FIMS Profile

Melissa Adler
Assistant Professor

FIMS & Nursing Building Room 4021
Phone: 519-661-2111 x81034

University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Fax: 519-661-3506
  • Teaching

  • Research

  • Publications

  • Courses Taught

Teaching: I am currently teaching Research Methods & Statistics in the MLIS program and Research Methods in the Digital Age in the undergraduate program in Media, Information & Technoculture.

My research concerns the history of knowledge organization systems as they intersect with state and cultural discourses about race and sexuality. My book, Cruising the Library: Perversities in the Organization of Knowledge (Fordham University Press, 2017), examines the history of sexuality through the lens of Library of Congress classifications. The book has been reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement, Los Angeles Review of Books, American Archivist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, disClosure, Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives, Knowledge Organization, American Libraries, Journal of Theological Librarianship, Medium, Social Responsibilities Round Table (American Librarian Association) newsletter. It was Excerpted in Literary Hub.

My current projects build from that research in different directions. One is a study of Thomas Jefferson's information communication technologies. It examines the ways in which the codification of information was instrumental in techniques of racialization and democratization in the U.S. The other is a SSHRC funded project that looks to creative people who have also been archivists or librarians or work with archival materials. I'm thinking with the work and archives of Audre Lorde, Jorge Luis Borges, Orhan Pamuk, Judy Chicago, Jeremy Dutcher, Aby Warburg, Ancient Greek women, and others to consider and create anti-colonial knowledge organization techniques. This is a research creation project that invites library workers, archivists, curators, and library school students to envision alternatives to colonial knowledge organization structures through poetry, art projects, data visualization, artist books, etc.

I am also working on an collection of conversations on research and practice in LIS, to be published by Library Juice Press.


Cruising the Library: Perversities in the Organization of Knowledge (Fordham University Press), 2017.

Articles and essays:

The Strangeness of Subject Cataloging, afterword to special issue “Strange Circulations: Affect and the Library,” Library Trends 68, no. 3 (Winter 2020), 549-556.

Eros in the Library: Considering the Aesthetics of Knowledge Organization, in Special issue: “Critical Art Librarianship,” Art Libraries Journal, 42, no. 4 (April 2019), 67-71. 

Adler, Melissa, and Lindsey M. Harper Race and Ethnicity in Classification: Teaching Knowledge Organization from a Social Justice Perspective.” Library Trends, 66, no. 5 (Summer 2018).

Do Monsters Dream?, in the Museum of Dreams, created by Sharon Sliwinski, 2017

Deleuze as Subject – B2430.D454 – Mapping Deleuze Studies in the Library, Deleuze Studies Journal, 11, no. 3 (August 2017): 429-456.

Adler, M., Huber, J. T., and Nix, A. T. Stigmatizing Disability: Libraries and the Marking and Marginalization of Books about People with Disabilities, The Library Quarterly, 87, no.2 (2017): 117-135.

Classification Along the Color Line: Excavating Systemic Racism in the Stacks, Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 1, no. 1 (2017).

The Case for Taxonomic Reparations, Knowledge Organization, In special issue, Subject Ontogeny and Evolution of Knowledge Organization Systems, 43, no. 8 (2016): 630-639. 

The Keeper of the Collections and the Delta Collection: Regulating Obscenity at the Library of Congress, 1940-1963, Special issue—Gender in Education and Information Studies: Interrogating Knowledge Production, Social Structures and Equitable Access, Interactions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 12, no.1 (2016).

Let’s Not Homosexualize the Library Stacks: Liberating Gays in the Library Catalog, 1970-1988. Journal of the History of Sexuality 44, no.3 (2015): 478-507.

Kim, Y. and Adler, M. Data Sharing Behaviors of Social Scientists: Investigating the Roles of Individual Motivations, Institutional Pressures, and Data Repositories. International Journal of Information Management 35, no.4 (2015): 408-418.

Broker of Information, the ‘Nation's Most Important Commodity’: The Library of Congress in the Neoliberal Era. Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 50, no.1 (2015): 24-50.

Adler, M. and Tennis, J. T. Toward a Taxonomy of Harm in Knowledge Organization. Knowledge Organization 40, no.4 (2013): 266-272.

Disciplining Scholarship at the Library of Congress. Knowledge Organization, 39, no.5 (2012): 370-376.

Transcending Library Catalogs: A Comparative Study of Controlled Terms in LCSH and User-Generated Tags in LibraryThing for Transgender Books. Journal of Web Librarianship, 3, no.4 (2009): 309-331.


FIMS 9604 Special Topic: Informing and Unforming Colonial Imaginaries 2021 Winter (2 sections) LIS 9004 Research Methods and Statistics 2020 Fall , 2019 Fall , 2019 Winter , 2018 Fall (2 sections) , 2018 Winter , 2017 Fall (2 sections) MIT 2025 Research Methods for the Digital Age 2020 Fall , 2020 Winter (2 sections) MIT 3000 Designing and Critiquing Research Methods 2019 Winter , 2018 Winter