Is What You See What You Get? Medical Subject Headings and their Organizing Work in the Violence Against Women Research Literature

McTavish, Jill R.; Rasmussen Neal, Diane; Wathen, C. Nadine
November 2011
Knowledge Organization;2011, Vol. 38 Issue 5, p381
Academic Journal
In this paper we argue that the broader definition of classification offered by sociologists and by Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star addresses pertinent knowledge organization processes that we can use to investigate the moral, scientific, and aesthetic implications of different kinds of knowledge organization systems. We do so by systematically investigating the organization of the violence against women research literature by medical, allied health, and social sciences bibliographic databases and in particular by the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). Our findings indicate that underlying these knowledge organization systems are certain discourses on violence against women that may reinforce a gender-neutral understanding of violence.


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