Whāia te mātauranga - How are research libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand applying Ngā Ūpoko Tukutuku / the Māori Subject Headings and offering them to users?
Ngā Ūpoko Tukutuku/the Māori Subject Headings (MSH) were released in 2006, with the aim of “provid[ing] a structured path to subjects that Māori customers can…use to find material in libraries…using terms familiar to Māori and arranged in a hierarchy that reflects the Māori view of the world”. The project is a world leader and internationally well-regarded, but very little literature has been published evaluating the uptake and use of the MSH. I talked with staff in wānanga, university, public, and special libraries, to explore how research libraries are applying the MSH and offering the MSH to their users, when adding metadata, providing reference and research services, or supporting library users to search independently. Libraries employed diverse approaches tailored to their specific users, but participants consistently emphasised the importance of the MSH, advocated for further development of the thesaurus, and hoped for more training and information sharing between libraries. Results are discussed in terms of four questions - What is working well? What could work better? What are the benefits of this work? What further questions do we need to answer? Suggestions for further research include broader assessment of the actual and potential uptake of the MSH in libraries and other memory institutions, discussion with library users, and consideration of the future development of the MSH.