This is a guest blog post by Karen Koswara, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University.
I am Karen Koswara and I am the first Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Computing (UROC) student to be involved in IU Libraries’ Inclusivity and Bias in Metadata Research. As a new Informatics major, I want to explore as many areas as possible until I find a perfect field that I am interested in. Thus, I signed up for many projects through UROC. I remembered that there was a large number of projects from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering (SICE) as listed in UROC’s sign-up page. I was encouraged to choose as many projects that interested me as possible as there was no guarantee that I will get my first preference. Among the many projects that I chose, I remember the word “metadata” in Inclusivity and Bias in library cataloging and Metadata was very appealing to me, thinking it would be amazing to start working with metadata. A few weeks later, I was signed up to work with Julie Hardesty and I had never been more excited. On our first meeting, I met up with Julie to clarify what I will be doing for the research. Julie explained to me that the Metadata Discussion Group never had students involved before and she was interested in exploring inclusivity and bias in metadata from a student point of view. The research would mainly be reading articles, discussing my thoughts and points of view, and look into ideas that will help the Metadata Discussion Group to move forward. I officially signed up for this research after that meeting.
Later in the research after having my second meeting with Julie, I realized many issues came from collections in other languages that Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) classify too broadly, making those collections unreachable. Looking at this situation, it made me think to approach this issue by looking into different cataloging systems in different countries with different languages. My idea is that maybe other countries’ cataloging classification is more specific, and we can apply their classification terms to LCSH. I believe this is possible when I realize a language often borrows words from other languages. For example, in Indonesian language, many words are the same as Dutch as Indonesia was under the Dutch for about three centuries. Indonesian language also uses some English terms. For example, the word “transition” is “transisi” in Indonesian and they have the same meaning.
I first thought of the Chinese library because of the complex Chinese characters. The most widely used cataloging system in China is now known as CLC (Chinese Library Classification) also known as CCL (Classification for Chinese Library). There are also many other classifications in China that are used such as LCPUC (Library Classification of the People’s University of China), LCCAS (Library Classification of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), and MSL (Library Classification for Medium and Small Libraries). Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau use a separate cataloging system known as New Classification for Chinese Library. Harvard has established their own cataloging system for Chinese collections known as Harvard-Yenching Classification System which many organizations in the United States adopted.
I also try to think of other organizations that might have their own library of some sort to keep track of their employees’ work such as National Geographic. I thought of National Geographic as I believe they would have some kind of cataloging system to keep track of their researchers’ and photographers’ work. Unfortunately, I was not able to find much since there is not much information available about this on the internet. I did find out that they do have some kind of library to keep images by their photographers.
As a first–time inexperienced researcher, I really hope this point of view helps leads to a new approach and a step forward. I have also learned that in doing this research, one has to look deep into oneself, and see how one portrays a word as well as what it means to them to avoid biases. I believe it would also help future researchers who are completely new to this research to look into a recent graduate student article titled “The Language of Cataloguing: Deconstructing and Decolonizing Systems of Organization in Libraries” by Crystal Vaughan at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada to help understand the situation as it helped me very much.
 Branum, Candise. (20 December 2017). “The Organization and Classification of Library Systems in China.” Candise Branum, MLS, https://candisebranum.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-organization-and-classification-of-library-systems-in-china/.
 Vaughan, Crystal. (2018). “The Language of Cataloguing: Deconstructing and Decolonizing Systems of Organization in Libraries.” Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management 14, https://ojs.library.dal.ca/djim/article/view/7853.