December 14, 2017Charlotte Roh
The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.
In addition to my duties as a scholarly communication librarian, one of my roles at the University of San Francisco is liaison to the Migration Studies program. It’s a relatively new program in a relatively new field, so search terms are still evolving. For example, one of the common roadblocks that students encounter is that research data is available under “refugees” rather than “migrants.” This search term confusion is easily remedied, but there are also problematic descriptors such as “illegal” and “undocumented”. One of the questions that came up this past year was, What do you call someone who has valid legal immigration status but who is deported or detained? (People in the class agreed “illegal” is unacceptable, and “undocumented” is inaccurate.) Since many of the students in the program have a personal stake in these issues, these conversations around naming are not taken lightly.
In addition to these discussions in the classroom, naming and authority are, of course, important to librarianship as well. More recently, I have been thinking about “accessibility” and “sustainability” as terms that are heavily used both in my work as a scholarly communications librarian and more broadly outside of my professional niche.