Welcome to the wild, wonderful world of zine cataloging!
Cataloging zines presents a number of exciting challenges, and there is a lot of info out there to guide the uninitiated: this page is designed as a starting point for your research.
Non-academic writing about zine cataloging
- The Zine Librarians Code of Ethics has a section on cataloging zines which emphasizes the need for considering the privacy of creators as well as the challenges of using standard classifications to classify and categorize zines.
- “Zines in Libraries: Collecting, Cataloging, and Community” was the name of our preconference session at ALA Annual 2015, and the handout compiled for that event contains information on cataloging zines.
- UK librarians Holly Casio and Nicola C. created presentation slides that feature quotes from the zine cataloguing workshops that they’ve run and ways that standard cataloguing rules are inadequate for zines.
Selected academic writing about zine cataloging
- (2018). My Life as a “Like-Minded Misfit,” or, Experiences in Zine Librarianship, Serials Review, 44:1, 4-12,
- Freedman, Jenna; Kauffman, Rhonda (2013). Cutter and Paste: A DIY Guide for Catalogers Who Don’t Know About Zines and Zine Librarians Who Don’t Know About Cataloging, DOI 10.7916/D8K35RQR
- O’Dell, Allison Jai (2014). RDA and the Description of Zines: Metadata Needs for Alternative Publications, Journal of Library Metadata, 14:3-4, DOI 10.1080/19386389.2014.978235
- Queer Zine Library, a London-based roaming DIY queer zine library, shared their cataloging manual online which gives guidelines for choices made in cataloging zines.
- ZAPP, Seattle’s no-longer-extant independent zine library, had step-by-step directions for cataloging each zine.
- Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania has a collection of a few hundred zines; view the September 2019 version of their zine cataloging procedures here.
Examples of cataloged records
- zines from the Barnard College Library are cataloged within the Columbia University Libraries catalog (Clio); keyword search for zine
- zines from the Reed College Library’s Special Collections; keyword search for zines (select “continue as guest” to view catalog records)
- zines from the Los Angeles Public Library are collocated with a “zine” tag
- zines at the Michigan State University library are brought together with a genre/subject search for zines
Information about the Zine Union Catalog
The Zine Union Catalog is a work in progress with the goal to create a shared library catalog for zines from libraries. Find out more at our Zine Union Catalog page and at the Zine Union Catalog blog.
If you have the option to use local subject headings in your catalog, the Anchor Archive Subject Thesaurus is an excellent option for a controlled vocabulary. Created by volunteers at the Anchor Archive Zine Library in Halifax, the thesaurus provides a relatively simple hierarchy specifically designed for the counter-cultural material often found in zines.
The Art & Architecture Thesaurus is another good option to use in addition or as an alternative to Library of Congress Subject Headings, especially in describing the unique physical attributes of zines such as binding or printing styles.
For a list of simple categories to organize your zine collection, see our compiled list of categories.
Discuss your dilemma
Still stuck on a zine cataloging dilemma? The Yahoo Zine Librarians email list is a great place to get feedback on questions or concerns.