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Finding information in a "gender-neutral" environment

Welsh, A; (2011) Finding information in a "gender-neutral" environment. Presented at: Feminism and Teaching Symposium, Nottingham. Green open access

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Abstract

This workshop aims to explore how we search for feminist information. There is a long tradition of academic research into “GenderSpeak,” but this session aims specifically to look at the ways in which feminist issues are represented in conventional “gender-neutral” online spaces. While trying to be politically neutral, the Library of Congress Subject Headings (the most prevalent in UK and US academic libraries) assumes that “men are the norm and women are the exception” (Gerhard, Mila and Rubens, 1998). It has also been stated that “Anything that doesn’t fall within a white, male, Anglo, straight, Eurocentric, Cartesian mainstream is likely for users to find if only conventional cataloguing is employed” (Olson, 1998). This workshop aims to explore how attendees go about searching for information on feminist issues. Following a brief (5 minute) introduction, attendees will be asked to form and share their search strategies for particular queries in small groups, and, if an Internet connection is available in the workshop room *, we will look at the outcomes of these different searches. This practical activity throws up discussion points around our use of language, and can be used in classes of all ages. The presenter will share the results of her pilot study into subject terms in Women’s Studies collections and what can be learned from this about searching. Searching for information is a common activity undertaken by students and teachers at all levels and by people outside academia. This workshop is not solely about getting people to think about how they access information, but about finding out how people with an interest in feminism approach web-based resources to find information. Only by knowing how feminist resources are located and approached can designers build resources that are easier to find and use. 5 min – intro 15 min – activity & discussion 10 min – research-based talk & feedback

Type: Conference item (UNSPECIFIED)
Title: Finding information in a "gender-neutral" environment
Event: Feminism and Teaching Symposium
Location: Nottingham
Dates: 2011-04-08 - 2011-04-09
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Feminism, Information seeking behaviour, Subject headings, LCSH
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1413958
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