Finding LGBTQIA Materials in the Library Catalog

If you have looked for LGBTQIA+ materials in the library’s collection you may have had a frustrating experience. Searching for materials by subject relies on the Library of Congress Subject Headings and other information in an item’s record in the catalog. Subject headings don’t always employ natural language and so can be tricky access points in general. This is especially true of subject headings used to describe people as they are also often shaped by the biases of their creators. (You may remember when Congress stepped in a few years ago to stop the Library of Congress from changing the term “illegal aliens” to “noncitizen” or “unauthorized immigration.” While most of the discussions about subject headings don’t quite make it to this level, this moment emphasized how fraught they can be).   

Additionally, the subjects of sexual identity and expression and gender identity and expression are complex ones, so there are lots of ways that subject matter can be described in a library catalog. You can take a look at the list of LGBTQ-related terms in the Yale University library catalog to get some sense of the scope.

We know this isn’t an ideal situation, but we are excited that the new catalog offers resources to help make finding materials on these subjects easier:

Try some of these common keywords:

Gay rights

Gay liberation movement

Gay and lesbian studies

Gay fiction

Gay community

Gay culture

Gay couple

Gay erotic stories

Gay family

Lesbians fiction

The new catalog also lets you broaden your search if you don’t see what you are looking for:

Staff –Created Resource Lists

Love is Love is Love is Love

LGBTQ+ Books for Kids

The Rainbow Connection

Queens, Kings, Divas, and Dance

Pride Month Listens

User-Generated Tags:

Bibliocommons allows users to create tags for content in the catalog. In the search bar, you can select searching by “tag” in the second drop-down menu.

Some tags to try:

LGBTQ

Transgender

Bisexual

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