Patrick Keilty on Tedious Feminized Tech Labor

Read TRU member’s Patrick Keilty new article on “Tedious: feminized labor in machine-readable cataloging” in the latest issue of Feminist Media Studies. 

Abstract

This essay examines previously unexplored IBM reports and manuals that document the development of Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) in the 1960s to understand gendered assumptions manufacturers made about the labor of information retrieval and to ultimately discuss the ways in which MARC transformed the feminized labor of information, making it more diffuse and shifting expectations about productivity. In the process, this essay will show that cataloging, like other forms of women’s labor transformed by technology in the latter part of the twentieth century, has a complicated relationship to the market labor and industrialization. Finally, this essay ends by connecting MARC and feminized labor to the contemporary discussion of BIBFRAME.