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Sources for a Speech

 ·  ☕ 4 min read

Hello! I’m giving a talk tomorrow! Exciting& and not at all nervewracking!

Note 2019-10-4: This speech is indebted to another presentation I gave at IUB, with some changes. I’ve updated the summary, description and links here. 🙂

Here’s the summary:

Subjects In Chains: Linked Data Vocabularies and Sexual Liberation

This paper offers a solution to a problem that has plagued information professionals, activists and researchers for the past half century: what to do with subject headings. Subject headings, used to classify and organize books and other material, have proven to be one of the useful tools for libraries. In an academic context, Library of Congress Subject Headings cover over 130 million items in academic libraries across the United States, and even more worldwide. Subject terms describing marginalized groups have been criticized as inappropriate, misleading or outrightly offensive, but unfortunately still remain essential for users. One proposed solution offered by researchers has been the use of tagging by members of the public. These proposals, however, have been matched by a near-equal amount of research pointing out issues with tagging and uncontrolled vocabularies.

A possible solution has only recently become available through the use of linked data—a cutting-edge digital technology that allows both computers and humans to understand various materials. It has heralded as the next step for the internet by Tim Berners-Lee, but the radical and subversive potential of the technology has gone largely unnoticed. First, this presentation will introduce and explain linked data, then it will offer a practical presentation of some of the current uses in digital archives. Finally, the author will discuss their current linked data project, which is an attempt to provide a historically-based controlled vocabulary for sex, sexuality, and more. This project intersects quite literally with each of IDRH’s themes; it is about nonnormative, ‘weird,’ ‘queer’ and “perverse” bodies; it is about creating a place and space of justice for those bodies; and it is about drawing on the archives and past of humanity in order to allow for possible futures for digital humanity.

I will come back here and add a link to the recording, as well as to my slides, but this will be a place where I will list all the sources for the slides for people to come and read.

The fullest version of my proposal was posted already to this site.


  • Drabinski, Emily. “Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction.” The Library Quarterly 83, no. 2 (April 2013): 94–111.
  • Berman, Sanford. Prejudices and Antipathies: A Tract on the LC Subject Heads Concerning People. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1971.
  • Vaughan, Crystal A. “The Language of Cataloguing: Deconstructing and Decolonizing Systems of Organization in Libraries.” Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management 14, no. Spring (2018): 1–15.
  • Cover, Rob. Emergent Identities : New Sexualities, Genders and Relationships in a Digital Era. Routledge, 2018.
  • Sandberg, Jane, ed. Ethical Questions in Name Authority Control. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2019.
  • Adler, Melissa. Cruising the Library: Perversities in the Organization of Knowledge. New York: Fordham University Press, 2017.
  • Keilty, Patrick, and Rebecca Dean, eds. Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader. Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Informaiton Studies 4. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, LLC, 2013.
  • Gross, Tina, Arlene G. Taylor, and Daniel N. Joudrey. “Still a Lot to Lose: The Role of Controlled Vocabulary in Keyword Searching.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 1–39.
  • Adler, Melissa. “Transcending Library Catalogs: A Comparative Study of Controlled Terms in Library of Congress Subject Headings and User-Generated Tags in LibraryThing for Transgender Books.” Journal of Web Librarianship 3, no. 4 (November 23, 2009): 309–31.
  • Adler, Melissa A. “‘Let’s Not Homosexualize the Library Stacks’: Liberating Gays in the Library Catalog.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 24, no. 3 (September 2015): 478–507.
  • Adler, Melissa, Jeffrey T. Huber, and A. Tyler Nix. “Stigmatizing Disability: Library Classifications and the Marking and Marginalization of Books about People with Disabilities.” The Library Quarterly 87, no. 2 (April 2017): 117–35.
  • Keilty, Patrick. “Carnal Indexing.” Knowledge Organization 44, no. 4 (2017): 265–72.
  • ———. “Sexual Boundaries and Subcultural Discipline.” Knowledge Organization 39, no. 6 (2012): 417–31.
  • ———. “Tagging and Sexual Boundaries.” Knowledge Organization 39, no. 6 (2012): 417–31.
  • Sexual Nomenclature, a Thesaurus
  • Drucker, Donna J. “How Subjects Matter: The Kinsey Institute’s Sexual Nomenclature A Thesaurus (1976).” Information & Culture: A Journal of History 52, no. 2 (2017): 207–28.
  • Orlando:
  • LGLC:
  • The Yellow 90s:
  • Digital Transgender Archive:
  • Homosaurus:
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Brian M. Watson
Brian M. Watson
Archivist, Historian, Digital Humanist