Webster/Doyle – Don’t Class Me In Antiquities!

I was especially excited about this week’s readings because radical cataloging is the subject we have for our project. Every article is different and interesting, and I like how a lot of them stray away from the conventional form of the traditional published academic article.

This essay switches between the two authors, one American and one Canadian, each writing about their own experiences with Native American materials in the library. What struck me first was the fact that it literally switches back and forth between authors, with their initials before a block of text indicating who is writing, so it feels kind of like you’re reading a conversation. I’ve never seen anything like this in an article or essay written by two authors before, and I thought it was pretty neat.

 

The essay discusses the glaring issues and omissions related to American Indians and Aboriginal people in the Library of Congress and other library systems. I was shocked to read that many individual tribes don’t have specific representation under a classification system, and are instead grouped together under more general headings. There are also often few or no entries after the 19th century, and as they discuss in the article, this implies none of these peoples are living in the 20th century. The essay does point out that steps are being made to change this across the world, from Maori classifications being set up in New Zealand to several projects in the United States and Canada. I agree with the article’s conclusion, that librarians and educators alike need to remain vigilant about project like these because everyone is affected, not just Native Americans and other native peoples. The education of children and students would be stunted greatly if access to these materials remains stilted.

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