Cataloguing Oddities- Katherine K.

Emily Drabinski’s article Teaching the Radical Catalog, brings up a lot of points that I’ve wondered ever since I got my first library job. At the time I was studying French Translation, and when I would go to the library I noticed pretty quickly most of the books on the subject were under PT (French word for toilet paper). Though I kind of considered it coincidence, it made me wonder sometimes due to the hatred of the French culture that there wasn’t something more to it. When I began to work at my undergrad’s library, I noticed too most of the religious texts were sorted under “BS.” At the time I considered it just a coincidence but upon reading this article, my previous suspicions were not unheard of.

Drabinski mentions this as a fault of cataloguing, since some were unintentionally racist done by the cataloguers who assigned their place in the library. She mentions also this is not an easy one to fix, and I agree with her. It must be really hard to change our past, which is a very hard history to even tell to others sometimes. It reminds me of a question that was posted in another class, whether we would take in pro-Nazi material. If we did decide to, should there be a disclaimer that the library does not condone their actions, but simply is including due to historical value? I wonder if this question should be posed when changing the cataloguing systems of the past. But since we are also a world that is gaining new knowledge about materials, we should alter our catalogues based on our findings. While it is tough to satisfy everyone, libraries are not a place to offend anyone intentionally, and therefore we should recognize our cataloguing error and change the offending classifications to the best of our ability.


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