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Is what you see what you get? Medical subject headings and their organizing work in the violence against women research literature

McTavish, Jill R.; Neal, Diane Rasmussen; Wathen, C. Nadine


Jill R. McTavish

C. Nadine Wathen


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 20, 2011
Publication Date Sep 30, 2011
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2023
Journal Knowledge Organization
Print ISSN 0943-7444
Publisher Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 5
Pages 381-397
Keywords scientific literature; women; violence; work; subject headings; medicine
Publisher URL