Response 8(?) – Scarlett Taylor

Regarding the Thomas Mann article – I just must get this out first – I was consumed thinking about the cataloging implications of Yugoslavia as a subject heading, particularly how that reflects on our need to maintain (some) historical subject headings so that materials cataloged that way can still be found, and researchers working in a historical vocabulary can find them without translating to a current phrase. Would changing “Yugoslavia” to “Former Yugoslavia” be technically accurate? Yes. Necessary? Nio. This is, of course, a different case than blatantly offensive subject headings, but it interested me nonetheless.

Similarly, Taylor’s address of cultural subjectivity in subject analysis, while appropriately shallow for the scope of the section, was nice to see. I realize that this course’s reading assignments are overwhelmingly influenced by the professor, but I like to see such address of subjectivity in areas many people think of as objective – and it’s in our readings every week! I’m developing a skewed view of the library world as entirely full of very active social justice crusaders, and I really like it.

More relevantly to the week’s topic, Taylor’s address of “aboutness” and analysis of whether there even can be objectivity resonated with me. Again, libraries are thought of as these places of all knowledge, and therefore of course cannot have any bias, but they do. I had not thought of how even looking at the audience for a book that you have (subjectively) determined the subject of can be so very subjective, and how that audience influences the subject headings.

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