From the Vault is a series highlighting recent projects, research, and interesting finds from the Special Collections & University Archives department at Gleeson Library | Geschke Center. This post features the Reparative and Inclusive Description (RID) Survey Scholar internship.
This fall, Zoe Hume, currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Curation at Florida State University, will join Gleeson Library as our first RID Survey Scholar. The position is a joint USF Jesuit Foundation and Gleeson Library grant-funded, paid internship. The RID Survey Scholar will conduct a literature review, survey existing collection records in both the Special Collections & University Archives and Metadata & Collection Management departments for harmful, racist, and biased language, and create a final paper and presentation that outlines recommendations for integrating reparative and inclusive descriptive practices into the library’s workflows.
Libraries, archives, and museums around the world have been critically examining their past practices and engaging with their communities and collections with an anti-racist, anti-oppressive lens. We know that our collections and the language used to describe them often present white, male dominant voices and oppressive structures. In one effort to make amends for these historic and current practices, librarians at Gleeson and Zief Libraries are joining our colleagues across the field in pursuing what we call “reparative and inclusive description.” Our desired outcome is to describe library materials in a manner that is informative, accurate, and respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections. Zoe will work closely with the libraries’ Reparative and Inclusive Description (RID) Working Group, an interdepartmental group of library staff convened to gather concerns, initiatives, and reference material involving the description of resources at the library and engage with developing practices.
The RID Survey Scholar will use the library’s Harmful Language Statement (forthcoming) and relevant literature as a framework for developing recommendations on descriptive practices that align with anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the library and across campus. The Scholar will critically examine systemic harm or inequities in library descriptive practices, identify potential community partners for collaborative projects, and recommend solutions that are reparative and inclusive, fostering an anti-oppressive approach to discovery and access.
This internship is modeled after the UCLA Library Special Collections Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) program that successfully partners graduate students with archives and special collections projects relevant to their scholarly interests.