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BC Library Conference 2020

T08 - Cataloguing is NOT Neutral.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 11:00 AM–12:15 PM EDT
Meeting Room #3
Session Description

What is the face libraries present to the world? If users see us first in collections and the representation of them via the catalogue, how are we doing? Are we fulfilling library principles? The BCLA conference theme of “Democracy, Libraries, and Action” reminds all of the work to do to uphold values of intellectual freedom and equitable access at the library.

For this session, presenters will speak personally to their ability to meet the goals of democratic community building in catalogue work. In an attempt to convene a crucial conversation on cataloguing as a political process, the panel will moderate dialogue around questions such as:
- Do cataloguers see themselves as ambassadors of the library reaching patrons at the shelves and on their devices or browsers in a democratic way?
- Do we strive for neutrality?
- Are there any parts of systemic change that has dialed up polarization and politicization of the catalogue?
- Has systemic change brought beneficial changes to cataloguing ethics (and other technical services processes) since the turn of the century?
- To what extent do cataloguers think about access and/or accessibility issues in day to day work?
- Now that direct access to communities and how they form meaning to their metadata is possible, is domain knowledge required inside the cataloguing process?
- How does the sociopolitical legacy of libraries and their tools and leaders impact cataloguing work? Or does it?
- What commitment to basic human rights are detectable in the catalogue?

Panelists are participating in efforts to provide ethical guidance via the Cataloguing and Indexing Group (CIG) of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in the UK, the Canadian Cataloguing and Metadata Standards Committee (CMSC) and ALA Cataloging and Metadata Management Section. Some insight on that process will be included in the session.


Maryann Kempthorne, North Vancouver District Public Library

Maryann is the Manager of Innovation & Learning for North Vancouver District Public Library. Bringing a background in academic, public, school and special libraries as well as cultural enterprises and open access software she is a keen presenter on library work, especially cataloguing. With a longstanding commitment to library education and professionalism of libraries, museums and archives Maryann volunteers in the area of continuing education, writes about libraries and library process widely on social media, is dedicated to convening community conversations and has taught cataloguing and classification topics since 2003.

Samantha Bloomfield, Learning Resources Services, Surrey Schools

Samantha Bloomfield is the Team Leader at Learning Resources Services, Surrey Schools. She has worked as a cataloguer at Surrey Libraries and Douglas College Library and has supported the libraries of Surrey Schools with cataloguing, systems support and other technical assistance for more than ten years where she has observed repeatedly that accessibility sometimes requires us to play in the grey areas of the rules. Samantha has also served on LTAS and is the current secretary of BCCATS. She completed her Library and Information Technology Diploma at Langara College in 2006.

May Chan, University of Toronto Libraries

May is currently Head, Metadata Services for University of Toronto Libraries. She was previously Cataloguing Manager for Burnaby Public Library and began her career at Vancouver Public Library. Her 17 years of experience in public libraries have instilled a strong value for service excellence and collaboration. May is a member of the Joint Canada-US-UK Cataloguing Ethics Steering Committee serving as a representative for CFLA-FCAB’s Cataloguing and Metadata Standards Committee. She was the Steering Committee’s liaison for the Access Scope and Infrastructure Working Group.

Emily Sugerman, University of British Columbia

Emily Sugerman is a recent MLIS graduate from the UBC School of Information. When not job searching, she volunteers in the library/archives at Western Front Society. Emily has worked at the French, Hispanic & Italian Studies Reading Room at UBC, Halifax Central Library, and the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore. She is a member of the Resource Discovery & Accessibility working group, within the joint Canada-US-UK Cataloguing Ethics Steering Committee. Emily continues to pursue the history and future of cataloguing and classification work.