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LibGuides: FSU Standards & Evolving Practice

Shared goals for creating learner-centered research guides at FSU Libraries.

Inclusive Language

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.

  • We use inclusive language.
  • We contextualize instances when classification systems and/or subject headings reflect out-dated, offensive, or other non-inclusive language.

Diversity in Resources, Diversity in Perspectives

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.

  • When recommending specific publications, we present diverse authors and perspectives.
  • When resources reflect limited perspectives or reinforce existing power structures, we provide the necessary context for learners to recognize, evaluate, and interpret such resources effectively.
  • We reveal the ways in which databases, catalogs, and other search tools reflect and reproduce the biases of the societies that created them, including search algorithms, peer-review processes, and the publishing industry.

Guide as Publication: Authority and Positionality

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.

  • Research guides include an author statement separate from the Profile box. When possible, include the original author (if not yourself), the date the guide was first created, and the author and dates of any significant updates.
  • We include information about our expertise and scholarly perspective in our Profile boxes.
  • We are transparent about why we select, prioritize, and endorse resources through our guides.

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.

Example text:

This guide was created by Micah Vandegrift, edited by Aaron Retteen, and re-designed by Bonnie Santos, the Digital Scholarship & UX Intern (2016-2017). Camille Thomas maintains the guide and is the point of contact for open access inquiries.


Except where otherwise noted, the content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Suggested Readings

On the non-neutrality of popular databases, see also:

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