) points to no. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 08:54:51
  3. roselovec
    Gaps in the literature: empirical research, library-based research, theoretically framed studies. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 08:58:34
  4. CarlSHess
    Only handful or two of people in #lis field studying diversity and very little framework for generalizing #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 08:59:29
  5. roselovec
    Benefits of diversity in organizations: better user/customer satisfaction, improved decision-making, greater creativity. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:03:09
  6. Makibaj
    Benefits of diversity to orgs include better user satisfaction, stronger robust orgs just to name a few #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:05:18
  7. CarlSHess
    Diversity trumps homogenous expertise (Page 2001) #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:07:08
  8. roselovec
    Research vs. assessment: assessment examines a single phenonmena. Research is a more robust, methodical process. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:12:32
  9. roselovec
    Research is led by research question, then you figure out method and ground it in existing lit and framework – not in a vacuum. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:14:02
  10. CarlSHess
    High correlation between successful organizations and diverse ones, but it has been hard showing causality #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:16:19
  11. roselovec
    Indemic inequality in academic libraries: library of congress classification! Mixed race families between incest & mental health. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:20:40
  12. roselovec
    Why do research? Document best practices. Increase credibility of profession/als. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:23:56
  13. traceyfromkc
    Diversity can be key to the quality of group outcomes (Scott Page research) #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:24:02
  14. roselovec
    Why is research important? Informed decision-making, influence decision makers, encourage investment in diversity, build knowledge #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:28:54
  15. roselovec
    Supreme Court justices made affirmative action decision based on research #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:32:28
  16. CarlSHess
    Why don’t librarians research? Lack comfort with methods, no time, don’t see relevance, and no support for it. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:42:20
  17. roselovec
    Use professonal network to publish! Ask someone to collaborate with you. Less overwhelming. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:47:10
  18. roselovec
    Know someone who’s already published? Get connected to their book editors, journal editorial boards. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:48:35
  19. CarlSHess
    Most research collaborations in #LIS between people with similar roles. We need to mix it up. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:52:11
  20. roselovec
    Awesome comment from audience member about the need for more humanities based research in LIS! #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 09:55:43
  21. roselovec
    Research that’s not informed by existing lit is of limited value. Can be easily dismissed. #JCLC2012

    Sat, Sep 22 2012 10:06:48

I want to expand on that last tweet because it’s a pet peeve of mine.  Research needs to be grounded in and contextualized by the existing literature.  If you haven’t taken a look at what others have already done, your work just won’t be as strong.  This is something I definitely look for when conducting peer reviews of papers submitted to the SLIS Student Research Journal, and I find that often it is either missing or people just summarize works in their literature reviews without providing any analysis of them.  The latter is something I did until I finally had a professor who provided actual guidance on writing scholarly literature reviews, instead of assuming everyone was already skilled in writing them.  I definitely think that a research methods course should be a requirement in all library schools, but unfortunately that’s not the case.  How are we supposed to educate others about conducting research if we don’t have any experience ourselves?

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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in conferences, diversity


my first publication: “Preserving Digital Cultural Heritage: A Call for Participatory Models”

A few months ago at Hack Library School, I wrote a post about my experiences on both sides of the peer-review journal process.  I’m happy to share that a paper I originally wrote for my preservation management class was published in Library Student Journal this month.  If you get a chance, I would love for you to read it and share feedback!

Additionally, I’m slowly writing a paper mentioned previously on historical archivists of color.  Due to time and resource restraints, the paper definitely won’t delve into many of the issues I wanted to look into — but it’s a start to what will hopefully turn into a long-term research project.

I also just returned from the 2nd Annual Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) and hope to write up some thoughts on that experience soon.


what have i been up to?

CC image courtesy of simon.hucko on flickr

I realize that I’ve seriously neglected this blog — I have been writing, it just hasn’t been here.  Here are some of my past posts over at Hack Library School:

What I learned from the peer review process

Tips for your job or internship application

Questioning the Final Research Paper

Say what? Things I haven’t learned in library school

This summer and fall, I’ve decided to focus on research I’ve been meaning to do for a while.  I feel that very little literature on archival history exists, especially compared to the amount out there on library history, and I’d like to contribute what I can.  My plan is to research historical archivists of color — who they were, what work they did, what obstacles they faced, etc. — and I’ll need all the help I can get!  Once I have a better defined focus (e.g. time period, definition of archivist), I’ll definitely put a call out for names and all the resources I can find to learn about these individuals.  Please feel free to go ahead and give me any suggestions.


Posted by on June 11, 2012 in archives, diversity


Tags: , , ,

#webwise 2012

Last Thursday and Friday, I attended the WebWise Conference in Baltimore. This conference is annually hosted by IMLS and features presentations on digital projects from museums, libraries, and archives. What I love about WebWise is that their explicit goal is for you to take ideas that were presented (or ones you learned from meeting new people) and adopt them to your own institutions.

I really enjoyed most of the presentations, which is rare for me to say about a conference. Recordings of all the presentations should be posted on the WebWise site soon, so be sure to check them all out! The presentation I got the most out of was Ramesh Srinivasan on “Digital Collaborations Between Museums, Archaeologists, and Indigenous Peoples.” This presentation resonated the most with me because it is closely aligned with my research interests. Its inherent message was about how there are different ways of knowing and how diverse stakeholder communities can work together.

Ramesh was the last speaker of the last session, and sadly the conference room was noticeably much less full than the previous day. I created a storify of the tweets for anyone who missed out, but definitely watch the video when it’s up.

  1. Share
    Speaking: Ramesh Srinivasan, UCLA Dept. of Information Studies #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:37:57
  2. Share
    UCLA’s Ramesh Srinivasan: Museums and libraries are in a unique position to facilitate collaboration between expert communities. #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:39:13
  3. Share
    Ramesh Srinivasan from ucla talking ab. the ways in which new media can help create new ways of working w/ collections and people. #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:39:29
  4. Share
    There are sovereign diverse voices of communities associated with collections #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:39:34
  5. Share
    Srinivasan speaking from a design background and as ethnographer #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:40:52
  6. Share
    Ramesh lived & worked on 19 Native American reservations over span of ~2 years. Developed understanding of voices, networks, power #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:41:06
  7. Share
    You don’t just dump projects on communities. Systems are built on different cultural understandings #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:42:41
  8. Share
    How do you classify objects? Fluid ontologies #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:43:30
  9. Share
    Explored how Zuni (Native American community) could be part of classifying objects. “What do you have to say about this object?” #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:46:38
  10. Share
    Different stakeholders (curators, archaeologists, source communities) use different ontologies to describe the same object #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:47:44
  11. Share
    Zuni tell stories about objects, they locate them around traditions. Local knowledge often doesn’t make it into databases. #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:47:59
  12. Share
    Source communities differ in that they provide the story behind objects #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:48:12
  13. Share
    Working on open source model to enable feeds to flow from 3 groups – archaeologists, curators, Zuni #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:49:51
  14. Share
    Enjoying thoroughness @rameshmedia brought to thinking through overlapping issues of stories/metadata, ethics/protocols, community #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:51:17
  15. Share
    Cultural protocols inform layers of the technical system #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:52:36
  16. Share
    Collaborative catalogs exist in parallel #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:53:51
  17. Share
    What is the emergent knowledge that gets produced through this process? #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:54:04
  18. Share
    Learn more: #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:55:22
  19. Share
    Collaboration sometimes means letting projects develop in parallel. We don’t always have to pick one winner. #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 11:57:57
  20. Share
    Neat to see their grant proposal narrative up (pdf) MT @US_IMLS: @rameshmedia site: #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 12:00:41
  21. Share
    Kevin Cherry: Please share, do something using what you’ve learned, and let us know what you’ve done. Send us an email. #webwise

    Fri, Mar 02 2012 12:20:07
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in conferences, diversity


Tags: , ,

more than just numbers: pluralizing LIS education

I just finished reading an awesome article from a recent issue of American Archivist“Educating for the Archival Multiverse.”  While the article focuses on archival education, librarians have a lot to learn from it too.  The underlying argument is that diversifying the LIS profession has traditionally meant recruiting larger numbers of people from minority racial and ethnic groups (and trying to achieve representation in professional organizations), yet that “approach, while important, overlooks the systemic nature of the problems it seeks to address, that diversifying the student population without expanding pedagogy and practice perpetuates a lack of awareness and consideration of the perspectives, behaviors, and needs of many different communities.”

The term diversity itself is examined, for it emphasizes a division between the majority group and all other marginalized groups — the authors instead choose to use pluralism, which doesn’t privilege any one group over another.  Furthermore, the authors ask, “How do we move from an archival universe dominated by one cultural paradigm to an archival multiverse; from a world constructed in terms of ‘the one’ and ‘the other’ to a world of multiple ways of knowing and practicing, of multiple narratives co-existing in one space?”

That question really summarizes the foundation of my scholarly inquiry.  I seem to always start my research papers by explaining how cultural groups have different understandings of LIS concepts — whether it’s access, privacy, ownership, etc. — and how archivists must address the profession’s Western limitations in processing cultural records.  Yet this initial step of recognizing that there are multiple perspectives and understandings of archival concepts, standards, and practices has never been mentioned or discussed in any of my classes so far.  And that’s a drag.

“Educating for the Archival Multiverse” proposes eight objectives for pluralizing archival education, and I’m just going to touch on the three that stand out the most to me.

  • Historicize and Contextualize Archival Theory and Practice: students need to be taught the history and context of our current standards and practices, grounding them within a specific historical place and time so students know how those key concepts were culturally derived
  • Expand Existing Curricula to Focus on Core Archival Concepts and Values as Well as Processes:  rather than focusing on archival processes (e.g. appraisal, arrangement, and description), examining core concepts such as trust, accountability, ownership, authenticity, access, and permanence can help educators address different cultural understandings
  • Strengthen Community Engagement:  educators should invite speakers representing different perspectives and experiences to present to the class; schools can create partnerships with community archives for students to learn and practice in different settings

I highly recommend this article to anyone interested in how LIS education (and really, the profession) needs to be diversified in more ways than just numbers.

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in archives, diversity, library school


ala 2011 annual conference: leaders wanted

CC image courtesy of dolescum on Flickr

Honestly, I didn’t have any high expectations when I left for New Orleans last Friday morning. Now that I’m back in DC, all I’ve been thinking about is the conference and how I left New Orleans inspired to take action in a variety of ways. It was great to finally meet other library students I’ve been in contact with through Twitter, notably writers and readers from the Hack Library School community. I had such a great time with all of you, and I’m proud to call you my friends! The time spent just hanging out with people was definitely the highlight of the conference. I would go back just to hang out again!

As for the conference itself, the session that stuck with me the most was “Leaders Wanted / LIS Doctoral Programs Options Fair: Cultivating Diversity in LIS Education.” I quit my Anthropology Ph.D. program three years ago, and I never considered pursuing a doctorate again until this conference session. I have quite a few issues with academia, but one of the panelists — Camila Alire, 2009-2010 ALA Past President — definitely got me thinking about changing my position on pursuing a Ph.D. She stated that it’s important for librarians/library students of color to get their Ph.D.’s because we need to diversify the profession. Additionally, earning the doctorate makes you a role model — not only for other LIS students of color, but all the patrons of color you’ll interact with. One out of three people in the United States is a person of color, and the library profession should reflect this diversity.

Camila’s comments really resonated with me and got me thinking. I can’t just wait for other people to step up to the plate — or wait for others to provide my perspective in the greater body of LIS knowledge. My goal has always been to perform research on issues important to me, regardless if it related to my job or not. If I’m going to be doing this research anyway, I might as well get that other “union card” at the same time — and the institutional resources and support that come with being in a doctoral program would be immensely helpful. It’s also unfortunate, but a reality, that having a doctorate gives you a certain credibility to some (or many) people. If that credibility would give my research more weight, then I seriously need to consider that. I do not plan on ever becoming a full-time professor — I enjoy working in libraries and archives too much! And if I pursue a PhD, I also don’t intend on becoming a full-time student. I just want to work with people in a library or archive, connecting them with their information needs, and at the same research issues that interest me — is that too much to aim for?



what’s missing from fashion archives? women of color

One of my favorite blogs out there right now is Of Another Fashion, brought to you by the bloggers of Threadbared.  Of Another Fashion posts vintage and archival photos of stylish women of color in the United States, creating a digital archive that provides a perspective largely missing from mainstream fashion archives and exhibits.  The photos posted are from archives, other online sources, and public submissions.

This blog is particularly inspirational to me for a few reasons.  Foremost, the blog’s purpose is to highlight and share photographs that have a rich yet overlooked history.  Most of the photos’ subjects aren’t of models, but your everyday average woman.  Another key element of the blog is that it actively seeks contributions from the public — not only to post but with the larger goal of creating an actual exhibit.  Many of the photos shared are from family albums, which I think adds a richer narrative to the fashion record.  In the creators’ own words:

In providing a glimpse of women of color’s material cultural histories — a glimpse that no doubt only begins to redress the curatorial and critical absence of minoritized fashion histories — this archive and the forthcoming exhibition commemorates lives and experiences too often considered not important enough to save or to study.

This idea links directly to Rand Jimerson’s point about the power of archives and archivists (which I’ve written about previously).  In determining which histories, experiences, and narratives are preserved in archival institutions (and the context given of those materials), we greatly influence the cultural record and memory.  Archivists have a responsibility to ensure diversity in the archival record, and Of Another Fashion is a great example to look towards.

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in archives, diversity, links, photographs