Document (#36543)

Author
Bates, J.
Rowley, J.
Title
Social reproduction and exclusion in subject indexing : a comparison of public library OPACs and LibraryThing folksonomy
Source
Journal of documentation. 67(2011) no.3, S.431-448
Year
2011
Abstract
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to highlight limits to the dominant model of social inclusion under which UK public libraries operate, to analyse how and to what extent processes of socio-cultural exclusion emerge in the subject representation and discoverability of "non-dominant" resources in public library OPACs, and to consider folksonomy as a solution to any issues raised. Design/methodology/approach - The paper first develops a critique of the dominant model of "inclusion" within UK public libraries, drawing on feminist and critical theories of identity. It then considers how this critique overlaps with and offers fresh insights into major debates within subject indexing, and develops a theoretical rationale for considering the potential of folksonomy to intervene in more inclusive subject-indexing design. A user-based critical interpretive methodology which understands OPACs as texts open to multiple interpretations is developed, and a comparative reading of standard OPACs and LibraryThing folksonomy is undertaken to evaluate the discoverability and subject representation of LGBTQ and ethnic minority resources. Findings - LibraryThing folksonomy offers benefits over LCSH subject indexing in the discoverability and representation of LGBTQ resources. However, the folksonomy is dominated by US taggers, and this impacts on the tagging of ethnic minority resources. Folksonomy, like traditional indexing, is found to contain its own biases in worldview and subject representation. Originality/value - The importance of subject indexing in developing inclusive library services is highlighted and a new method for evaluating OPACs is developed.
Theme
OPAC
Location
GB
USA

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