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How to Use the Library

NEW! Learn how to navigate the Gellert Library's resources

At the Gellert Library, we're celebrating Pride Month 2024 by adding new features to our catalog. By expanding the number of lists we use to catalog our resources, we're making them easier to find and learn from.

"The GSSO is a manually curated resource utilizing related glossaries from biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, and gender studies" (Kronk, Tan, & Wu, 2019).

"Designed to enhance broad subject term vocabularies, the Homosaurus is a robust and cutting-edge thesaurus that advances the discoverability of LGBTQ+ resources and information" (

What's a controlled vocabulary?

A controlled vocabulary is a list of standardized terms for describing and locating resources that share the same subject. It's the "totality of all the identified access points, the preferred terms and the linkages established among preferred and variant terms" (Durance, 1993). Librarians and subject-matter experts put together these lists of authoritative terminology so that computer databases can use them to store and deliver resources.

The purple arrows in the screenshot below point to the controlled vocabulary lists of subject headings that describe the book Violence Against Queer People by Doug Meyer.

A screenshot of an item record in the Gellert Library's digital catalog

What's special about these controlled vocabularies?

The Homosaurus and GSSO have their roots in the 1997 publication A Queer Thesaurus: An International Thesaurus of Gay and Lesbian Index Terms (Van Staalduinen, Jansma, Brandhorst, & Bruin, eds.). Through decades of collaboration by librarians and archivists, the original Queer Thesaurus grew and inspired new controlled vocabularies. Unlike broader, comprehensive controlled vocabularies like the Library of Congress Subject Headings, Homosaurus and GSSO are subject-specific. These authority lists are carefully built and maintained by subject-matter experts (scholars of queer studies and information science) specifically to support scholarship about, by, and for the LGBT+ community.

How will these tools help my research?

Now that we've added these controlled vocabularies to our catalog, you'll find it easier and faster to discover books and articles with LGBT+ subjects. Library researchers (like you!) can use the terms listed in a controlled vocabulary to find related materials through the library's digital catalog, kind of like browsing the shelves in our physical library. By clicking on the links in the subject heading lists on an item's record page, you'll find other resources that have been indexed under the same subjects. This is an easy way to discover new resources and to see how subjects are related to each other.

You can also use these controlled vocabularies to learn more about the LGBT+ community and understand how LGBT+ folks experience the world. The Homosaurus comes with a helpful document explaining how the editorial team built the controlled vocabulary and made decisions about what to include and how to include it, such as outdated terms and slurs. Peer-reviewed publications about the Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation Ontology show how important it is that healthcare workers and researchers have access to accurate, descriptive, and inclusive language for working with the LGBT+ community.

This is cool and all, but what other Pride resources does the Gellert Library have?

We're glad you asked! Check out our lists of multimedia to explore, books to read, and more.


Durance, C. J. (1993). Authority control: Beyond a bowl of alphabet soup. Archivaria35: 38–46., preserved at (2023, February). Documentation and implementation.

Kronk, C., Tran, G. Q., Wu, D. T. Y. (2019, August 21). Creating a queer tntology: The Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation (GSSO) Ontology. Studies in Health Technology Information, 264: 208–212.

Van Staalduinen, K., Jansma, A., Brandhorst, H., & Bruin, A. (Eds.). (1997). A queer thesaurus: An international thesaurus of gay and lesbian index terms. Amsterdam: Homodok; Leeuwarden: Anna Blaman Huis.