Skip to Main Content

Open LibGuide Review

This LibGuide is a documentation of the Open LibGuide Review Sessions projects at CalPoly.

Scholar Representation by Race
This tally acknowledges the white supremacy in scholarship: the numbers indicate the racial representation of the scholars listed in this LibGuide.
Black Scholars: 4   Indigenous Scholars: 0    Latinx Scholars: 3    APID(A) Scholars: 1   White Scholars: 11
Other Identifying Scholars:  0

You will find this on many of our LibGuides, as a system to keep us accountable in looking at the racial diversity of the sources we provide.  These sources have been selected based upon research for the Kennedy Library's Digital Publishing Project. 


The following FAQ has been compiled and answered by jaime ding in fall, 2020. Below the FAQ, additional resources that have guided the group's thoughts, ideas, and stances in this work are listed. 

  1. How can you tell a scholar's race? 
  2. How does this relate to my discipline? 
  3. How can I use this in my own work, which might be different from a subject/discipline/topic LibGuide?   
  4. How can I do this work when there are other expectations for my LibGuide?
  5. As an author, what if my LibGuide is not ready? 
  6. As an author, what is expected as a result of a session?
  7. As a reviewer, what if this is not my area of expertise? 
  8. What about other identities that experience oppression (gender, sexuality, citizenship, etc.)?
  9. What is the reasoning behind the language on the rubric?
  10. How did this come about?


1. How can you tell a scholar's race? 
The purpose of the Scholar Representation Tally is to be transparent about the people in our industry and our citations. It does take work to find and understand race, and we realize that this is an imperfect tool, especially as these categories are not all encompassing and rely upon a structurally inequitable system. Many scholars have cited their positionalities in bios, websites, or introductions. This is a tool towards the accountability and transparency of the racial make up of our disciplines and the scholars that we reference.     

2. How does this relate to my discipline? 
Though some disciplines may seem to not consider race under the guise of 'neutrality' or 'objectivity' (including knowledge organization institutions, like libraries), such neutrality is a standard for those who have been in power and created those standards - generally, in our higher education institutions, cis heterosexual white men. "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" should not be a separate idea, topic, because such ideas should be acknowledged and interwoven in scholarship.     

3. How can I use this in my own work, which might be different fromt a subject/discipline/topic LibGuide?  
Bias, including racial bias, is factored in every part of an institution because white supremacy is a structural, systemic force in every part of our lives. LibGuides that do not focus specifically on instruction or curriculum still may have room to be better in addressing such bias. Please see past LibGuides reviewed for examples (GIS, University Archives, Library Resources for New Students) on how such criticality can be embedded as a part any LibGuide.  
Each LibGuide is unique in its purpose, and each session will most likely reflect on that. LibGuides are only one kind of digital pedagogical tool. In using them, we should not underestimate the impact of even a few sentences to further explain contexts, or underline assumptions.

4. How can I do this work when there are other expectations for my LibGuide?
Criticality is important in all aspects, even in other people's expectations.
5. As an author, what if my LibGuide is not ready? 
While we understand the desire to show a completed, perfect project, the purpose of these sessions is to talk through what is already there. To provide a LibGuide that is 'ready' and then use the session to re-organize the LibGuide pushes for twice the amount of work. As an author, you are not expected to do anything besides provide your LibGuide and be as present as possible during our session. We are all here to help you. 
6. As an author, what is expected as a result of a session?
These sessions are to be helpful; this may produce a variety of outcomes, so we do not expect any strict result after a session. The conversation and community of the session is to be used however you may see fit.  While this review session may not have the same format as a double-blind peer review feedback, an open review session should carry the same (if not more) impact of sharing and gathering feedback for your work.
7. As a reviewer, what if this is not my area of expertise?
As someone currently in Cal Poly's community, you are already an expert in how you navigate through information in your own way. At these sessions, we are not basing expertise around specific institution-based credentials, but rather as a person who experiences navigating through digital spaces and has their own interests, life, and ideas as a wealth of knowledge.
8. What about other identities that experience oppression (gender, sexuality, citizenship, etc.)?
Our focus on racial disparities and biases does not exclude other forms of structural oppressions. The framework of using critical race theory and critical pedagogy is to begin the process of reflecting and rethinking the systems we are working in, and will often include ideas of intersectionality. "Until Black women are free, none of us will be free." Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
9. What is the reasoning behind the language on the rubric?
The language of the rubric was developed to be clear but also flexible in what we are looking for; the 'ratings' system and measurement in each description made sense in building an open conversation space. This rubric was shaped over the course of four months by jaime ding, Russ White, Laura Sorvetti, and Sarah Lester, with additional help from Mark Bieraguel, Katherine O'Clair and Mercedes Rutherford-Patten.
The rubric will be looked over, critiqued, and revised upon a yearly basis, at the beginning of each academic year. 
10. How did this come about?
This project is a part of the Digital Publishing Program in the Creative Works department at Kennedy Library. The Digital Publishing Program aims to enhance access to Cal Poly scholarship through a digitally immersive, interactive system that focuses on collaboration, accessible approaches, and recognition of individuals’ places within structural systems. In order to understand how non-traditional publication systems like the Digital Publishing Program work, it is important to understand the inequities that are embedded in the 'traditional' publication systems.
Hence, in trying to create a more equitable system of digital publishing, the open review system brings people together to weave criticality within all aspects of our work, focusing on collaboration, openness, and accountability. The Digital Publishing Program's publication system models after this open review system.


The following (freely accessible) sources have guided our thoughts, and ideas in this work.  

LibGuides: Pedagogy to Oppress? Alison Hicks, Hybrid Pedagogy, April 15, 2015. 

Towards a Trans Inclusive Publishing Landscape. Theresa Jean Tanenbaum, Robyn Speer, Irving Rettig, Teddy Goetz, Z Toups, Katta Spiel, B.M. Watson, September 9, 2020. 

The Enduring Anti-Black Racism of Google Search, OneZero, Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, July 13, 2020. 

Dr. eve ewing's What is Critical Race Theory Twitter Thread, September 5, 2020. 

Peer Review, Citation Practices, and Finding Scholarship LibGuide, jaime ding, May 2020. 

Best Practices Research Guide, Mani Goodsett, Marsha Miles, Theresa Nawalaniec, Cleveland State University, October 2019. 

"Moving Toward a Reparative Archive: A Roadmap for a Holistic Approach to Disrupting Homogenous Histories in Academic Repositories and Creating Inclusive Spaces for Marginalized Voices," Lae'l  Hughes-Watkins. Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies: Vol. 5 , Article 6. 2018.


A (game) webinar describing this work, titled Updating LibGuides with an Anti-Racist Framework from the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries: