Melissa Adler's Cruising the Library: Perversities in the Organization of Knowledge offers a critique and historical analysis of uncritical cataloging practices, concluding that cataloging is a normative and proscriptive practice, particularly when cataloging materials regarding expressions of ethnicity, gender, race, and sexuality.
Prejudices and Antipathies by Sanford Berman; Eric Moon (Foreword by)
Publication Date: 1993-02-01
Sanford Berman's book Prejudices and Antipathies: A Tract on LC Subject Heads Concerning People is often cited as the first book calling for a reconsideration of Library of Congress subject headings, calling other librarians to work to rid the subject headings of bias. While the book discusses the Library of Congress system, the sentiments are easily applied to the Dewey Decimal System.
The Power to Name by H. A. Olson
Publication Date: 2002-06-30
Hope Olson's book The Power to Name: Locating the Limits of Subject Representation in Libraries is a historical examination of subject headings and classification systems, from Dewey to the Library of Congress.
Radical Cataloging by K. R. Roberto (Editor); Sanford Berman (Introduction by)
Publication Date: 2008-04-19
Book of essays on radical cataloging, including the essay "Don't Class Me in Antiquities! Giving Voice to Native American Materials" about critically cataloging materials from Indigenous peoples.
Articles and Blog Posts
Melissa Adler's article "Classification Along the Color Line: Excavating Racism in the Stacks" discusses how late 19th and early 20th century library classification schemes were created to reify white supremacist political and social agendas, performing a historical analysis of classification and organization schemes of library materials on Black people in American history.
Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia's Anti-Racist Description Resources from October 2019 provides metadata considerations and recommendations for archival professionals addressing institutional archival descriptions that are racist and anti-Black.
Kathleen Bethel's Culture Keepers: Cataloging the Afrocentric Way suggests that through rethinking cataloging methods, materials about African subjectivities can be more easily conversant with Black Studies and research around the African Diaspora that is reflective of and informed by the colonial histories of the African continent.
Jessica J. Colbert Patron-Driven Subject Access: How Librarians can Mitigate that 'Power to Name' studies patron-driven subject access, focusing on the language library patron's use when searching for LGBTQIA materials. Colbert complicates Berman's suggestion that "better" searching language in catalogs helps patrons access materials by historically marginalized groups, calling for catalogers to work with library patrons in developing a colloquial cataloging language.
Marisa Elena Duarte and Miranda Belarde-Lewis's Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies problematizes cataloging standardization of materials from Native American and Indigenous peoples, stating that failures to contend with colonial power dynamics have lead to misnaming and miscategorizing Native American and Indigenous materials. Duarte and Belarde-Lewis propose a decolonial information structure that centers Native American and Indigenous approaches to organizing knowledge.
Jenna Freedman - blogging on the Lower East Side Librarian and librarian for the Barnard Zine Library - discusses issues with the Library of Congress subheadings, both in her work as a zine librarian and more broadly around the 2016 American Library Association discussion to revise the "Illegal Alien" subject heading.
Avril Johnson Madison's oral history of Dorothy Porter Wesley, the Howard University librarian who integrated works of Black authors and artists into the Dewey Decimal System instead of segregating works by Black creators. The oral history alone is interesting - and provided by Dorothy Porter Wesley herself - but Madison's bibliography provides a sweeping look mid-century Black intellectual discourse at Howard University and internationally.
Article from The Straight Dope blog comparing the Dewey Decimal System to the Library of Congress, expanding on the creation of the organization system.
Amanda Ros's article The Bias Hiding in Your Library is a rigorous but approachable discussion of biases in cataloging - particularly in the Library of Congress system.
Molly Schwartz's article and podcast from The Library Bytegeist about Melvil Dewey, the Dewey Decimal System, and the consequences of classifying knowledge.
Black Excellence LIS Reading List is a growing list of articles and books about critical pedagogy, radical cataloging, biographies, and experiences of Black information professionals by Black information professionals.
whiteness in libraries reading list includes articles on the history of segregated libraries in the south, the American Library Association's stances on desegregating libraries, and Black librarianship in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Change the Subject, a documentary about students at Dartmouth College teaming up with librarians at Dartmouth to advocate for changes to the "Illegal Alien" subject heading in the Library of Congress organization system. Movie follows the students as they move their activism from campus to Congress. Film is not available for streaming, but screenings can be requested.