Library Embroidery Project

University of Massachusetts Amherst librarian Ann Kardos has organized an incredible embroidery project to highlight the work of metadata librarians. Check it out!

Unseen Labor is an international library community-organizing embroidery project created by University of Massachusetts Amherst librarian Ann Kardos. Metadata work is not typically seen as creative work, but work that is guided by national standards, best practices, policies and guidelines in order to produce and maintain standard records for library resources that can be shared between institutions and vendors. Metadata librarians and catalogers create and maintain millions of library resources for our patrons, with whom we may rarely (if ever) interact, and we provide valuable backend support for our front-facing colleagues.

An embroidery project shows a blue-gray cat with green eyes. The cat is standing on a log next to the letter “a” stitched in red. Read together, the cat plus the letter “a” and the log create the title of the piece, Cat-a-log!

Embroidery, designed and stitched by Stacy Gordon

“Our Russian Blue, Dewey, contemplates cataloging.”

Stacy Gordon is a technical services supervisor at the Anchorage Public Library in Anchorage, Alaska. Her piece shows a blue-gray cat with green eyes. The cat is standing on a log next to the letter “a” stitched in red. Read together, the cat plus the letter “a” and the log create the title of the piece, Cat-a-log!

Unseen Labor

miscellaneous updates

ZineCat on NYU Libraries’ News

Check out our project co-manager, Lauren Kehoe’s feature on NYU Libraries!

NYU Accessibility & Accommodations Librarian Lauren Kehoe has contributed a chapter, The Zine Union Catalog, to the December 2021 ALA publication Zines in Libraries: Selecting, Purchasing, and Processing, edited by Lauren DeVoe and Sara Duff. The Zine Union Catalog (aka ZineCat) facilitates discoverability of zine holdings in the U.S. and beyond by searching a single catalog interface.  

Lauren received a 2021 NYU Digital Humanities Seed Grant to continue developing the Union Catalog prototype with her project partner, Jenna Freedman, Librarian for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Curator of the Zine Library at Barnard. 

– Lauren Kehoe Publishes on Building a Zine Union Catalog, NYU Libraries Communication

miscellaneous updates zine librarians

Highlights from NYCDH Week

There is a logo of NYCDH Week with a New York cityscape in black behind the letters. On the bottom is a chart featuring the frequency of certain words represented, like “coronavirus” and “black." Below, there is an image of multi-colored words in different orientations. Some words are larger than others. Here, the word “women” in blue is largest.

Text Analysis with a Zine Corpus- NYCDH Week 2/10/22

by Vita Kurland

In February I had the pleasure of attending the Text Analysis with a Zine Corpus workshop hosted by by Filipa Calado (CUNY GC Ph.D student), Jenna Freedman (Barnard Zine Library curator), and Miranda Johnson (University of Wisconsin-Madison, MLIS student) for NYCDH week. Utilizing seventeen zines from the digitized collections at the Barnard Zine Library, the project seeks to make zines available for text analysis, solidifying their place in Digital Humanities scholarship. 

The workshop was both an introduction to the process of building the corpus as well as an introduction to Voyant-Tools, the software used for the textual analysis. The presenters discussed the significance of zines and engaged participants in the ethics and steps of creating a corpus highlighting the works of zine creators from minoritized identities. In creating the catalog, the team experienced challenges with transcription and discussed the responsibility of communication around consent to digitize the selected texts. Using Voyant-Tools and a pre-written Python script, the presenter’s discussed the possibilities of text analysis and visualization as a means to revolutionize zine scholarship pushing the boundaries of exploration beyond the physical object. 

So what is a zine corpus? A corpus is a collection or body of texts, in this case of zines from Barnard College’s Zine Library. Developing the corpus Calado, Freedman, and Johnson chose from a range of genres, and author identities to select a representative example of the zine catalog. The Barnard Zine Library collects zines on feminism and femme identity by people of all genders with an emphasis on zines by women of color. Once the body of texts was selected they were transcribed with a combination of manual labor and an OCR  converter or “Optical Character Recognition,” a technology that recognizes text within scanned documents and images. 

What knowledge is gained using text analysis and visualization? Text analysis is a tool used in Digital Humanities scholarship as a means for scholars to read bodies of text in new ways by using machine learning to pick up on word frequency patterns in texts. Text analysis, often referred to as “distant reading” or “topic modeling,” provides new insight into textual patterns and features such as word frequency and approximate words.  In contrast to close readings of texts, the use of computational tools enhances the study of texts in ways that an individual might not notice or even be capable of. For example how many times the word “feminist” might appear in a text and what the surrounding words. 

Voyant-Tools software was used as part of the presentation to explore the zine corpus. Voyant is an open-source browser-based interface that analyzes any imported text. It allows users to upload a corpora and visualize patterns in various ways. For example, users can experiment with colorful word clusters, or  “word clouds” that represent word frequency and visualize how specific words and phrases appear across texts in line graphs.

The questions posed by the workshop were: what new areas of research can be identified through this type of work and what is gained or  lost when stepping away from the physical object (close reading)?  These questions are important because zines are such ephemeral objects – so much is gained from experiencing zines physically. While information might be lost from not having the experience with the physical object, access to the zines as sources for information is greatly increased. As someone with minimal Digital Humanities experience I was excited to hear about this project because it bridges my understanding of zines as ephemeral DIY publications with the world of computational tools and data analysis. While I don’t have answers to these questions it was apparent when using Voyant-Tools to explore the corpus that there is much to be explored. 

This project invites zine enthusiasts to explore the possibilities of text analysis and carves a space for zines in the larger sphere of the Digital Humanities and distant reading. We at ZineCat are excited to see how this project evolves and what insights can be gleaned from the textual analysis of zines. 

miscellaneous zine librarians

Contribute to List of Zine Collections

We have assembled a very long list of zine libraries, collections, and archives from around the world. Check out our shared list to learn about a vast array of zine holdings and to make sure that we did not miss your favorite collection. Feel free to leave a suggestion directly on the document. ZineCat deeply appreciates your contributions!

Collaged image of lined paper and blue paper on the bottom and a small globe on top. On the lined paper writes: “Check out our international Zine Libraries List! Are we missing a collection you love? Please feel free to add/edit.”
Calling all zine librarians/lovers – please let us know of your favorite zine archives, collections, and libraries!

Zines in the Classroom

If you’re looking for fun and creative activities to share with students, zine are a great place to start. Designer, artist, and art teacher, Ray Yang gives some wonderful suggestions on how to engage students in zine-making workshops. Zines are an excellent way to develop narrative and story-telling skills, while also serving as an outlet for creative self-expression.

A worksheet for students to fill out when making their own zine, titled "Making a Zine."

Check out Yang’s article for more helpful tips.


Help rename Carnegie Library of Pittsburg’s Zine Collection!

Librarians and friends of Jude Vachon have written to the leadership of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to rename their zine collection after her. Jude Vachon started this collection in 2008 and maintained it through 2015. She exemplified the commitment to community-centered programs that CLP strives towards. Honoring Jude through this named collection would be a way to carry forward her work and strengthen ties with communities in Pittsburgh.

To support and learn more details about this effort, please consider writing a letter of and sending it off before February 16.

A photo of a white building, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburg main branch.
The CLP Main branch in Oakland. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Metadata Intern: Vita Kurland

We are so excited to introduce a new member to our ZineCat team. Meet our Metadata Intern,Vita Kurland! They will be helping us to provide support in strategizing the harmonization of zine metadata, writing guidance for current and future contributors to ZineCat, and collaborating on a zine that documents the work. 


Vita Kurland (they/them) is an archivist, curator, and dress historian. They are completing their MA in Costume Studies at NYU Steinhardt and MLIS at LIU Palmer while working as a Graduate Fellow at Barnard College in the Archives and Special Collections. Kurland’s research focuses on graphic T-shirts, secondhand markets, collecting, and memorial wearables. As an archivist their work is centered around bringing marginalized histories to the forefront of archives and education. They hold their BA in Art and Aesthetics from Bard College Berlin.


Re-introducing xZINECOREx

ZineCat envisions becoming a completely collaborative platform for cataloging and discovering zines, where libraries or individuals can share their holdings. In the future, ZineCat will have an approachable interface where librarians can upload and ingest the metadata from their own zine collections.

In order to establish a standard metadata schema for zines, a group of ZineCat contributors has created xZINECOREx. If this metadata standard for zines is adopted widely by zine collections, it will facilitate the easier sharing and discoverability of zine information through the ZineCat.

Take a look at the helpful visual schema map of ZineCat that Milo Miller of the Queer Zine Archive Project has made.

A visual schema map composed of a main multi-colored vertical column of metadata categories in the center.
Zine Union Catalog visual schema map, Image by Milo Miller, co-founder of QZAP, from


Make Your Own Manifesto Zine

For the release of Bernardine Evaristo’s new book, Manifesto, independent publisher, Grove Atlantic, is inviting readers to download and print The Evaristo Manifesto as a zine! Make your own and write down your intentions, motivations and convictions.

A print-out that can be folded into a zine, called the Evaristo Manifesto Zine. It is primarily composed of text, but one page consists of a black and white photo of the profile of a woman's face.
The Evaristo Manifesto Zine

Share the making of your zine and manifesto by tagging @groveatlantic on social media!

About Manifesto: On Never Giving Up

Evaristo is the first Black woman and first Black British person to ever win the Booker Prize in its fifty-year history. In her vibrant and astonishing nonfiction debut, Manifesto, Evaristo recounts her life and career as she rebelled against the mainstream and fought for over several decades to bring her creative work into the world. With her characteristic humor, she describes her childhood with a Nigerian father and white Catholic mother, tells the story of how she helped set up Britain’s first Black women’s theatre company, remembers the queer relationships of her twenties, and recounts her determination to write books that were absent in the literary world around her. She reminds us of how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. 

Both unconventional memoir and inspirational text, Manifesto is a unique reminder to us all to persist in doing work we believe in, even when we feel overlooked or discounted. Evaristo shows us how we can follow in her footsteps, from first vision to insistent perseverance, to eventual triumph.

Order your copy of Manifesto.


Hot off the Press!

Zines in Libraries: Selecting, Purchasing, and Processing has just been published by ALA (American Library Association) with contributions by our very own ZineCat community. The book contains insights from Katrin Abel, Jeremy Brett, Ann (A’misa) Matsushima Chiu, Marta Chudolinska, Jenna Freedman, Joan Jocson-Singh, Mica Johnson, Lauren Kehoe, Joshua Lupkin, Meg Metcalf, and Ziba Perez. Order your copy today!

An image of the cover of the book
"Zines in Libraries: Selecting, Purchasing, and Processing," consisting of a light orange to blue green gradient backdrop.

Many of the authors have also shared their chapters at The project managers of the Zine Union Catalog have also contributed their knowledge.

Read Jenna Freedman’s “The Barnard Zine Library: The Controlled and the Wild” to learn about the development of the Zine Library at Barnard. It details how this special library and archive came together and includes images of ephemera from the process. Freedman is also sure to give credit to those who have helped her assemble the library along the way and is transparent about what needs improvement or could have been done differently while also sharing future goals for the institution. With humor and grace, this chapter gives a thorough behind-the-scenes view of the Barnard Zine Library.

To learn more about what we do at ZineCat, check out the chapter “The Zine Union Catalog” by Lauren Kehoe. The history and many goals of ZineCat are outlined in this essay. Kehoe expands upon how the catalog works, its beginnings, and its projected impact on the study, research, and dissemination of zines. Acknowledging the inherent tension within cataloging and the work that still needs to be done, the chapter ends with an open call. Please feel free to reach out to us at if you want to get involved, know more about the Zine Union Catalog, or to simply share your thoughts! We deeply appreciate your feedback.