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Indigenous Librarianship

Defining Indigenous Knowledge Organization

The term Indigenous Knowledge Organization (IKO) is used here to describe the processes and systems for organizing and representing Indigenous library and archival materials in all formatstraditional and electronic. It includes considerations of Indigenous cataloguing standards and metadata, broadly defined.

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Selected Resources

Controlled Vocabularies

"A controlled vocabulary is an established list of standardized terms used for both indexing and retrieval of information. An example of a controlled vocabulary is subject headings used to describe library resources." (From Libraries and Archives Canada).

Names Authorities

"The development of a comprehensive authority file for names of First Nations represents an applied research project that would include understanding historical emergences, terminological changes and contentious issues related to naming; documenting decisions regarding naming conventions and relationships; and identifying alternate spellings, and non-preferred terms with possible mapping to other." (From Indigenization of Knowledge Organization at the X̱wi7x̱wa Library by Doyle, Lawson, & Dupont).

Classification Systems

"Classification systems organize library collections into subject-related categories, so similar topics will be grouped together on the shelf." (From the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library).

"When Indigenous frames of reference are not built into a system of classification, the accessibility of resources for Indigenous library users is reduced. More broadly, the widespread adoption of dominant classification systems like LCC [Library of Congress] means that local and traditional epistemologies and knowledge systems are being crowded out, and might even be eliminated altogether." (From A Case Study in Indigenous Classification by Cherry & Mukunda).