October 16, 2021

OCLC Awarded Mellon Grant to Convene a Diverse Group to ‘Reimagine Descriptive Workflows’ in Libraries, Archives

From OCLC:

OCLC has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to convene a diverse group of experts, practitioners, and community members to determine ways to improve descriptive practices, tools, infrastructure and workflows in libraries and archives. The multi-day virtual convening is part of an eight-month project, Reimagine Descriptive Workflows.

Working in consultation with Shift Collective, a nonprofit consulting group that helps cultural institutions build stronger communities through lasting engagement, along with an advisory group of community leaders, OCLC will:

  • Convene a conversation of community stakeholders about how to address the systemic issues of bias and racial equity within our current collection description infrastructure.
  • Share with member libraries the need to build more inclusive and equitable library collections and to provide description approaches that promote effective representation and discovery of previously neglected or mis-characterized peoples, events, and experiences.
  • Develop a community agenda that will be of great value in clarifying issues for those who do knowledge work in libraries, archives, and museums; identifying priority areas for attention from these institutions; and providing valuable guidance for those national agencies and suppliers.

OCLC occupies a critical place in the bibliographic ecosystem for library technical services and global discovery. OCLC staff and thousands of member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections.

“As a steward of the world’s library data, OCLC has an important role to play to help create inclusive descriptions,” said Mary Sauer-Games, OCLC Vice President, Global Product Management. “We are honored to work with community partners to examine and address obsolete, discriminatory and harmful language in bibliographic descriptions. This project is a significant step forward to address these issues on a scale that will result in lasting change.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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