Library News

What is Inclusive Citation and Why Does It Matter?

As awareness of systemic racism grows on college campuses, one hot topic has been inclusive citation. So, what is inclusive citation, why does it matter, and what can we do about it?

Inclusive citation is about whose work we decide to cite. When we cite, we are situating our own work in the larger scholarly conversation about our topic. When we choose which sources to cite, our decisions influence who is part of that conversation—and who is not. Practicing inclusive citation means making intentional choices to find and cite the work of scholars with varied backgrounds and identities, in order to increase equity and inclusion in your field.

Why does inclusive citation matter? Citation counts are considered a metric of success for scholars, and can heavily influence job offers, promotions, tenure decisions, and more. However, there is a growing body of evidence showing that women and underrepresented minorities are consistently cited at lower rates than men, across disciplines. And the more a scholar’s work is cited, the more they will continue to be cited over time. This inequity makes it harder for people from underrepresented groups to succeed in their field.

How can we practice more inclusive citation? Here are a few ideas to get us started:

  • Analyze your reference list and ask yourself, who am I not citing? Are there other perspectives that I should consider?
  • Find a leading researcher in your field with a marginalized identity, and follow their work on social media.
  • Experiment with different search strategies or sources to bring back different (and potentially more diverse) results.
  • Make diversity of authors and perspectives a factor in prioritizing what research you decide to read.

Want to learn more?

What is inclusive citation? is a short tutorial that details these strategies and the research behind them.

The rise of citation justice: how scholars are making references fairer is an article from Nature that provides an excellent overview of research on citation inequities, efforts to diversify citations, and critical responses.

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Boston Public Schools’ Desegregation

Black and white image of children and adults walking on a sidewalk holding protest signs
1963 Picket line at the Boston School Committee offices

The year 2024 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1974 decision by Judge Garrity that found the Boston Public Schools unconstitutionally segregated. A cohort of historians, activists, teachers, former students, civic leaders, and community members have gathered together to build events and outreach to observe this significant anniversary. On Thursday, September 7, at the Massachusetts State House, the Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative announced their efforts toward increasing conversation, commemoration, and coalition-building around the history of school desegregation in Boston’s public schools.

Surrounding the press and attendees gathered at the State House were reproductions of records from the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections’ many collections documenting the long history of school desegregation and the fight against racial imbalance in the Boston Public Schools. I worked with members of the initiative to select photographs and records that were emblematic of the key events and stories of school desegregation, busing, and early education activism. Records selected included flyers advertising Freedom Schools as an opportunity for civil protest; Ruth Batson‘s demands issued on behalf of the NAACP to the Boston School Committee; and records of the pre-1974 busing organization Operation Exodus, run by Ellen Jackson, as well as photos of the many pro-busing and anti-busing protests that took place across the city of Boston and photos of the first days and weeks of busing in 1974 and 1975.

Green flyer titled "Stay Out for Freedom" and a typed list of 14 proposals for the Boston School Committee
Left: 1963 flyer about the “Stay Out for Freedom Day.” Right: 1965 Proposal to the School Committee.
Black and white image of a Black student standing in front of a school bus surrounded by police officers, with a crowd of adults looking on
First day of busing at South Boston High, September 12, 1974, photo by Dan Sheehan courtesy of the Boston Globe Library collection

Once the records were selected, reproductions were made to be featured at the many events of the Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative, alongside other archives’ historical desegregation records. We are grateful to their work of activating our archival collections and inviting the Greater Boston community to put these records into conversation with the present and their own memories of the past.

To follow the Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative and their upcoming events, you can visit their Facebook page. Their first forum, “On the Organizing for Better Schools and Desegregation, 1960-1973,” will be held September 26 at 6 p.m. at Roxbury Community College.

To browse the historic Boston school desegregation records from the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, as well as other Boston archives, visit

Staff Book Recommendation: I Live a Life Like Yours by Jan Grue

Book cover of I Live a Life Like Yours by Jan Grue

As the summer comes to an end, I would like to share a book that I read this year and highly recommend.

I listened to the audiobook, I Live a Life Like Yours, available in the library’s OverDrive collection. I don’t remember exactly how it came to my attention, but it may have been this Guardian review. It interested me because I always need to be reminded that I experience the world as an able-bodied person. What does that mean, anyway? I can walk upstairs, run out of the rain, step over the wide gap to get onto the T’s Green Line. These things are something someone in a wheelchair can’t do. In this book, Jan Grue tells his personal story, making the point that he may have physical limitations, but he experiences the same joys and sorrows that everyone does.

I listened to it 26 weeks ago (according to my Libby app from OverDrive) but others will tell you that I have mentioned it several times. It made an impression.

Author photo of Jan Grue, a Norwegian person with short brown hair, resting their head on their hand
Author Jan Grue
Photo courtesy of Macmillan

First, the title basically says, “Don’t think that I am less than you.” Grue does speak to the challenges he has faced, weaving them into the ways his life is amazing, including his family and career. He speaks about the hierarchy of disability, sharing how he compared himself to others at camp for “kids like him.” Was he better because his disability was less restrictive? How does their physical strength or fine motor skills compare to him? He had physical limitations but, like many of us, he would decide he was better than another. He was a child like all of us, sometimes comparing qualities (perceived or visible).

He tells the story of being carried and dropped, of the challenge to find the only handicap accessible bathroom in an airport, and several other anecdotes. But he doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him.

The book reminds the reader that although Grue has experienced many barriers, there are still many open doors. I should not think that his life is less than mine, just different. I feel like I should be aware of those challenges and barriers, though. I will try to be more aware, not only of my perceptions but of my surroundings. Are they accessible to everyone? I haven’t had to consider it for myself, but shouldn’t I still think about it?

There is a lot in this book, and I have barely touched on it. I suggest reading or listening to it as I did.

Barbie in the East Boston Community News

Black ink drawn portrait of Maxine Tassin Ari-Teixeira
Maxine Tassin Ari-Teixeira aka Ms. Tex

In anticipation of the Barbie movie premiere, many archives and museums, including the Smithsonian and the National Archives, have been consulting their records to see what stories related to the iconic doll are preserved in their collections. At the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, our greatest source of Barbie insight comes from the East Boston Community News. 

Maxine Tassin Ari-Teixeira, or Ms. Tex, wrote about all kinds of issues facing a mother working and raising a family in East Boston. One of the subjects that kept reappearing in her “Heights Notes by Ms. Tex” column in the East Boston Community News was toys, and in particular, Barbie. Every December, Ms. Tex would give her annual toy report while Christmas shopping for her family. Barbie is mentioned in 17 of her columns between 1972 and 1988.

Newspaper clipping of Heights Notes by Ms. Tex. Headline reads Year of the Toy Takeover

In a December 7, 1982 issue of the East Boston Community News, Ms. Tex titled her column “Year of the Toy Takeover” and under the heading “Doll Debt” described the complexity of the Barbie dream house. 

“As I said last year, dear old Barbie’s dream house is enormous. You would need a separate room for this house, with the patio and pool (sold separately) and the Corvette. You have your choice of the plain ‘vette that does nothing, or the remote controlled one. You not only need a room for the dream house, you need a mortgage. That plastic nightmare is $98.87!!!! That is unfurnished, naturally. The furniture costs between $9 and $15 per piece!!!  Actually, looking at the doll houses, I wondered if Child World had considered the mortgage business. They could make a killing.”

On December 20, 1988 Ms. Tex observed a shift in Barbie-land in her Heights Notes column: 

“Finally at the ripe of age of what? 29? 30? Barbie has a career. Doctor Barbie comes with a white lab coat, and doctor things. But she is still Barbie after all, and also comes with an evening gown for her nights off with Doctor Ken.”

To find more of Ms. Tex’s observations on living in East Boston, the daunting task of Barbie shopping in December, and more, you can search and read the East Boston Community News in Northeastern Library’s Digital Repository Service.

Portrait of Maxine Tassin Ari-Teixeira was drawn by Joe Porzio and is a part of the Joe Portzio cartoons collection at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

Read the full December 7, 1982 issue of the East Boston Community News.

Read the full December 20, 1988 issue of the East Boston Community News.

Snell Library Renovation Moves to First Floor

A large white tarp covers a section of the first floor of Snell Library, where the temporary entrance will be created.
The temporary entrance to Snell Library will be in use beginning July 17.

Work has begun on the first floor of Snell Library as part of the building-wide renovation project. Construction will take place in stages in order to cause as little disruption to building usage as possible.

The first stage will include work on the main entrance. Because of this, a temporary entrance will be created on the west side of the building, through the Snell Library Classrooms entrance. Work is currently being done to fully transition all traffic into the building through that door.

As a result, Snell Library will be closed on Friday, July 14, at 9 p.m. and will reopen Monday, July 17, at 9 a.m.

When the library reopens on July 17, some services and departments will be relocated or otherwise affected:

  • The Campus Coffee and Tea Café will be closed for the remainder of the work.
  • The Research Help Desk for drop-in reference assistance will be relocated to the main Help & Information Desk on the first floor.
  • The Archives & Special Collections Reading Room will be relocated to the second floor, next to the Digital Scholarship Commons.
  • The Hub of recreational reading material will be temporarily closed. However, all physical library books, including those featured in the Hub, remain available on request.
  • CoLabs A-G will be unavailable.
  • The Writing Center will be unavailable. Visit their website for more information about available services and locations.

Please visit our Snell Library Renovation page for more information about the renovation project and for more construction updates.

Alternate study spaces are available around campus. Please visit Northeastern University Spaces to find other locations.

We thank you for your patience as we continue to renew Snell Library.