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Author Notes:

Lori M. Jahnke is the Social Sciences Librarian for Anthropology at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University; e-mail: ljahnke@emory.edu.

Kyle Tanaka is a Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy at Emory University; e-mail: kyle.takeshi.tanaka@emory.edu.

Christopher A. Palazzolo is the Head of Collection Management and Social Sciences Librarian for Political Science and Economics at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University; e-mail: cpalazz@emory.edu.

We would like to thank our friends and colleagues for the many rich and insightful discussions that helped us explore these issues. We are especially grateful to our colleagues Sandra J. Still and Erica Bruchko for providing feedback on this manuscript.

Accepted for publication in College & Research Libraries, vol 83, no 2 (2022): March



  • Library Collections
  • Literature
  • Barriers
  • Metadata practices
  • Historically marginalized groups
  • User discovery
  • use statistics
  • inequality

Ideology, Policy, and Practice: Structural Barriers to Collections Diversity in Research and College Libraries


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Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Beginning with a discussion of how collections diversity has been conceptualized and assessed within the literature, we then analyze four areas in which professional practices and modes of thinking create barriers to collecting materials from historically marginalized voices. Specifically, we discuss how metadata practices can obscure these materials from acquisitions workflows and user discovery, how relying on use statistics can reinforce existing inequalities, and finally, we discuss how understaffing in key areas and budgetary constraints impede libraries from recognizing and addressing the full scope of the problem.

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