The Cannell Library strives to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all users. We want to acknowledge that offensive or harmful language can appear in various forms of library resources and their content. If you encounter such language, please bring it to our attention so we can address it appropriately.
Description and cataloging standards—that is, the language libraries use to organize books and other resources – were created by humans over many decades and therefore cannot be impartial or free from bias. Applying standardized vocabularies and adopting descriptions from other institutions are common library practices that are intended to reduce the operational costs of cataloging materials. This practice can result in outdated and harmful terms in library collections.
The materials that the library provides also reflect a multiplicity of viewpoints, spanning a wide spectrum of timeframes and changes within disciplines, and we want to recognize that, as a result, our collections are not--and cannot be--neutral. Library users may encounter and confront views and descriptions that are outdated, biased, or discriminatory.
Clark College Libraries asserts its duty to keep in its collection a representative selection of materials on all subjects of interest to its users and to support College curriculum, including materials which address controversial questions. If you discover offensive material that you would like to suggest we consider for removal, the library has a complaint process for materials to be reevaluated.
Please use this form to help us identify where harmful language is present in library descriptions and records, so we can review and revise legacy or outdated descriptions that may not reflect the kind of inclusive description processes that we endeavor to provide at this time. Revising the language in our descriptions is an ongoing process, and some descriptions are not within the library’s influence or control, but we are committed to providing a respectful and inclusive environment for our users, and we will do everything within our power to support that effort.
Thank you for helping the library promote respectful, accurate, and inclusive language across its resources and in its cataloging practices.
“Archival Program - Potential Harm Statement | Libraries.” Libweb.slcc.edu, libweb.slcc.edu/archival-program-potential-harm-statement. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
Antracoli, Alexis A., Annalise Berdini, Kelly Bolding, Faith Charlton, Amanda Ferrara, Valencia Johnson, and Katy Rawdon. “Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia: Anti-Racist Description Resources.” October 2020. https://archivesforblacklives.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/ardr_202010.pdf.
Berry, Dorothy. "Digitizing and Enhancing Description Across Collections to Make African American Materials More Discoverable on Umbra Search African American History"
Bitter, Janelle. “Evelyn S. Field Library: Library Catalog Help: Statement on Potentially Harmful Language in Library Catalog.” Library.raritanval.edu, library.raritanval.edu/CatalogHelp/language. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
Chilcott, Alicia. "Towards Protocols for Describing Racially Offensive Language in UK Public Archives." Archival Science 19 (2019): 359-376. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10502-019-09314-y.
Cifor, Marika. "Aligning Bodies: Collecting, Arranging, and Describing Hatred for a Critical Queer Archives." Library Trends vol. 64, no. 4 (2016): 756-775. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/622031/pdf.
Coddington, Gwenlyn. “Hoover Library: McDaniel College Archives: Offensive Materials in the Archives.” Lib.hoover.mcdaniel.edu, lib.hoover.mcdaniel.edu/archives/about-the-archives/offensive-materials. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
D’Agostino, Susan. “Amid Backlash, Stanford Pulls “Harmful Language” List.” Inside Higher Ed, 11 Jan. 2023, www.insidehighered.com/news/2023/01/11/amid-backlash-stanford-removes-harmful-language-list. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
DPLA. "Black Women's Suffrage Harmful Language Statement"
“Discover Our Collections.” Www.swarthmore.edu, 18 Jan. 2019, www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library/discover-our-collections. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
Filippo (he/him/his), Thomas San. “Madeleine Clark Wallace Library: Statement on Harmful Language in Collections, Cataloging and Description: Guide.” Library.wheatoncollege.edu, library.wheatoncollege.edu/harmfullanguage. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
Hughes-Watkins, Lae'l. "Moving Toward a Reparative Archive: A Roadmap for a Holistic Approach to Disrupting Homogenous Histories in Academic Repositories and Creating Inclusive Spaces for Marginalized Voices"
“Ithaca College Library.” Library.ithaca.edu, library.ithaca.edu/policies/offensive.php. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
List of Statements on Bias in Library and Archives Description – Cataloging Lab. cataloginglab.org/List-Of-Statements-On-Bias-In-Library-And-Archives-Description/.
LMxAC Statement on Harmful Language in the Library Catalog – Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium. lmxac.org/lmxac-statement-on-harmful-language-in-the-library-catalog/. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
“Policies & Procedures.” Www.haverford.edu, www.haverford.edu/libraries/policies-procedures. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.
Rinn, Meghan R. "Nineteenth-Century Depictions of Disabilities and Modern Metadata: A Consideration of Materials in the P.T. Barnum Digital Collection." Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies vol. 5 (2018): 1-16. https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=jcas.
The Diversity Style Guide. Society of Professional Journalists and College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. Edited by Rachele Kanigel. https://www.diversitystyleguide.com/.
Wright, Kristen. "Archival Interventions and the Language We Use." Archival Science 19 (2019): 331-348.
Cataloging Ethics Steering Committee. "Cataloguing Code of Ethics." Last modified January 2021.
Society of American Archivists Description Section. Inclusive Description resources.
Smith-Yoshimura, Karen. "Creating metadata for equity, diversity, and inclusion." Hanging
Together: the OCLC Research Blog. November 7, 2018.
“Statement on Potentially Harmful Content | Theological Commons.” Commons.ptsem.edu, commons.ptsem.edu/harmful-content. Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.