UBC Library and Archives

Introduction Metoyer, Cheryl A.; Doyle, Ann M. Jul 31, 2015

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


29962-Metoyer_C_et_al_Introduction_Special_issue.pdf [ 125.13kB ]
JSON: 29962-1.0220862.json
JSON-LD: 29962-1.0220862-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 29962-1.0220862-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 29962-1.0220862-rdf.json
Turtle: 29962-1.0220862-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 29962-1.0220862-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 29962-1.0220862-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

1	  	  Special Issue Cataloging & Classification: Indigenous Knowledge Organization Guest Editors’ Introduction to the Special Issue Cheryl A. Metoyer & Ann M. Doyle  This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 2015 53:5-6 on 31/07/2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wccq20/53/5-6 doi: 10.1080/01639374.2015.102798  Introduction  Osiyo (Hello in the Cherokee language), How we long to find the right words to introduce you and stir your enthusiasm for this special issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly—Indigenous Knowledge Organization. In these papers, we will share with you the inherent beauty in how and why Indigenous people express and fulfill their desire to learn, preserve, organize and share knowledge. This knowledge is embedded in stories that find expression and location in libraries, archives and museums. If we explore the situation today, we find that there have been tremendous advancements in knowledge and an unforeseeable proliferation of information. No one can grasp or master it all. This explosion often leads to a sense of fragmentation. On a fundamental level, as human beings, we yearn to understand all this. Where does the knowledge come from? Is there an inherent order to it? How do all the pieces of knowledge fit together? And what is their purpose? I propose that these are questions of philosophy, which Indigenous people have addressed. The papers in this issue range from explicit discussions of Indigenous philosophies to application of such in library, archives and museums settings. The narratives are compelling. They are first and foremost Indigenous stories fundamentally grounded in a sense of “place” that is endemic to and inseparable from indigeneity. If “place” is the luminous web that holds everything “in 2	  	  place,” it is good to introduce you to the three places that frame this issue: New Zealand, Canada and the United States. We begin our journey in New Zealand. In The Interface Between Epistemology and Māori Subject Headings, Lilly analyzes Māori subject headings (Ngā Ūpoko Tukutuku) in the context of Māori philosophy. He argues that the underlying knowledge framework is based on a hierarchy of relationships that emanates from the natural order and that is critical to the understanding of Māori epistemology. Complementary to Lilly’s analysis, Bardenheier and Wilkinson report on the application of both the Ngā Ūpoko Tukutuku and Ngā Kete Kōrero, a second framework, to a collection of language material at the University of Auckland, NZ. This additional framework was designed to facilitate structured literacy development through assigned reading levels.  In addition to the challenges presented in developing and assigning Māori subject headings, digitization presents another set of considerations in the study of Indigenous knowledge organization. The paper entitled He matapihi mā mua, mō muri examines the digitization of the manuscripts and other materials in the collection of Dr. Pei te Hurinui Jones, a prominent Māori scholar. The authors (Whaanga, Bainbridge, Anderson, Scrivner, Cader, Roa, and Keegan) describe the ethical considerations and cultural protocols that inform decision-making in proper digitization practices.   Cultural centers in Canada are studying Indigenous knowledge systems and generating innovative scholarship, leading to revisions and amplifications. Brian Deer, Kahanawake librarian, developed a classification system based on an Indigenous philosophy. Using a case study approach, Cherry and Mukunda explore the depth and flexibility of the Brian Deer classification system evidenced in a new revision applied at the Union of British Columbia 3	  	  Indian Chiefs Resource Center. In a second case study, this time in a small Aboriginal library, Swanson discusses the value, merits and challenges of adopting the Brian Deer Classification System at the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute in Quebec. A group of Indigenous seniors, living in Toronto, considered how a collection of handcrafted objects could be used to evoke memory and foster meaning-making in a community setting. In To Every Artifact Its Voice, Howarth and Knight  examine the possibilities that stem from traditional approaches to representing and organizing artifacts.  Within Canada, the interest in Indigenous knowledge organization is evident in libraries, archives, as well as other types of community institutional settings. A particularly powerful challenge is faced by the National Research Centre through its mandate to apply metadata resulting from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A description of the National Research Centre’s “living archives” is presented by Lougheed, Moran and Callison. Their article, Reconciliation Through Description: Using Metadata to Realize the Vision of the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, emphasizes the importance of including Indigenous people in organizing knowledge in a “living archive.”  And finally from Canada, the Nunavut Libraries Online Consortium and Translation Bureau in Nunavut have partnered to address the challenge of organizing multilingual collections. There are three official languages in Nunavut: Inuit (Inuktitut/Inuinnaqtun), English and French. In her discussion of Nunavut libraries, Rigby examines the shared cataloging practices that have resulted in a common vocabulary for creating bibliographic records.  Let’s journey to Great Turtle Island, for some of us, the real first name of the United States. Developing a controlled vocabulary by selecting terms and relationships that reflect Native 4	  	  American philosophies is the challenge that precipitated the Mashantucket Pequot Thesaurus of American Indian Terminology Project. Littletree and Metoyer examine the theoretical framework, methodology and conceptual foundations of the Thesaurus in Knowledge Organization from an Indigenous Perspective. Using story as epistemology and pedagogy, the article reveals the movement of the Thesaurus from its conception to its application in the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.   Turner’s study, Decolonizing Ethnographic Documentation: Writing a Critical History of Museum Catalogues, maps the history of cataloging at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The paper uncovers the Eurocentric norms and assumptions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that resulted in the lack of Indigenous knowledge in the museum records.  As a means of addressing many of the Eurocentric biases, referenced by Turner, and Littletree and Metoyer, Duarte and Belarde-Lewis (Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies) propose imagining as a viable alternative to misrepresentation and misinformation. They contend that imagining, as a decolonizing methodology, may assist theorists and practitioners in their efforts to accurately catalog and classify Indigenous materials in libraries, archives and museums. These authors argue that an Indigenous community-based approach to knowledge organization may nullify inaccuracies created by misnaming and other mainstream standardization practices.  Upon reflection, it is evident to those of us in New Zealand, Canada and the United States that research in Indigenous knowledge organization affords an opportunity for the work itself—the knowledge—to be expressed at a higher level. The level is higher because it strengthens the 5	  	  potential for transforming the work of other Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and practitioners. We have this work, our work, which we have shared in this special issue. Now, it will be more meaningful because we have shared it. The theories, philosophies, and practices reported here give voice to the power, significance and relevance of Indigenous knowledge organization. Enjoy! Wado (Thank you in the Cherokee language). Cheryl A. Metoyer and Ann M. Doyle   We would like to thank the 21 anonymous reviewers who generously devoted their time and knowledge to reviewing the papers and contributing thoughtful responses to the authors.  This special issue was envisioned by Sandra K. Roe, Editor-in-Chief of Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, who extended the invitation at the 2nd Milwaukee Conference on the Ethics of Information Organization.  Many thanks to Sandra for her encouragement and guidance throughout the publication journey.     The editors acknowledge the contributions of University of British Columbia, Information School students, Alina Kosel and Allison Mills, who served as volunteers to verify citation information.    


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items