Homosaurus Implementation Project

Introduction and Acknowledgments

To complement and build upon the work completed by the Norm Rules Standing Group (NRSG) of enabling the display of additional subject terms from non-LCSH and non-MeSH vocabularies, and to put into action the Alliance-wide Homosaurus training provided by Adrian Williams of the University of Kentucky, the CSG is leading a project to retrospectively enhance bibliographic records in our shared consortial catalog with Homosaurus terms for Alliance-held materials. Batches of target records will be systematically enhanced with Homosaurus terms by volunteers across the Alliance. Students, staff, catalogers, and non-catalogers are invited to participate in the project. The CSG designed the Retrospective Homosaurus Implementation Project based on Adrian Williams’ previous work at the University of Kentucky Libraries. We are grateful to Adrian for taking the time to provide the Alliance with the training and tools we needed to start this project.

Why Implement the Homosaurus?

The Homosaurus describes itself as “An international linked data vocabulary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) terms. This vocabulary is intended to function as a companion to broad subject term vocabularies, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions are encouraged to use the Homosaurus to support LGBTQ research by enhancing the discoverability of their LGBTQ resources.” The vocabulary has been around since 1997, and is currently on its fourth version (version 3).  The Homosaurus Editorial Board oversees the editorial process, considering community suggestions and approving new terms, and releases changes quarterly. 

Standard subject vocabularies like the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) provide language for LGBTQIA+ topics that can be inadequate, inaccurate, or even offensive, reinforcing dominant heterosexual, cisgender, white, male, Christian and western perspectives. As such, the Homosaurus is intended to function as a companion to broad subject term vocabularies, like LCSH, to advance the discoverability of LGBTQ+ resources and information. In an effort to mitigate harm and expand discovery, the CSG feels that focusing on an intentional, retrospective implementation of Homosaurus is necessary.

Project Goals

Through this project, the Orbis Cascade Alliance will forge a path to implementation of the Homosaurus for other libraries and vendors. Participation will provide catalogers, staff, and students at Alliance institutions with hands-on training in Homosaurus implementation. This training can be carried forward through ongoing use of the Homosaurus in cataloging by member libraries. Participants will contribute to and become part of the Homosaurus community of practice throughout the project. With more records populated with Homosaurus terms, search and discovery will be enhanced for LGBTQIA+ materials. Experience with community participation and Homosaurus implementation will prepare the CSG to author robust documentation of processes and best practices for implementation of Homosaurus terms in cataloging. After the project has concluded, CSG members will advocate for the inclusion of Homosaurus terms in vendor-supplied metadata with content providers and Ex Libris, and advocate for further Homosaurus training and implementation work within the ELUNA consortial community of practice.

Anticipated Work and Deliverables

The CSG will extract batches of bibliographic records for Alliance-held materials likely to benefit from Homosaurus vocabulary terms, adding the records to a central tracking spreadsheet. The CSG will recruit volunteers to add Homosaurus terms to these records, holding training sessions and offering continual support through an Alliance listserv. Volunteers will perform subject analysis on the records, and record their work in the tracking spreadsheet. Suggested target record batches and suggestions for new Homosaurus terms will also be tracked using separate tabs on the spreadsheet. Statistics produced through the tracking spreadsheet will be included in the CSG’s final report at the conclusion of the fiscal year in June 2024. 

Participation

If this sounds like work you would like to engage in, please fill out the project volunteer form. The CSG will make sure you are set up on the project listserv, and provide you with the appropriate training resources for your level of cataloging expertise. We are looking forward to working with you!

You don’t need to wait for this project to get underway to join the Homosaurus Google Group or Slack workspace! You can join the Google Group directly, and email Crystal Yragui (cec23@uw.edu) for a fresh link to the Slack workspace.

Please visit the CSG’s Homosaurus Training Resources and FAQ Page for more information and training on Homosaurus implementation.

Communication Channels

  • Homosaurus Google Group
  • Homosaurus Slack Channel (email cec23@uw.edu for a fresh link)
  • Alliance list – hip@orbiscascade.org: This is a closed list for project participants. The list is intended to be a safe space for project-related conversations and questions. If you’re interested in joining the project, please fill out the project volunteer form.
  • HIP question form: This is an anonymous form you can use to submit questions about project topics to the Cataloging Standing Group. They’ll review the questions received and send them to the HIP mailing list for collaborative feedback.

Useful Links