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BC Library Conference 2020

F23 - Social Justice, Human Rights, & Wikipedia Projects: Addressing systemic injustice on the Internet.

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 2:45 PM–3:30 PM EDT
Meeting Room #5
Session Description

This talk will outline examples of ways library workers can play a role in addressing systemic inequities in digital environments to actively create change. People around the world, including in Canada, continue to encounter the violent consequences of colonialism, racism, and gender discrimination. Structural inequity is present in digital environments and is often less visible or evident than injustice in library collections, programming, or teaching practices. At the same time, problematic practices such as colonial renaming of Indigenous peoples and places, dead-naming of transgender persons, and misgendering are amplified in digital environment by the widespread use and reach of standard vocabularies and structured data. Inequity is reinforced by who is visible on the Internet and the context of this visibility. For example, the organization “Whose Knowledge?” has estimated that of the biographies of women on Wikipedia, already less than 20% of the biographies on the platform, less than 20% of those biographies have images. Researchers such as Safiya Noble and Wendy Chun have pointed to the ways systemic inequity is playing out in the context of big data and the potentially damaging impacts on communities already in marginalized positions in society.


Stacy Allison-Cassin, York University Library

Stacy Allison-Cassin is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and Associate Librarian in the Department of Student Learning and Academic Success at York University with a concentration in Critical Pedagogy. She is an active member of the Wikimedia community since 2015 where she primarily contributes to the GLAM and Wikidata communities. She is a member of the Board of Wikimedia Canada and the IFLA Working Group on Wikidata. Allison-Cassin actively contributes to projects focused on Indigenous matters in libraries and is member of the CLFA Board of Directors, CFLA Indigenous Matters Group, and the IFLA Indigenous Matters Section.