New Subject Categories – Woo!

August 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

So we’ve been thinking hard about our new subject categories. We think we’ve got a list that hopefully will make it easier to find zines, and that also shows more respect for the cultures of zinemakers. It’ll also help those of us who catalog zines to make decisions about a zine’s subject, and to be consistent as a group with those decisions.

(What’s a subject category?? We’re calling the terms on the dividers in the baskets of zines subject categories e.g. Bikes, Activism…)

Take a look at the list below and let us know what you think! We’ll also put this list in the zine nook for people to refer to.

We’ll be moving zines around for a week or two. We’ll also be changing some zines’ LibraryThing records. The third tag in a zine record tells you the subject category on the shelves where you can find a zine, so some of those tags will need to be changed if we decide to change their subject (first and second tags for zines are always 1. carnegie library of pittsburgh and 2. zines).

Again, we heavily borrowed from Anchor Archive’s Box Categories, and are so grateful to them!


Zine Subject Definitions or “Where to find a zine on the shelves?”


We make decisions on which subject to place a zine in based on what we think its content primarily focuses on. The same zine title (e.g. Doris) may therefore be placed in different subjects at different times, depending on the focus of any particular zine issue.

Zines that are about different forms of activism, including political organizing, protests, and radical cheerleading. This category is also for zines that include a whole bunch of different articles, and individually the articles could maybe fit into different categories like Anarchism or Feminism, but the range of topics is so large that it’s better to put the zine under Activism. This can end up being a big category so try not to put a zine here unless it doesn’t fit anywhere else. If a zine is about activism around gender issues, include in Feminism or Queer. If it’s about environmental activism, include in Environment and Nature.


Zines about anarchism, anarchist theory, and anarchists, or zines that apply an anarchist analysis to an issue or topic.


Zines about animals, pets, and animal rights. This can include science-type zines that focus on the behavior or physiology of a particular animal, zines about pets and pet care, and zines about animal liberation or animal rights. Zines about veganism from an animal rights perspective should be categorized here, whereas zines that are more about veganism from a food perspective should be put under Food, Farming, and Gardening, or Cookzines if they include a lot of recipes.


Zines about visual and performing arts from a critical or theoretical perspective. If the zine is about how to make art, include in DIY instead. If the zine is a compilation zine and also includes prose or poetry, include in Literary.

Art Zines 

Zines that are presented more as pieces of art rather than textual, or zines that consist wholly of visual elements with no text.


Zines about bicycles, including bicycle repair, bicycle culture, and bicycle activism. Zines about how to do a bicycle tour or travel by bicycle can be filed here, but zines that focus more on telling stories about a trip done by bicycle should be filed under Travel. Zines about other kinds of transportation and transportation in general should be in the Transportation box.

Broken Pencil Collection

Issues of the zine review magazine Broken Pencil.

Body Politics

Zines about body image and fat acceptance, abortion rights, disability. Also includes zines about hair and body hair as they relate to politics and identity and other zines about the politics of control over one’s body.

Carbusters Collection

Issues of the “Journal of the Carfree Movement.”

Cities and Places

Zines that are about cities and places but from the perspective of a resident rather than a traveller. They are often in a guide format. Also includes maps.

Class Struggle

Zines about capitalism, anti-capitalism, economics, and class issues. Include zines about labor or labor organizing under Work, Jobs, and Labor.


Comics that are more artistic or expressive as well as comics that are more narrative. Include non-fiction comics in their respective content area category. Include autobiographical comics in Personal.


Zines that are mainly composed of recipes or are about how to make food. If there are some recipes but more articles about food or other topics, include under Food, Gardening, and Farming or another appropriate topic.

DIY and How-to 

Instructional zines that show or tell how to make or do something, including knitting and other crafts. Some how-to zines can fit in other categories, though, such as zines about bicycle repair, which can go under Bicycles, or zines about gardening, which can go under Food, Farming, and Gardening.

Education and School 

Zines about different levels of school, such as high school or university, and also about education in general. Zines about homeschooling, deschooling, unschooling, free school, and community-based education are included here, as well as zines about teaching and teaching.

Environment and Nature 

Zines about environmental issues, alternative energy, alternative building techniques, environmental activism, environmental education. Also zines about the natural sciences. But if the zine focuses on animals, file in Animals.


Zines about feminism, oppression of women, women’s empowerment, women’s rights, and gender from a feminist perspective. File zines about gender from a queer perspective under Queer.

Food, Farming, and Gardening 

Zines about food politics and issues, growing food and other plants, farming, urban farming, and food security, Zines about wildcrafting and herbalism for healing purposes should be included under Health – Physical. Zines that primarily consist of recipes should be filed in the Cookzines box.

Health – Mental 

Zines about mental health, including depression, anxiety, suicide, psychiatric medicine, intellectual disabilities, and the social construction of mental health.

Health – Physical 

Zines about physical health, including alternative healing, medicine, drugs, diseases, yoga, and the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Also includes zines about women’s health, such as menstruation, fertility awareness, and reproductive health. Zines about body image, fat oppression, and fat acceptance should be filed under Body Politics. Zines about sexual assault should go under Survivors and zines about reproductive choice should go under Body Politics.

Health – Sexual 

Zines about sexual and reproductive health, including sexually transmitted diseases. Zines about abortion rights should be filed under Body Politics. Zines specifically about women’s health and menstruation should go under Women’s Health.


Zines about historical events or persons.


Zines about indigenous issues, struggles, resistance, and cultures in the U.S. and all over the world.


Zines made up of fiction, true stories, and/or poetry. May also include compilation zines that may or may not include art work.


Zines about film and other media from a critical or theoretical perspective. Also covers zines that address making media e.g. making community events calendars, publishing…


Zines that are miniature in size – smaller than ¼ page.


Zines about all different kinds of music and that consist largely of music reviews.


Zines about parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, and care of children.


Zines that primarily consist of first-person narrative stories and discussions of emotions and personal experiences.


Zines about politics, war, and militarism.


Zines about prison and other detention centers, prison resistance, and prisoner justice, zines made by prisoners about their experience in prison, or zines made for prisoners.


Zines about queer cultures or experiences. Zines that analyze gender from a queer perspective can also be filed here. Zines that analyze gender from a feminist perspective should be filed in Feminism. Zines that are queer but are mainly about sex should be categorized in Sex. Zines that are queer but are mainly about health should be categorized in one of the Health categories.


Zines about race or racism. Zines with an indigenous focus should be filed under Indigenous, even if they deal specifically with the concept of race or racism.


Zines about relationships, including communication, conflict resolution, and non-hierarchical relationships of all types.


Zines that are mainly composed of reviews of zines.


Zines about sex and sexual relationships, or zines that mainly consist of sexually explicit images or stories. Zines about sexual health should be filed under Health – Sexual. Zines about sexual abuse should be filed under Survivors.


Zines about sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, partner abuse, and self-defense.


Includes zines about technology and culture jamming.


Zines about transgender cultures or experiences. Zines that analyze gender from a transgender perspective can also be filed here. Zines that analyze gender from a feminist perspective should be filed in Feminism. Zines that are transgender but are mainly about sex should be categorized in Sex. Zines that are transgender but are mainly about health should be categorized in one of the Health categories.


Zines about transportation in general and forms of transportation other than bikes. Includes zines about skateboarding, trains, cars, motorcycles, and reclaiming the streets. Zines about bicycle transportation should be filed under Bicycles and zines about travel should be filed under Travel.


Travel stories and zines about travelling.

Urban Velo Collection

Includes issues of this local urban bicycle culture magazine.

Work, Jobs, and Labor

Zines about working, different kinds of jobs, and the labor movement and labor organizing. File zines that are focused on class issues under Class Struggle.

Worn Magazine Collection

Includes issues of this alternative Canadian fashion magazine.


Zines about youth and by youth under age 18, and zines that would mainly be enjoyed by people under age 18.

Zines about Zines 

Zines about zinemaking, zine culture, and zine libraries.

Zine World Collection

Issues of the zine review magazine Zine World.

– Jude

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