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Subject Indexing: The Challenge of LGBTQI Literature

Conference paper
Authors Jenny Bergenmar
Koraljka Golub
Published in CEUR Workshop Proceedings
ISSN 1613-0073
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Language en
Keywords LGBTQI, Queer, Subject Indexing, Literature, Digital Humanities
Subject categories Languages and Literature


Despite a growing number of digital LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex) history archives, and research-driven digital LGBTQI initiatives, queer perspectives have not been prominent in the digital humanities. Furthermore, investigations of LGBTQI in literary history is ham- pered by the fact that, to date, there are no broad scholarly inventories of such literature. Due to the absence of exhaustive bibliographies, scholars need to per- form time-consuming, human reading of individual works and imprecise searches in order to locate LGBTQI motifs and themes. Research on subject in- dexing has also revealed that controlled vocabularies in use are too general to describe LGBTQI themes, motifs, and characters in a relevant manner. The pur- pose of this paper is to discuss how LGBTQI literature can be made more search- able, and more visible through the development of a quality-controlled subject specific database (QUEERLIT database) in which specialized subject indexing is applied. Methodological challenges pertaining to indexing of queer literary texts with implicit LGBTQI motifs are discussed, as well as theoretical considerations raised when assigning certain contemporary subjects to historical texts.

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