Caucus Project of the Year Award Submission
Hispanic/Latinx Inclusive Terminologies Project aimed to address limitations in racial/ethnic terminologies used to search for health-related topics affecting the Hispanic/Latinx population. The first phase with main deliverables began in Fall 2020 and concluded in Fall 2021. More information can be found on the project website: https://osf.io/9mgwq/
The nature of this special project was to address the restrictive nature of medical subject headings (MeSH) that describe the Hispanic/Latinx population. The project team addressed this by submitting MeSH recommendations and creating a search hedge that made finding health information for this population more accessible within PubMed/Medline and several other health-related databases.
The full components of this project can be found here in our technical report: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/lib_articles/735/
We also published two conference posters at the 2022 Annual MLA Conference which can be found here: https://osf.io/ws8m5 and here https://osf.io/qc4xv.
headings within the health sciences librarian profession. Two project teams made up of librarians, student workers, and academics formed groups to address the limited nature of MeSH and also design search hedge filters that took into account the varied terminologies that make up the Hispanic/Latinx diaspora including locally derived terms, racial/ethnic combinations, and nationality.
Both project teams have showcased their work before various groups at the national and federal level including the NIH’s working group on racial/ethnic terminologies (MeSH Team/ presentation in November 2021), at the REFORMA National Conference (Both Teams/2021), the National Library of Medicine, and the Interagency Working Group addressing minimum reporting categories (MeSH Team/2022). Members of this group also helped to write a Letter to NLM (https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/lib_articles/740/) as it related to the restrictions on MeSH that was later signed by over 700 librarians worldwide.
Our advocacy in partnership with other health science librarians has also been documented in the MLA Connect Posts (https://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ld/fid=1122&&blogaid=4236)
This project also allowed for 4 librarians to help lead two teams. All librarian leaders identified as Hispanic/Latinx/Chicana including Aidy Weeks & Ruby Nugent (MeSH); Rebecca Orozco & Stephanie Roth (Search Hedge). We centered BIPOC voices in this project and allowed non-BIPOC librarians to help serve as subject matter experts where needed. We did not exclusively segregate members by race/ethnicity as we also had BIPOC subject matter experts and non-BIPOC project members. Rebecca Orozco served as a non-MLA member on the team, however the MLA Latinx Caucus sponsored this project as several caucus members dedicated time above and beyond their service commitments to ensure that the project succeeded in its first phase.
This project utilized several forms of technology including storing our project documentation in an open science repository, OSF, Temple University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Our goal was to allow for transparency in order for others to duplicate our work addressing other MeSH terms. For the second phase of the Search Hedge project, the team used automated validation using coding software which we hope to describe in an upcoming manuscript.
One of the challenges facing health sciences librarians and the profession is having sufficient time and resources to complete large projects.
This project was innovative in several ways including as a multi-institutional endeavor that included members from within and outside health sciences librarianship. The project teams fostered a spirit of collaboration that spanned across the country and Canada on a topic that affects a large portion of the population. We tapped experts from different universities and encouraged participation as a way to lean on each other’s lived experience and expertise and documented our initial phase and dissemination in an open repository to be shared and used by others. In addition, we had the opportunity to advocate for this work by writing letters and presenting our unique approach to teamwork, methodologies and findings at conferences and with various federal agencies.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROFESSION
Please see Section B: Excellence on how this project’s advocacy at multiple levels and domains has contributed to the overall health sciences librarian profession. This project has elevated librarians as advocates at the federal level when it comes to racial/ethnic terminologies, encouraged collaborating across academic disciplines, and provided resources to encourage others in the profession to pursue similar advocacy for other racial/ethnic and identity terminologies.