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A voice for the voiceless: Improving provenance practice for working-class books

O'Hagan, Lauren Alex ORCID: 2021. A voice for the voiceless: Improving provenance practice for working-class books. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 53 (1) , pp. 16-28. 10.1177/0961000620909160

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In recent years, libraries have become increasingly aware of the need to present a more diverse representation of society in their collections. While some efforts have been made to improve gender, race and sexuality representation, little attention has been paid to the working classes. The purpose of this research is to encourage a debate about the social class make-up of institutional collections and how fair representation and lack of diversity can be addressed. The research entails three stages: (1) Interviews with the 36 members of Research Libraries UK to investigate current challenges that prevent them from recording provenance information for working-class books; (2) The inclusive and fair cataloguing of the Janet Powney Collection – a working-class prize book collection in Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives; and (3) The organisation of impact and engagement events to promote the Janet Powney Collection. The study highlights that, while librarians face many challenges in terms of time, money and resources, as well as differences in guidelines and practices, the correct recording of provenance is essential in recovering the voices of working-class individuals, giving them agency as autonomous writers, and developing new narratives of working-class life and culture that challenge myths perpetuated by those in higher positions of power.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0961-0006
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 6 February 2020
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 08:10

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