Let’s talk about debiasing books – Webinar

As part of BookNet Canada‘s on-going webinar series, I recently held a webinar on using data analytics to “debias” books.

A lot of discussion has begun in publishing with respect to increasing the diversity of publishers’ lists. The issue is often seen as one that relates to authors or titles — let’s change who is writing books or add new titles to move past the #publishingsowhite phenomenon.

As good as these approaches are, they overlook a much more complex issue: what’s inside books? And how do the predictable qualities of book content contribute to the maintenance of social hierarchies? New techniques of data-driven content analysis can help identify these blind spots and spur editors and publishers and authors to imagine more diverse worlds inside of their books’ covers.

To change our biases about the world we need to change how we tell stories.