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.
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.
Special thanks to the following individuals who made this Google Arts & Culture story possible:
Peter T. Alter
Charles E. Bethea
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
Pamela Richardson Jones
John Low, Citizen – Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
Timothy Paton Jr.
Cataloging of the Indigenous-related pamphlets was generously supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014)
- Society of American Archivists Native American Archives Section, “Protocols Webinar Series (1): Building Relationships of Mutual Respect,” 2019, https://sustainableheritagenetwork.org/digital-heritage/protocols-webinar-series-1-building-relationships-mutual-respect
- Manitoba Archival Information Network, Indigenous Subject Headings in MAIN, https://main.lib.umanitoba.ca/indigenous-subject-headings
- Reclaiming Native Truth Project, Changing the Narrative about Native Americans: A Guide for Allies (Fredericksburg, VA: First Nations Development Institute, 2018)
- Gregory Younging, Elements of Indigenous Style: a Guide for Writing by and About Indigenous Peoples (Edmonton, AB: Brush Education, 2018)