Putting the principles of critical librarianship into practice

In 2021, the Chicago History Museum was awarded a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to catalog a collection of 13 folders containing 80 miscellaneous pamphlets relating to Indigenous peoples. To improve access and discoverability, we created individual records for each item in CHM’s online catalog. We employed critical cataloging concepts, researched how communities define themselves, and added disclaimers when historical language is used.

This Google Arts & Culture story documents the process taken to catalog these items and can be used to guide those embarking on subject-specific cataloging projects.

Content Warning

Historical material often contains violent acts, offensive language, or negative stereotypes that reflect the culture and language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record.

Walter Battice_i182621a Portrait photograph of Walter Battice (Sac and Fox) from Business and Professional Woman Magazine, c. 1920. CHM, ICHi-182621a
Indian Celebration bulletin_i182624_pm Front page of the Quarterly Bulletin of the Municipal Employees Society including an article on the American Indian Day exposition held September 27‒30, 1923, Palatine, Illinois. CHM, ICHi-182624
AIC Open House Invite_i182620_01 Front cover of the American Indian Center of Chicago Open House Invitation at 1630 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago (year unknown), CHM, ICHi-182620_01

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