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Implementing Inclusive Metadata



Inclusive terminology in metadata and its associated descriptors are essential for the successful discovery of relevant materials. As cultural shifts in the use of language occur, collaboration by content providers, platform providers and librarians can make a major contribution to developing a fully-inclusive information environment.This roundtable discussion will bring together stakeholders from across the information community for a cross-sector discussion of how metadata, controlled vocabularies, and other key elements of automated search can be improved in support of diversity and inclusion — both of users and of the information they seek. What guidance is there? What tools exist? How can changes be introduced with minimal disruption to systems constantly in use?

Confirmed Speakers include, Jennifer Baxmeyer, Assistant University Librarian for Metadata Services, Princeton University Library; Lisa Gavell, Metadata Librarian & Product Liaison, ITHAKA; Jackson Huang, Digital Collections and Contest Ingest Coordinator, University of Michigan Library; and Christian Isbister, Indigenous Initiatives Librarian, The University of British Columbia.

Event Sessions


Jennifer Baxmeyer

Assistant University Librarian for Metadata Services
Princeton University Library

Jackson Huang

Digital Collections and Contest Ingest Coordinator
University of Michigan Library

Todd Carpenter, Executive Director of NISO, will moderate the discussion.

The discussion by participants touched on the following:

Let’s first start with some definitions of what we mean by inclusive metadata?  Can each of you give us a brief definition of what you think should be covered by this term? And why should we care? 

What historical or ongoing exclusion do you seek to address with your work? 

Could you give some examples of things you’re working on now to incorporate this into your environment?

Can we first look at the issues of dominant languages and how it applies to metadata, what are challenges with local languages, multilingual metadata or say?

How should we look at differences in local terminology use and thereby maintain regional distinction rather than dealing with centralized or institutionalized vocabularies?

How do we make sure that individuals and peoples are appropriately named and identified, with the understanding that names may change over time and depend on context?

Can we talk about the inherent or embedded biases in metadata standards and the technical infrastructure used to develop (?) them?

How do these issues affect findability, search/browse flexibility, such as the impacts on user familiarity with the terminologies; key terms, common topics? 

What are some of the challenges we might encounter when trying to address these issues?

From your perspective, have you seen support or lack thereof in institutional attitudes toward addressing these issues?

What can we do to improve staff training regarding inclusivity in metadata?

How are the vendor communities reacting and responding to these concerns? Have you raised these issues with any of your vendors/suppliers?

How can we build awareness of the issues of inclusivity in metadata systems?

Could you share any thoughts in what ways you think these issues are viewed differently by users who come from different cultures and look at the political contexts differently? 

Related Information and Shared Resources:


Homosaurus Vocabulary Terms

Metadata Best Practices for Trans and Gender Diverse Resources - This document is the result of a year of work and collaboration by the Trans Metadata Collective (TMDC;, a group of dozens of cataloguers, librarians, archivists, scholars, and information professionals with a concerted interest in improving the description and classification of trans and gender diverse people in GLAMS (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Special Collections). 

Keeoukaywin: The Visiting Way - Fostering an Indigenous Research Methodology by Janice Cindy Gaudet

Additional Information

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Broadcast Platform

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