My Own Perspective and Potential Biases: Could They Affect This Research?

So, I thought that it was important to briefly address my own perspective and unintentional biases and how they may impact or have been impacted by this research process. I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of existing metadata standards, metadata creation, and the biases of metadata are a continuing learning process, and I am by no means an expert. However, I have seen firsthand in my own research the way that biases in metadata and terminology can impact metadata creation, search results, the accuracy of certain resources, and ultimately the final research product that users put forth. In particular, my perspective and experiences as a disabled person have illustrated how, for mine and other marginalized communities, outdated and biased terminology, harmful assumptions, and resistance to change can all impact not only the way that people research and the results that are given precedence, but can also have real-world implications. People still think that words like “crippled” and “handicapped” are acceptable terms, and rather than asking people in the community how we prefer to be referenced to, they instead make assumptions as to what the community needs or wants. As long as these majority-centric perspectives and processes are allowed to dominate the research environment, they also dominate the public discourse and the way that society perceives disabled people and other marginalized communities. Utilizing community-created vocabularies allows individuals to have a voice and agency in the larger research environment.

As for how my perspective may impact this research and project, I hope that it can serve as both a fresh set of eyes to the research process, and allow me to help locate reliable sources that best represent the thoughts, preferences, and needs of all of the communities concerned. I hope that my somewhat novice level of metadata knowledge will not be a hindrance to this project, and will rather let the project and my role serve as a learning experience and as a deeper introduction into the world of the metadata of marginalized communities.

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