A Women's Thesaurus: An Index of Language Used to Describe and Locate Information by and About Women

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9780060915520: A Women's Thesaurus: An Index of Language Used to Describe and Locate Information by and About Women
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The language of standard indexing and classification systems-terms used in most journals, libraries, filing systems, and databases-does not offer vocabulary consistently or sufficiently detailed and up-to-date to retrieve the wealth of resources available. Existing classifications frequently overlook emerging topics of special concern to women. As a result, important information is lumped under 'women' or is inaccessible. Prefixes and suffixes attached to terminology ostensibly gender neutral reflect implicitly male norms and define women in terms of their relationships to men (labels like "nontraditional employment" or "unwed mothers"). Worse, by juxtaposition, indexing systems condition our response to important topics. Grouping lesbian issues and prostitution in categories of sexuality, for example, skews complex social, political, and personal concerns.

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Cross-referencing more than 5,000 words and phrases, A Women's Thesaurus is designed to give an infusion of non-sexist language into existing language categories. It was built on the premise that the naming of things within a society's language directly shapes the images, emotions and worldview of those who use that language. Words themselves, the relationships between words and the categories we construct to group those relationships are what make our reality. This five year project represents the collaborative efforts of many individuals and several groups including The Business and Professional Women's Foundation and The National Council for Research on Women (135). A Women's Thesaurus is not only ideal for catalogers, indexers and those who design electronic retrieval systems, it is for anyone who wants to incorporate a system of language which is conceptually nonsexist. -- From The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women; review by Ilene Rosoff

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