January 16, 2022

Introducing the KNOW Systemic Racism (KSR) Project at Stanford University Libraries

From a Stanford Libraries Blog Post by Felicia Smith, Racial Justice and Social Equity Librarian:

You have heard the protest slogan:

  • No Justice
  • No Peace
  • No Racist Police

Well, in September 2020, in response to the global Black Lives Matter movement and drawing on the aforementioned slogan Stanford Libraries created the Say Their Names – No More Names exhibit that asks viewers to “Know Justice, Know Peace.” As Librarians, we are all committed to Information Literacy, which plays an essential role in society’s progress toward a more peaceful existence. Libraries are uniquely qualified to disseminate knowledge to information seekers who will be empowered to build a more just community. However, as an African American Librarian, I feel the awesome responsibility of a being keeper of the light and protector of our shared memories. I believe that before we as a society can “Know Justice” we must interrogate the racial injustices and atone for the destruction caused by white supremacy, before we can ever “Know Peace.”

The marathon continues, so now, in September 2021, Stanford Libraries entreat you to “KNOW Systemic Racism.”

I am thrilled to announce that in my new role as the Inaugural Racial Justice and Social Equity Librarian, I have begun working full-time on our KNOW Systemic Racism (KSR) endeavor. This incredibly ambitious project was previously referred to as the Systemic Racism Tracker (SRT). This tool will enable users to discover factual data about interconnected systems that pose threats to people of African descent in the United States that have been shaped by racist policies and practices of institutions across centuries. It will also help people take action against these threats by knowing their rights and identifying government agencies and community groups that address systemic racism.

KNOW Systemic Racism (KSR) will be unique in its focus on interconnections of discriminatory systems that impact different areas of people’s lives.

We are dedicated to modeling Anti-Racist practices as we build this tool and conduct collection management tasks. We plan to center Black scholarship and try to avoid the problems caused by peer-review publishers’ gatekeeping which results in racial inequity for Black authors.

Source: Stanford Libraries


Stanford Libraries is supporting the mission of individuals working to end systemic racism by creating a searchable database—called KNOW Systemic Racism (KSR)—that helps people at Stanford and beyond to:

  • Discover and critically evaluate data regarding systemic racism against people of African descent across U.S. institutions,
  • Trace the historical formation and interconnections of institutional discrimination,
  • Take action by (a) knowing their rights and (b) identifying and connecting with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and grassroots groups that address racism.

The KNOW Systemic Racism (KSR) tool will collect, digitize and archive data that is evidence of systemic racism, oral histories and personal narratives documenting discrimination for use in racial and social justice research. The KSR will also cultivate a local network of Stanford scholars and community organizers to identify ways to ameliorate racial discriminatory practices in the Bay Area.

Freely accessible to the general public, the KSR database will have a user-friendly web interface that is tailored to people with different needs and skill levels—from faculty to community activists, from individual citizens to classroom users. The intricate work of collecting, curating, and preserving data will be done by librarians, in concert with faculty advisors and our counterpart academic librarians at other institutions. The KSR’s Police Training Manual collection is currently being duplicated by Howard University’s Law Library which is just one of our partners at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). These manuals include important policies such as Use of Force and/or Chokeholds.

Learn More, Read the Complete Blog Post (approx. 3000 words)

See Also: KNOW Systemic Racism (KSR) Resources

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.