Library classification systems and controlled vocabulary reinforce historical ways of knowing that run counter to our contemporary goals for diversity and inclusion. While librarians, especially those working in cataloging and metadata, work to remediate offensive terminology and other structural problems, we also work to educate library students about these systems so that they may navigate and ultimately subvert them in their research.
Even in the digital realm, space and attention are finite resources. Thus, when we select resources to include in our research guides, we are also excluding other possible resources. We acknowledge that traditional models of library collecting and cataloging have historically and systematically excluded and marginalized the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We begin to remedy this harm, in part, by increasing the presence of historically underrepresented voices and scholarship in our research guides. In this way, our research guides align with and further our goal of inclusive collection development.
Research guides are a form of publication. As such, they reflect our authorial voices and present an argument for how research in a particular discipline, course, or topic may be conducted. We reject claims of neutrality by clearly stating our authorship and positionality.
The "License & Attribution" box from Camille Thomas's Academic Publishing guide is an excellent model for providing attribution to the original guide authors alongside explicit licensing information and contact information for the current service.
On the non-neutrality of popular databases, see also: