Overview

In the summer of 2021, members from the Alaska Library Network received an Interlibrary Cooperation Grant from the Alaska State Library, funded by the State of Alaska, to investigate the development and creation of an Alaska Native Language Controlled Vocabulary. Controlled vocabularies provide a systematic way to organize knowledge to help bolster information retrieval. However, the controlled vocabularies currently in use, notably the Library of Congress Subject Headings, do not comprehensively or appropriately represent Alaska Natives.

The grant will further research and develop a controlled vocabulary that properly represents Alaska Native communities to enhance accessibility for Alaska Natives, researchers of Indigenous Alaskan cultures, and colleagues. With approval and input from Alaska Native organizations and individuals, the vocabulary will use culturally appropriate subject headings to describe materials about Alaska Native communities, languages, beliefs, cultures, and more.

When completed, the Alaska Native Language Controlled Vocabulary will be implemented in the statewide Alaska Library Catalog and Alaska’s Digital Archives, which serves Alaskans across the state. From there, the group will petition the Library of Congress to update their controlled vocabulary, thereby making the vocabulary accessible to all.

Goals

  • To develop a controlled vocabulary containing the names of every Alaska Native group.
  • To enhance accessibility for Alaska Natives and researchers of Indigenous Alaskan cultures by implementing subject headings that are culturally appropriate.
  • To develop a roadmap for the Alaska Library Catalog and Alaska’s Digital Archives to use these terms to describe materials and apply them to existing records in each collection.
  • To work with the Alaska Library Catalog Systems team and Cataloging Workgroup to implement this controlled vocabulary to describe materials in the Alaska Library Catalog, a consortium of 87 public, academic, special, and K-12 libraries who serve 92% of the population of Alaska through a shared catalog with 3.2 million titles.
  • To work with Alaska’s Digital Archives to implement this controlled vocabulary to describe historical photographs, albums, oral histories, moving images, maps, documents, physical objects, and other materials from archives, museums, and libraries throughout Alaska.
  • To develop a plan to petition the Library of Congress to add the new terms to the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

This project is supported by an Interlibrary Cooperation (ILC) Grant from the Alaska State Library and is funded by the State of Alaska.

Members

  • Chair – Lisa Digou, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Vice Co-Chair – Jenna Ginnaty, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Vice Co-Chair – Tyson Rinio, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Principle Investigator – Rebecca Moorman, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Secretary – Lauren Wallace, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • David Cox II, University of Alaska Southeast
  • Erin Hollingsworth, North Slope Borough School District
  • Arlene Schmuland, University of Alaska Anchorage

Project Updates

Now hiring!

We are seeking regional community liaisons for this project to:

  • Collaborate and consult with members of an Alaska Native community to identify and correct terms in the Alaska Library Catalog and Alaska Digital Archives that are inaccurate, inappropriate, or otherwise problematic to that community.
  • Establish a culturally sensitive method of surveying and/or gathering input from community members about any changes being made before implementation.
  • Act as a point of contact for members of the community to voice questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding the project.

For more information on the job, click here. Please note, this link may automatically download a PDF, check your downloads folder if it does not redirect you.

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