[Metadatalibrarians] Help with outdated and offensive terms in metadata (Erica FINDLEY)

Annie Sollinger annies at library.umass.edu
Mon Jun 19 09:26:01 PDT 2017

Hi Erica, 

This project sounds so interesting! It immediately brought to mind an undertaking by the Rijksmuseum, from 2013/2015 (see: https://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/10/rijksmuseum-removing-racially-charged-terms-from-artworks-titles-and-descriptions/?mcubz=0 ) Searching for “Adjustment of Colonial Terminology” will yield many results.

From this article: https://hyperallergic.com/263180/why-the-rijksmuseum-is-removing-bigoted-terms-from-its-artworks-titles/
"Titles that were given by the artist, or written on the object, are not eliminated in the updates, but instead referred to as “original title” or “title on object,” with a new preferred title next to it. “Adjusted titles and descriptions are always kept in the museum’s registration system, available to everyone,” Sint Nicolaas says. This indicates to viewers that the museum’s current staff isn’t condoning the racist perspective implied by the original title’s language, but rather putting that title in historical context."

My impression is that curators aimed to decolonize object titles, I think by using terms that those depicted would use to identify themselves, rather than the terms that colonizers used. (Renaming something doesn't remove the aesthetics of colonialism, but that's another story, and of course this project is controversial)

My thinking is that the original titles, especially if they came from the creators, should be retained in some way, with a note. The easiest thing might be just to take out the outdated descriptors for a display title, resulting in "Basota bust," or "habitat diorama." 

I'm happy to discuss this with you further!

Annie Sollinger

/ / / / / / /
Annie Sollinger
Digital Image Metadata Librarian
Liaison for Digital Humanities
Image Collection Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
annies at library.umass.edu

   2. Help with outdated and offensive terms in	metadata (Erica FINDLEY)

Message: 2
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2017 11:05:07 -0700
From: Erica FINDLEY <ericaf at multcolib.org>
To: metadatalibrarians at lists.monarchos.com
Subject: [Metadatalibrarians] Help with outdated and offensive terms
	in	metadata
	<CAGi+6Wd0HxLQmomsBPB0LL=VZN0mg5_3bmgxACTMJY2eW=gLxw at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

Good morning,
At my library, we are working on a digital collection of works created as part of the Oregon Federal Art Project <https://gallery.multcolib.org/collection/oregon-federal-arts-project>
during the late 30's and early 40's. Some of the pieces of art have titles like "Basota negroid bust" or "Indian Habitat Diorama" and "Indian ceremonial dance".

Since these terms are part of the title, I am not sure what to do. Do I keep the titles, but make some kind of note in these?

Please help! If you can point me to any readings on this that would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


*Erica Findley*
*Cataloging | Metadata Librarian*
Multnomah County Library
Isom Building
My schedule: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Phone: 503.988.5466
multcolib.org <http://www.multcolib.org/>

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