The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Detecting and characterising transmission from legacy collection catalogues

Detecting and characterising transmission from legacy collection catalogues
Detecting and characterising transmission from legacy collection catalogues
Catalogue records underpin the audit, curatorial, and public access functions of collecting institutions. And they are relied upon by many humanities researchers, and increasingly those looking to analyse collection holdings at scale. However, far from being a neutral record of collection holdings, catalogues are the products of cataloguing labour, often spanning many decades, and so are subject to various biases and inequities. Understanding how collection catalogues are shaped by their histories is then crucial for addressing many of the contemporary challenges faced by cataloguing professionals and for enhancing their use in humanities research, as well as for opening up new directions for historical research. This paper contributes a computationally-based approach for generating new and important knowledge about catalogues, in particular for investigating how a catalogue is shaped by an earlier one. We contend that understanding at scale the transmission of records and style from one catalogue to another requires the use of computational techniques to detect and analyse the various ways in which transmission manifests across a catalogue.
Our case study concerns the transmission of Mary Dorothy George’s voice through time, across space, and between mediums, from the 1930s to the late-twentieth century and beyond, from the British Museum in London to the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut, from printed volumes to networked digital data. It aims to show how transmission happens, how it can be found, and how it can be characterised. Understanding transmission is important because cataloguers like George are the interlocuters between us and the pasts they described, legacy voices that refuse to stay in their historical place, and whose raced, sexed, and classed influence on the future should not go unchecked.
Our contributions are relevant both for historical research into catalogues and cataloguing, knowledge organisation and infrastructure, and cultural organisations, and for cataloguing practitioners seeking to rationalise/review their catalogues to improve user experience, address systemic inequalities in object representation, and develop best practice for future work. Furthermore, in broad terms, by contributing to the generation of new knowledge about the biases/inequities of catalogues our work will enable new and better research into the collections that catalogues describe.
1938-4122
Baker, James
96e66490-0844-46eb-bc81-fbbc6bf38692
Salway, Andrew
4b526f3f-6a48-45c0-a83f-bc5515044647
Roman, Cynthia
d8bcf6d7-1ab5-463f-8fc0-c6cf5a96e505
Baker, James
96e66490-0844-46eb-bc81-fbbc6bf38692
Salway, Andrew
4b526f3f-6a48-45c0-a83f-bc5515044647
Roman, Cynthia
d8bcf6d7-1ab5-463f-8fc0-c6cf5a96e505

Baker, James, Salway, Andrew and Roman, Cynthia (2022) Detecting and characterising transmission from legacy collection catalogues. Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Catalogue records underpin the audit, curatorial, and public access functions of collecting institutions. And they are relied upon by many humanities researchers, and increasingly those looking to analyse collection holdings at scale. However, far from being a neutral record of collection holdings, catalogues are the products of cataloguing labour, often spanning many decades, and so are subject to various biases and inequities. Understanding how collection catalogues are shaped by their histories is then crucial for addressing many of the contemporary challenges faced by cataloguing professionals and for enhancing their use in humanities research, as well as for opening up new directions for historical research. This paper contributes a computationally-based approach for generating new and important knowledge about catalogues, in particular for investigating how a catalogue is shaped by an earlier one. We contend that understanding at scale the transmission of records and style from one catalogue to another requires the use of computational techniques to detect and analyse the various ways in which transmission manifests across a catalogue.
Our case study concerns the transmission of Mary Dorothy George’s voice through time, across space, and between mediums, from the 1930s to the late-twentieth century and beyond, from the British Museum in London to the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut, from printed volumes to networked digital data. It aims to show how transmission happens, how it can be found, and how it can be characterised. Understanding transmission is important because cataloguers like George are the interlocuters between us and the pasts they described, legacy voices that refuse to stay in their historical place, and whose raced, sexed, and classed influence on the future should not go unchecked.
Our contributions are relevant both for historical research into catalogues and cataloguing, knowledge organisation and infrastructure, and cultural organisations, and for cataloguing practitioners seeking to rationalise/review their catalogues to improve user experience, address systemic inequalities in object representation, and develop best practice for future work. Furthermore, in broad terms, by contributing to the generation of new knowledge about the biases/inequities of catalogues our work will enable new and better research into the collections that catalogues describe.

Text
Baker-Salway-Roman_Legacies DHQ journal paper_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (588kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 February 2022
Published date: 9 May 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 455192
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/455192
ISSN: 1938-4122
PURE UUID: cb07166b-03f9-4ba2-bf7d-c2b991874321
ORCID for James Baker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2682-6922

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Mar 2022 17:53
Last modified: 10 May 2022 02:01

Export record

Contributors

Author: James Baker ORCID iD
Author: Andrew Salway
Author: Cynthia Roman

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×