LGBTQ+ Catalog Users: A Brief Survey


  • Karen Snow Dominican University
  • Heather Moulaison-Sandy University of Missouri
  • Brian Dobreski University of Tennessee



To promote social justice, recent work in knowledge organization (KO) has focused on providing access for members of marginalized groups including LGBTQ+ persons. Expanding on this work, the current project explores demographics and library usage as well as the participant-provided identity terms of LGBTQ+ library catalog users. Using a survey methodology that collected 141 respondents’ information, researchers found that LGBTQ+ catalog users who responded were primarily young, educated, and identified as either Black or White. The majority of respondents reported regular use of the library catalog, though also found materials in a variety of other ways, including social media. When analyzed using facet analysis, terms used by respondents to express their identities were communicated in a range of ways with facets representing gender identity, gender alignment, gender expression, gender modality, physical attraction, emotional attraction, pronouns, and sociocultural identity all represented. Implications for the creation and application of specialized controlled vocabularies are discussed, with concerns about presumed simplicity of these approaches being questioned.