May 16, 2022

Journal Article: “Ethical and Anti-Oppressive Metadata: A Collaboration Between Catalogers and Archivists at George Mason University Libraries”

The article linked below was recently published by Collaborative Librarianship. The complete table of contents for the issue (13.1) is available here.


Ethical and Anti-Oppressive Metadata: A Collaboration Between Catalogers and Archivists at George Mason University Libraries


Liz Beckman
George Mason University

Lynn Eaton
George Mason University

Yoko Ferguson
George Mason University

David Heilbrun
George Mason University

Rachel Lavender
Madison Public Library


Collaborative Librarianship: Vol. 13: Iss. 1, Article 5.


Systems of library and archival resource description have historically reinforced the societal power structures of white supremacy, patriarchy, and cis-heteronormativity. Following the framework of critical librarianship and acknowledging our positionality as predominately white departments, George Mason University Libraries’ Metadata Services (MS) and Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) have been engaging in a variety of projects of reparative resource description. To discuss points of collaboration between the two departments, the Task Force for Ethical and Anti-Oppressive Metadata (TEAM) was formed, consisting of staff and faculty members from both groups who work with resource description. Although the departments have a history of collaboration, TEAM has provided us an opportunity to work together in a holistic way, giving us a space for learning, exchanging ideas, and sharing insights and resources. The particular focus of this group has been the identification of existing harmful and biased language in resource description and the exploration and installment of alternatives.

In this Field Report we demonstrate how MS and SCRC have been collaboratively engaging in reparative description within the university libraries, discuss our theoretical framework, approach its impact outside of the library, and share examples of ongoing projects. This report provides a model for collaborative work that addresses and interrupts the perpetuation of harm in resource description.

Direct to Full Text Article
12 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.