As an image cataloger I don’t often have the opportunity to write such long descriptions of art work as these, but I do assign many short or one-word labels to images. In response to the question below, I’m often the one who gets to decide. For example, many painting titles refer to rape scenes as abductions (or vice versa), yet both are listed in the Library of Congress Subject Authority. Either would probably help people find images, but the implications are quite different, in my opinion. Have any of you encountered this particular issue of labeling images? How do you approach it?
From the Jane Addams Hull House Museum:
Alternative Labeling Project
Was Mary Rozet Smith Jane Addams’s companion, lesbian lover, or life-long partner? Why should we care? What is at stake in how we describe their relationship? Who gets to decide?
Please take a few minutes to participate in our civic engagement and reflection project. Choose one of three labels that you think best describes the portrait of Mary Rozet Smith.