Tag Archives: LGTBQ

Teaching Zines and Metadata

Cover of How to be Lolita
Cover of How to be Lolita, by Jo-Jo Sherrow. Philadelphia: Jo-Jo Sherrow, 2010. Beth Heinly Zine Collection, Special Collections Research Center.

During the Spring 2016 semester, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Representation” (MSP 4425/LGBT 3400), an undergraduate course in the Department of Media Studies and Production taught by Dr. Adrienne Shaw, worked within the Special Collections Research Center, as well as with the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives at the William Way LGBT Community Center, to complete several assignments. The class investigates the history of LGBT representation in popular media in the United States since the 1960s.

The class visited SCRC several times for introductions to using special collections materials  and various collections, students returned individually to conduct research on their own. They each selected two zines from the collection and wrote an essay on themes found within them, and completed a timeline and report on an event in Philadelphia LGBTQ history using LGBTQ resources available in the SCRC and the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives.

Metadata worksheet
Worksheet used by students for the metadata assignment.

During one visit, the students were given an introduction to metadata by SCRC staff, and completed an assignment to create their own metadata for a zine in the SCRC collection. The class included an explanation of what metadata is and does, both generally and in a library; what makes metadata important; and some issues related to creating metadata.

The issues discussed were directly relevant to the purpose of the course,  including how metadata is inherently about the problematic act of applying labels to things; standardized metadata requires the use of terms determined by someone with their own biases; and applying labels to information resources puts the metadata creator in a position of power and authority.  Issues related specifically to zines were also discussed, including how they’re often about sensitive, personal topics; they are frequently created by people from underrepresented groups; and they are occasionally written by people who do not want to be identified.

Metadata definitions handout
Class handout on metadata.

The students then completed an assignment to create their own metadata. They selected one zine from the collection, and completed a metadata form based on the ZineCore elements. SCRC staff and Dr. Shaw answered questions about how to describe a zine with, for example, no author or title; what to do if a zine listed no author but the student knew the name of the author; and how to come up with subject descriptions for sensitive topics.

A small selection of the Beth Heinly Zine Collection has been digitized and is available online. For more on ZineCore, see the ZineCore Zine.

–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC

AIDS Library Records and LGBTQ Resources

AIDS Library pins
AIDS Library pins

The AIDS Library, located in Center City, Philadelphia, was founded in 1987. The mission of the library is to provide information and support to those infected by HIV/AIDS as well as to caregivers, other AIDS service organizations, medical practitioners, case managers, hospitals, family members, partners, and friends of those infected with and affected by the virus. The library is a part of Philadelphia FIGHT, a local health services organization working with people with HIV/AIDS, provides resources, internet access, educational programs, and one-on-one assistance to the public.

The AIDS Library Records in the Special Collections Research Center came to Temple in 2007. Byron Lee, a volunteer, processed the records. The collection contains administrative records as well as materials previously used but now withdrawn from the library’s collection–monographs, serials, pamphlets, collections of article and newspaper clippings, collections of community newsletters, and information files. The majority of the collection covers the early years of the AIDS epidemic and early activist and political activities from around 1986 to 1997. Additional transfers from the library are in process.

Poetry of AIDS
The Poetry of AIDS

The collection documents one of the earliest organizations founded to educate those affected by HIV/AIDS and their communities and families. Materials detail the evolution of the library as an organization, and the many pamphlets, reports, and other publications document resources available about the AIDS epidemic. Materials by and about other Philadelphia-area organizations, as well as newspaper clippings, photographs, pins, and other ephemera, provide a glimpse of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Philadelphia during 1980s and 1990s.

The Special Collections Research Center is fortunate to hold a number of other collections related to the history of the Philadelphia LGBTQ community. These include the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force Records which contain organization records, educational program records, and videotapes and audio cassettes documenting public service announcements, news reports, and events. The Scott Wilds Papers include articles, clippings, correspondence, magazines, newsletters, and reports from this Philadelphia gay activist, and include information related to political organizations, candidates, and various Philadelphia elections.

Lesbian Tide Sept 1972
Lesbian Tide Sept 1972

The SCRC also holds a variety of newspapers and magazines published by and for the LGBTQ community both in Philadelphia and further afield, including: Philadelphia Gay News, 1973- today; the PLGTF Bulletin, 1978-82; Gayzette, 1974-75; G.L.A.D. Briefs, 1979-1986, New Gay Life, 1977-78, The Baltimore Gay Paper, 1984-87; Common Lives, Lesbian Lives, 1983-1996; The Lesbian Tide, 1971-75 and 1978-80; and Kater Street, 1978-83.

–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC