MDOS Mini-Newsletter - January 2022

Dear colleagues,

The MDOS Steering Committee would like to share January's MDOS Mini-Newsletter with you, with our best wishes for a happy new year.


Metadata Resources of the Month

The Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia's (A4BLiP) Anti-Racist Description Working Group created a document of Anti-Racist Description Resources, made public in October 2019. A4BLiP self-describes as "a loose association of archivists, librarians, and allied professionals in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area responding to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement." The documents cite the inspiration for its creation as "Teressa Raiford, a Portland-based activist and founder of the organization Don’t Shoot PDX," who collaborated with A4BLiP in 2017. The document includes a section of Metadata Recommendations, with sub-headings on "Voice and Style," "Community Collaboration and Expanding Audiences," "Auditing Legacy Description and Reparative Processing," "Handling Racist Folder Titles and Creator-Sourced Description," "Describing Slavery Records," "Subjects and Classifications," and "Transparency," as well as a comprehensive annotated bibliography on Anti-Racist Archival Description, pointing readers to further resources.

Metadata Figure of the Month

January's Metadata Figure of the Month is Joan Nestle, a founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (Brooklyn, New York). The creation of the LHA was planned in 1974, imagined as a "grassroots Lesbian archives," with it's first newsletter going out in 1975. For the first 15 years of its existence, the LHA were housed in Joan Nestle's Manhattan apartment. It had been decided to keep all LHA services free, and focus on building the trust of its communities. The LHA self-describes as a "non-hierarchical collective," and its community-driven purpose is interesting to consider in the context of metadata creation, the usefulness of existing standards, and the urgent need to fill gaps in our historical collections. 

Below is Joan Nestle's bio from the current LHA "Who We Are" webpage:

"Joan Nestle was born in 1940 in Bronx, New York, and is cofounder of LHA. She is the author of A Restricted Country, A Fragile Union, The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader, and six other books on Lesbian and queer culture. Joan was a teacher in the Queens College SEEK program from 1964 to 1994. Followed Dianne Otto to Melbourne, Australia, in 2002, grateful for a new perspective. Eighty years of life, a privilege. Our collective progressive actions needed as much as ever and often such givers of joy."

The following is Joan Nestle's bio as included in the June 1975 LHA Newsletter: "Joan Nestle is a lecturer in English, SEEK Program, Queens College, CUNY. A Lesbian activist who is old enough to remember the darkness of weekend bars and young enough to joyously believe in the liberation of our future, she is a cherisher and wishful creator of Lesbian literature."

In her 1979 Spring piece in the LHA newsletter, titled "About the Archives, from Joan Nestle: One Woman's View," she writes, "The Archives room is a healing place; it is filled with voices announcing our autonomy and self possession. The roots of the Archives lie in the silenced voices, the love letters destroyed, the pronouns changed, the diaries carefully edited, the pictures never taken, the euphemized distortions that patriarchy would let pass. But I have lived through the time of willful deprivation and now it is our time to discover and to cherish and to preserve."

Digitized LHA newsletters are available to read on the LHA website.

All the best,

The MDOS Steering Committee