Zine Thesaurus FAQ

Zine Thesaurus FAQ

Who can use the Zine Subject Thesaurus?

The Zine Thesaurus is freely available for anyone to use. It’s licensed under the CC-BY-SA Creative Commons License.

The Thesaurus was designed for assigning subject terms or keywords to describe the content of zines or fanzines in all topic areas, but it can be used for any content with similar subject matter and users.  Some other types of collections or organizations that use the Zine Thesaurus or could use it are alternative bookstores, community archives, and catalogues of artist-run centres.

It is currently used by libraries and archives around the world, including DePaul University Library Special Collections and Archives, Papercut Zine Library, Minneapolis Community & Technical College Library, Simmons College Library,
UCIMC Zine Library (Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center), Centre International de Recherches sur l'Anarchisme, and the Fanzinoteca del Museo Universitario del Chopo.

Does the Zine Thesaurus have a MARC source code?

Yes, the MARC source code for the Zine Subject Thesaurus is zst. You can see all source codes on the Library of Congress website.

Are there other alternative thesauri I should consider using?

Yes, the Thesaurus covers these topic areas, but it does not go into great specificity in any area. Here are some other alternative subject thesauri with a more specific focus. We often refer to these thesauri for guidance when choosing terms, but they contain more extensive terms about certain topics than the Zine Thesaurus.

  • Homosaurus - international linked data vocabulary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) terms
  • ERIC Thesaurus - controlled vocabulary of terms used in the field of education
  • Artists' Books Terms - includes terms used to describe binding styles/book structures and production techniques/media as well as visual exemplars

How complete is the Thesaurus?

The Thesaurus is not yet complete or comprehensive. We will continue to add terms as we catalogue more items in the Anchor Archive Zine Library’s collection and we welcome suggestions of new terms to add from you. You can suggest a term using this form.

If you want to suggest multiple terms, you can submit the term more than once or you can send us a file or list by email. In the future, if there is demand, we may have a multi-term submission form.

We will also continue to revise the thesaurus as terminology and its use changes, and we welcome feedback. If you disagree with a preferred term choice or relationship or notice that a relationship or synonym is missing, please tell us.

Who manages the thesaurus? How are the terms selected/created and revised?

The Thesaurus was originally created in 2008 by Amanda Stevens and other cataloguers at the Anchor Archive Zine Library in Kjipuktuk, Mikmaki (also known as Halifax, NS, Canada) as we were cataloguing the library’s zine collection.  In 2020 it evolved into a collective project of the international zine librarian community.  Now a volunteer Editorial Collective maintains and updates the Thesaurus, inviting input from others.

How can I get involved with or contribute to the Thesaurus?

As a collectively run, volunteer project, your participation and contributions are greatly appreciated!  Here are some ways you can get involved.

Help update and maintain the Thesaurus

If you are interested in language, the organization of information, and improving access to marginalized content, you may updating and maintaining the Thesaurus. We meet regularly online to review new terms and add them to the Thesaurus, consider feedback, and make updates as needed. You don’t need to have previous experience, as you will receive training.

Offer financial support

Even a small donation can go a long way in funding our expenses and allowing us to continue offering the Thesaurus as a free resource to the whole zine community. You can make a donation via RadStorm, the DIY arts space in which the Anchor Archive is housed, and indicate it's for the Zine Thesaurus. We are developing an optional subscription model to make contributing easier.

Help with communications and grant research and writing

We're currently doing outreach to make more folks aware of the Thesaurus and need to do ongoing communication about our activities. If you like writing, design, research, or using social media, get in touch!

Help with website development

The Thesaurus is hosted in a Drupal website, which needs occasional updates and design and usability improvements. Get in touch if you have back-end or front-end development skills or usability or design experience or ideas that you want to contribute.