Lauren and I are proposing a coordinated final project where we will work in parallel, each of our research and analyses benefitting the other, with paired annotation an integral part of the process. Our project will focus on our Zine Union Catalog, which we’ve been working on together since Spring 2017 in the second semester of DH Praxis, taught by Lisa Rhody. We continued through ITP I and II and then Data Visualization this summer.
We are coordinating, rather than directly collaborating for reasons of time. We hope to experiment with the idea of working together in parallel, letting one another’s processes, interests, strengths as researchers and analysts, as well as the feedback we’ll provide one another inform our work.
I am taken with the idea of cataloger as author and how catalog metadata serves as a sort of annotation to an original creator’s work. One of the questions in our presentation at OpenCon NYC made an observation about zines occupying liminal spaces. Her comment prompted my own observation that a holding library’s focus and perhaps staff knowledge and preferences impacts cataloging. One example of an author whose zines are held by both the Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) and the Barnard Zine Library, Kate Huh is a long-time friend of QZAP co-founder Milo Miller, who met Huh through Act-Up when they were in college. In Miller’s context, Huh is an AIDS activist. For me, who met Huh through Miller, and lived in the same neighborhood as Huh for many years and also interact with her in NYC area events, Huh is a Lower East Sider. Huh’s zines are slight, comprised primarily of photocollage, and therefore may be challenging to describe for a library or archive catalog. The QZAP records reflect a greater knowledge of Huh the person than does the Barnard Zine Library record. Also, each issue of Rebel Fux is cataloged individually at QZAP, whereas Barnard provides one record for its holdings from the series. Barnard’s record includes a descriptive summary of the zines, and QZAP a scan of the zines themselves.
I intend to do close readings of this and other zines held and described by different libraries and the greater context of these libraries.
I recently served as a consultant for the ABC No Rio Zine Library, which is in the process of building its own Collective Access catalog, Collective Access being the open source digital asset manager (DAM) that QZAP and ZineCat use (the Barnard Zine Library’s holdings are in a Voyager catalog with a Blacklight discovery layer). In discussing zines with the zine librarians there, I was taken with how the different strengths and focuses of our two collections, not to mention the context of a community library vs. that of a liberal arts college affiliated with a research university. At ABC No Rio, there are over 2,000 zines assigned to the category “punk.” Same with “anarchist” and “antiauthoritarian.” ABC No Rio is a renowned music venue that until it went into “exile,” while its new building is constructed, hosted a weekly punk show. Their collection is heavily influenced by anarchism and punk. The Barnard Zine Library also has rich holdings in anarchism and punk, though fewer records, and the Barnard zines largely address women and punk and anarchist communities and riot grrrl. The ABC No Rio director commented in an offhand way that riot grrrl would not be a major category in their catalog, whereas at Barnard, there are nearly 600 records that include that phrase. (Note that Barnard has about half the number of zines that ABC No Rio does.) I noticed a zine that our two libraries have in common, Take back your life : A wimmin’s guide to alternative health care. The Library of Congress Subject Heading assigned by Barnard is Women > Health and hygiene. ABC No Rio had the zine in a broad category like punk. To my memory, ABC No Rio doesn’t have a category for women at all, or for reproductive health, which is an important theme in Barnard zine records.
The primary resources available to us are plentiful, but of course we will want to begin by surveying the secondary literature to see what others have published on cataloging as authorship. I began with a Library Literature search on < catalog AND authorship > that yielded a disappointing 38 results, none of which appears to be about the cataloger as author. Rather many of the articles are about cataloging authorship when it is in doubt. A broader search < catalog* AND authorship > in a broader database, Columbia University’s federated search Find Articles, found more (114,824), but not better results. I then applied four filters to the search: authorship, libraries, information science, and library science (in the order of number of records), getting my results down to 6,098. At a glance the top results aren’t what I’m looking for either. I look forward to seeing what Lauren digs up.
It is also my hope and plan to work with the data visualizations that Lauren and I created this summer in our Intro to Data Viz class taught by Erin Daugherty and Michelle McSweeney. Lauren’s project focused on the keywords in place at QZAP:
where mine examined how zine genre representation in the Barnard Zine Library have changed over time.
What I am most looking forward to in this coordinated final project is playing out the meta nature of what Lauren and I are studying: how our approaches and analyses to the same topic differ. We intend to further entwine our work, that began nearly two years ago, by being active annotators and collaborators on our individual, fraternal twin-type projects.