Kunskapsorganisation på arkiv och bibliotek : en studie om metadata beskrivande queert innehåll ur ett teoretiskt konvergerande perspektiv

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för ABM och digitala kulturer

Sammanfattning: With an increasing amount of literature on the convergence of archives and libraries as a point of departure, this thesis examines how archives and libraries respectively assign metadata to informational resources with queer content. Thereby, the thesis contribute to a theoretical convergence between the two institutions. A mixed method approach with quantitative and qualitative methods was chosen. A list of concepts describing queer people and phenomenon were compiled and used for structured searches in the National Archives Database, NAD, to chart how many archives with queer content were retrieved, and with which search phrases. Another list, of books with queer content, were compiled to map what subject headings were applied to the books in Libris, the national library catalogue. To visualise this the open software program Gephi was used. Finally, one interview with two archivists at an archive disposing archives with queer content, and an interview with a cataloguer at the National Library of Sweden, was conducted. The result illuminates that a majority of the concepts used in the searches in NAD did not retrieve any archives judged to have queer content, and the main part of the concepts successfully retrieving archives with queer content were contemporary. In NAD there is a function for subject headings which could improve the users’ ability to retrieve archives. This function was seldom and arbitrarily used. In the interview the archivists confirmed that they did not see the point of such aids. Instead they viewed the finding aids as tools for a user searching in a specific archive, rather than a user searching for archives. In Libris the visualisation in Gephi illustrated that the cataloguers often disregard the indexing rules and use subject headings that are wide and not specific. This might impair the user’s ability to retrieve the books. The result from the two searches showed that the metadata often reproduce societal discourses on queer people and phenomenon. The cataloguer stated that they could disregard the indexing rules and rely on their own tacit knowledge, a sentiment that correlates with the archivists’ statements that their profession is a craft profession. This kind of sentiment could prove impairing for a theoretical convergence on metadata between the two institutions. This captures the focal point of the study; to show that knowledge organisation might appear objective, but metadata is created by humans and influenced by societal values and discourses. Although extended indexing of literature and cataloguing of archives would improve the user’s ability to retrieve information, there is a risk of deadlocking concepts describing queer people and phenomenon. By standardising them, a discourse of stable and uniform identities are reproduced. However, by not describing the queer content or applying subject headings, the information is hard to retrieve. The study highlights this paradox of knowledge organisation and queer theory and suggests a cooperation with the queer community, aiming to maintain a respectful vocabulary and at a same time provide access to archives and literature.

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