Metadata services team vocabulary project included in #ALAVirtual20 Diversity Fair Poster Session

As part of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative at Iowa State University, Harriet Wintermute, Wesley Teal and Christopher Dieckman, members of the Metadata Services department in the University Library undertook a project to build, publish, and use a controlled vocabulary of preferred terms for Iowa-related North American Indigenous Peoples (NAIP). After the research stage, the team reached out to the American Indian Faculty and Staff Association on campus and to the tribes for their feedback on which preferred term(s) to use.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) for NAIP do not always reflect the preferred names of the peoples being described. Often, cataloging and metadata professionals are constrained by names imposed during colonization. For example, the Meskwaki people in Iowa are classified as “Fox Indians – Iowa” in our library catalogs.

The team submitted a poster (image below) for inclusion in the Diversity Fair Poster Session during #ALAVirtual20, June 24-26, which describes the team’s outreach process, the published vocabulary, and the process for adding these preferred terms to library metadata. The team’s goal was for the work to inspire other libraries to incorporate culturally appropriate headings.