Vocabularies and Standards (Project Step 1): What Am I Finding?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a large part of this project is finding controlled vocabularies and metadata schemas/standards that are created by or accepted by marginalized communities. While this may sound like a simple task given the many organizations that have emerged to aid and represent minority groups, often those groups do not include the input of people from these communities, which perpetuates the same outdated terms and assumptions that have plagued these communities over the years. By locating and finding ways to implement community-created vocabularies, terms that have been deemed acceptable by members of these communities–rather than chosen by those in the majority–are the ones that can be implemented to create more accurate and inclusive metadata, even if the process is ongoing and may proceed slowly.

The following are controlled vocabularies and classification schemas that the project research has determined best represent marginalized communities: The Homosaurus LGBTQ Vocabulary, the Disabled People’s Association of Singapore Vocabulary, the Brian Deer Indigenous Peoples Classification System, and the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities Glossary. While these are likely not the only resources that contain vocabularies, these were all found to have a certain level of community input into their creation, and a few have been cited by other sources as being a reliable source for community-determined terminology and classification.

Locating and knowing how to use vocabularies and classifications such as these is crucial to understanding where the issues and gaps in metadata occur, and how to improve it. By making these resources more visible and bringing them into the mainstream research process, the voices of these marginalized communities can be prioritized over the voices of the majority and majority institutions, which can potentially shape both metadata creation and the research process as a whole.

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