[Library Media] Race-based subject headings

Heather Novotny hnovotny at mcgillisschool.org
Wed Mar 8 08:49:53 MST 2017

Interesting point about the subject headings!

I just showed students how to click on the subject headings in a work's bibliographic record to find further materials. I love this as a backdoor to understanding indexing in a library catalog, and it works with any catalog. The 5th graders were totally geeked up, and a bunch of them went to the City & County library catalogs to try it immediately.

The strength of subject indexing is that, unlike keyword searching, it can return more relevant results. We all learn keyword searching just by doing it, but subject indexing has got to be taught.

Regarding removing descriptors that reference ethnicity, not sure I agree with that. What is the purpose of it? If Korean kids can find books about kids like them, that's a good thing, right?
 Heather Novotny
The McGillis School
668 South 1300 East Salt Lake City, UT 84102
hnovotny at mcgillisschool.org

 From:   Joseph Nielsen <Joseph.Nielsen at slcschools.org> 
 To:   Cindy Mitchell <cindy.mitchell at jordandistrict.org>, "library-media at lists.uen.org" <library-media at lists.uen.org> 
 Sent:   3/8/2017 8:21 AM 
 Subject:   Re: [Library Media] Race-based subject headings 

I cringe at it too, but maybe not for the same reason. I’m seeing more reviews now which specifically point out the ethnicity of the characters – particularly if they are involved  in some type of cross-ethnic relationship. I suspect it is because of the rising trend in trying to make our collections more ethnically diverse. But I think a good story should stand on the merits of the story – not the multi-ethnicity of the characters.  Where such information is relevantly essential – or essentially relevant - to the story line, then by all means put it in the review and tell the reader. But otherwise let the story speak for itself. Readers will picture the characters like themselves, identify  with them and develop their own internal movie. And that is part of what makes reading so special. 
Joseph R. Nielsen 
Library Technology Teacher 
Hawthorne Elementary School 
Salt Lake City School District 
From: library-media [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] On Behalf Of Cindy Mitchell
 Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 7:41 AM
 To: library-media at lists.uen.org
 Subject: [Library Media] Race-based subject headings 
I have been editing a lot of MARC records lately and whenever I see "African American" or "Korean American" and other such subject headings they make me cringe.  I am thinking of deleting them all together.   Especially because the information is usually available in the summary of the book and who sees the subject headings any more except for us?  I'd appreciate some thoughts on this.  
FYI - I have already eliminated the "Girls", "Teenagers", and "Boys" subject headings!

Cindy Mitchell 
South Jordan Middle School 
10245 S 2700 W 
South Jordan UT 84095 
fax: 801-412-2930 Scanned By Microsoft EOP 

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