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KVINFO office in Copenhagen.
|Purpose||Documentation and information services|
|Christina Fiig, Sabrina Speiermann, Thomas Rasmussen (auxiliary), Dorthe Staunæs (chair), Gert Martin Hald, Lynn Roseberry (auxiliary), Mogens Blom, Robin May Schott (auxiliary), Marianne Bruun, Hanne Fokdal Barnekow (auxiliary), Michael Cutta-Schønberg, Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard (auxiliary), Tonny Skovgård Jensen (vice-chair), Ellen V. Knudsen (auxiliary), Jytte Nielsen, Anita Frank Goth (auxiliary)|
|Affiliations||Danish library sector|
The Danish Center for Research on Women and Gender (KVINFO) is a center whose primary aim is to provide the general public with information about the results of women's studies and gender research undertaken in Denmark and internationally. KVINFO is an abbreviation of the Danish words køn, viden, information, and forskning, meaning gender, knowledge, information, and research.
KVINFO's core resource is a library of more than 20,000 books, journals and political publications dealing with equal opportunities and women's issues. This library may be seen as an example of a broader, more holistic concept of a library because it actually carries out important functions related to modern information centres. For example, it edits a web magazine, an online Biographical Encyclopedia of Danish Women, a database of women professionals, web stories on key periods in the history of Danish women. Furthermore, it coordinates special programs such as the mentor-network for women of all ethnic backgrounds living in Denmark, and the women's dialogue pro rights and equal opportunities in the Middle East.
- 1 History
- 2 Documentation and information services
- 3 Other activities
- 4 Controversy
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
KVINFO is the only women's library in Denmark. Its history goes back to 1964 when the founder Nynne Koch, who at the time worked at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen as a secretary, initiated a women's documentation service. She was allocated 15 minutes a day in which to register incoming books on women's issues in a card catalogue.
Such initiative allowed KVINFO to develop a unique classification and subject indexing system invented by Koch and developed over the years by special librarians. The system takes into account the particular needs of researchers specialized in women and gender studies in a way that posts in the catalogue are enriched with key words giving each post as many search entrances as possible.
By 1982, KVINFO was established as a four-year experiment funded by the Danish Ministry of Culture. Koch and her staff of volunteers moved to a new venue and expanded their activities. In 1987 the center became a self-governing institution.
Elisabeth Møller Jensen was the director of KVINFO from 1990 to 2014. During her directorship KVINFO's budget and staff has increased threefold, the center's magazine has been redesigned, relaunched and circulation doubled and the database project, the first online database of women experts in Europe, has gone in the Internet.
Furthermore, the center has implemented information technology on all levels and functions as coordinator for the Danish Ministry of Culture's project Cultural Network Denmark.
Documentation and information services
Although KVINFO has its roots in the Danish library sector, for the past eighteen years it has also contributed to bring women's politics and women's research into the forefront of cultural debate in Scandinavia.
In addition to collecting and registering publications on women's studies, gender studies, men's studies, queer studies, gender equality, valid statistics, biographies, autobiographies, and so forth, KVINFO communicates with national and international audiences via several information services.
A web magazine for gender and culture
KVINFO's magazine, Forum, first paper edition appeared in 1982 and for the next ten years was the only Danish women's studies journal. In 1998 it became a web magazine in order to reach new groups of readers and place gender on their agenda.
Forum's main purpose is to increase the visibility of Danish women and of gender issues and to create links and contact to other women and gender researchers globally. It is mainly published in Danish.
A Biographical Encyclopedia of Danish women
Launched in 2003 under the Danish name Dansk kvindebiografisk leksikon, this encyclopaedia contains approximately 2000 Danish women all pioneers within their field, i.e. within education, nursing, science, music, etc., or central figures within the suffrage movement, politics, women's organizations, research, business and so forth. This material is available to the general public free of charge on the Internet.
A database of Women Online
In 1995, KVINFO set up a database of women experts in Denmark called Women Online. This database provides easy access to biographical information on a large number of contemporary women who are opinion leaders, senior managers, politicians, researchers and experts within a wide range of subjects. It provides a broad selection of candidates for appointments in private and public office, for committees, tribunals, commissions and councils, and offers names for speakers, teachers, facilitators and consultants.
A website on Women's history
KVINFO launched this website in November 2001 and the idea behind it is to tell the story of Danish women's road to equal opportunities from 1850 to 1920. Documents on important landmarks such as the suffrage, women's access to education and employment, women's fight for independence and the debate on sexual morality are available in Danish in the Internet.
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KVINFO is involved in many other projects. Besides arranging a wide range of lectures, seminars and cultural events, the center has strengthen its services coordinating programs supporting women's right in the Middle East and providing opportunities for immigrant women in Denmark.
Mentor network program for women immigrants
In 2001 the Danish women's movement in general, and KVINFO in particular, were criticized for letting down immigrant women.
By 2003 a mentor network was set up for the benefit of refugee and immigrant women living in Denmark. The idea was to match KVINFO's rich networks of strong, committed, well educated women with refugee and immigrant women.
Through one-on-one meetings of equals, women-mentors provide access to their professional networks and give appropriate advice regarding job applications, job interviews, workplace culture and reassessment of employment potential.
It has been estimated that more than 50 percent of all job openings in Denmark are filled via personal networks. Networks are essential to gain a foothold in Danish society. Women immigrants are matched with Danish mentors based on the educational background, profession and personal wishes.
At the moment,[when?] more than 3,000 women are part of KVINFO's network, which is organized in four branches and in four different Danish cities.
Women in Dialogue in the Middle East
Created in 2006, KVINFO's Middle East initiative is the result of a wish to create a bridging frame to the bilateral partnership between Denmark and different Arab countries that currently focus on promoting gender equality and women's rights.
The program works supporting proposals for capacity building of civil society organisations, especially women's organizations, in four strategic areas: Legal change, women's participation in the public sphere, domestic violence, and research, documentation and information on gender related issues
In its initial phase KVINFO's initiative includes Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
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During the first decade of the new millennium KVINFO had its funding increased and has become much more publicly outspoken. So has claims[by whom?] that the organization is not purely informational and objective, but quite biased. Notably, the organization has been accused[by whom?] of not wanting equal rights and accused of promoting positive discrimination in favor of women. Also the organization has been accused[by whom?] of having a left-wing political bias. An example viewed by some[who?] as documentation of this last criticism is their 2010 yearly report on how the gender debate is coming along. In 2010 there had been a trend of non-leftish, Danish, female gender issue debaters who questioned if positive discrimination and quotas on how many percent women there should be on a board were the right thing. This trend was mentioned only in a non-flattering comparison to Sarah Palin[clarification needed].
- Blomqvist, Katarina (1998) Feminism in Denmark. Elisabeth Møller Jensen. Biographical Information. Feminist Theory Webesite, http://www.cddc.vt.edu
- Fjordback Søndergaard, Trine; Andersen, Jack; Hjørland, Birger (2003). "Documents and the communication of scientific and scholarly information: Revising and updating the UNISIST model". Journal of Documentation. 59 (3): 278–320. doi:10.1108/00220410310472509.
- Femina (2005) Udelandske Kvinder får et fagligt skub. Nr 18, 70-73
- Holst, Line (November 2002). "KVINFO − The Danish Centre for Information on Women and Gender". European Journal of Women's Studies. 9 (4): 485–489. doi:10.1177/13505068020090040801.
- Stenvatten, I. & Eriksson M. (2001) Det för(s)fönade biblioteket. En discursteoretisk läsning av biblioteket vid KVINFO. Master thesis for Library and Information Science. University of Lund. Sweden, 1-78