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Engaging Diverse Voices through Research & Resources

Welcome & Introduction

Welcome to the Engaging Diverse Voices through Research & Resources Library Guide! We are so glad you are joining us in exploring this important and complex topic. 


Welcome to the Engaging Diverse Voices through Research & Resource.  CSUN’s Road Map to the Future commits to disrupting systemic inequalities in the pursuit of academic excellence.  The Institutional Learning Outcome 6: Information Literacy/Competency includes the ability to locate and evaluate a variety of sources and to use information ethically.  Through this guide the University Library brings these concepts together to help our community understand how systematic inequality impacts the organization of information in library science, your research process, and citation practices in research. 

Moving towards Inclusive Cataloging

Think how we share common events on social media using hashtags. It is useful, except not everyone always uses a consistent hashtag so some information may not be found if not using the official or common hashtag(s). Information science professionals use controlled vocabularies to avoid this problem. Various systems are used to classify and organize information systematically and consistently across libraries. The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is used as a standard for information organization around the world, including CSUN. (for more information about the differences between subject headings and systems of classification like Dewey or the Library of Congress Classification (LCC), watch this video.) However, as we find with many institutional systems, this system contains biases and harmful, problematic, outdated language from when the subject headings were created.  The challenge for information science is how to correct these biases and for researchers is how to find needed information as these systems are in flux.

While the LCC and LCSH are living systems, correcting bias, known as inclusive citation, is slow. Inclusive citation is more than using a find-and-replace search like you would use in a Word document. Librarians work to find alternatives at the local level. For example, CSU librarians, including CSUN’s Luiz Mendes, created a way to mask an offensive terms in OneSearch without having to transform all the records which could render older terms unsearchable, resulting in patrons not finding all desired information. For each of the groups listed in the tabs, you can find more information on the outdated language and new language options to help make sure your research encompasses the full scope of your topic. 

Practicing Citation Justice

In teaching information literacy and research, educators traditionally lean on peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles as shorthand for accuracy and credibility. While peer-review is a valuable process, it is not the only marker of quality and credibility. To make our scholarly conversations inclusive and diverse we must recognize various ways of that credibility can be established and acknowledge how systematic oppression embeds biases in the routes to peer reviewed publication, including access to support of academic institutions. 

Just as we must examine the systematic inequities in our systems of classification and publication, we must also look at the inequities in representation in the subjects of research. Historically in research, white, straight, upper-class, able-bodied men, who represent a small fraction of the U.S. and global population, are often treated as the default for all humans.  It is important that we counteract this by including people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in our research and making space in scholarly conversations for a variety of voices, including your own. This is citation justice or inclusive citation.

How to Use this Guide

How to Use this Guide 

This guide offers insight into how diverse identities and experiences are cataloged in information management systems.  Each tab will guide researchers in developing search terms to better locate information about populations or identities that have been underrepresented and often oppressed by the systemic inequalities of scholarship and librarianship. By doing so, this research guide intends to

  • prepare researchers for why they might encounter outdated, problematic, and offensive terms when researching, such as when consulting primary or historical sources, 
  • help researchers optimize their searches to be able to see the full scope of conversations around topics of interest, and  
  • by doing so, help researchers incorporate diverse perspectives of these communities into research to transform scholarly conversations in and out academia into inclusive and equitable spaces.  

This guide provides jumping-off points, search strategies, and questions to ask yourself in order to help you practice more inclusive research.  Before you start, please be sure to read the page about Terminology & Trigger Warnings.

Why we created this guide

The work of citation justice and inclusive cataloging asks us to always be aware of the importance of intersectionality in our research strategy, our analysis of data, and our design of research.  The University Library upholds academic excellence while disrupting systematic inequality by incorporating the Association of College & Research Libraries' Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education practices in our instruction and reference services.  The first concept that authority is constructed includes the values behind inclusive citation. The fifth concept, scholarship as a conversation, includes the values of citation justice to make this conversation inclusive, accessible, and representative of intersectional identities. The University Library intends this guide to support faculty and students in expanding this conversation to include the diversity of identity and experiences of all members of our community. Through citational justice, we can work to rectify these injustices and to consider the question “where does your research and writing fit in scholarly conversations, and where might you bring change?” 

an icon for partial quotation marks Acknowledgment

This guide is inspired by the LibGuides Open Review Discussion Sessions (LORDS) Project and University of Minnesota Libraries' Conducting Research Through an Anti-Racism Lens LibGuide. 

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