Power that is Moral: Cataloging and Ethics

Tuesday, 9/5/2017 - Wednesday, 9/6/2017
  • 10:00 AM-6:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM (Central)
  • 8:00 AM-4:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 7:00 AM-3:00 PM (Pacific)
Catalogers know that the decisions they make in their work can enhance or obscure access to resources. Instructions when applying subject headings are framed in the arguably unattainable prescription to strive for neutrality. Neither the ALA Code of Ethics or the 1994 Guidelines for ALCTS Members to Supplement the American Library Association Code of Ethics speak specifically to the day-to-day challenges faced by catalogers—how would a code written with cataloging practice in mind be useful?
At ALA Annual in June 2017, Elizabeth Shoemaker and Hope Olson spoke at the CaMMS Forum about “Power That Is Moral: Creating a Cataloging Code of Ethics”. This e-Forum is designed to continue that discussion about creating a document that would help guide ethical cataloging decisions.
This e-Forum was presented on September 5-6, 2017. For a complete summary of this session, view Power that is Moral: e-Forum Summary.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this e-Forum, attendees will have:
  • Examined the need for a cataloging code of ethics
  • Discussed potential uses of a cataloging code of ethics
  • Gathered examples of ethical challenges faced by those applying or using library metadata
  • Identified potential topics to be addressed by a cataloging code of ethics
  • Developed potential pathways for creation of a cataloging code of ethics

Who Should Attend

Anyone who has an interest in the ethical application of cataloging rules and classification schemes.


Violet Fox is Metadata Librarian at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University (Minnesota) and a 2013 graduate of the University of Washington iSchool. She has been the News Editor for Cataloging and Classification Quarterly since 2014. Her research interests include the intricacies of zine cataloging and the ethics of classification. Chat with Violet on Twitter at @violetbfox.
Beth Shoemaker is the Rare Book Cataloger at Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archive & Rare Book Library. She graduated from the GSLIS at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2014. Her research interests are cataloging and discovery of artists’ books and ethics in cataloging and metadata production. You can reach her at elizabeth.shoemaker@emory.edu.




How to Register

You must register your email address to subscribe to or access an electronic discussion list on ALA's Mailing List Service. Find instructions for subscribing online.

Once you have registered for one e-Forum, you do not need to register again, unless you choose to leave the list. Find instructions for unsubscribing.

Tech Requirements

Internet connection with email address. You can manage your subscription to this list following the online instructions.




For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration by calling 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email registration@ala.org.

For all other questions or comments related to the web courses, contact alctsce@ala.org.