Decolonizing the Catalog : Addressing Problematic Language

For Immediate Release
Thu, 06/10/2021


Ninah Moore

Program Officer-Continuing Education


312 280 4398

CHICAGO- Register today for the "Decolonizing the Catalog: Anti-Racist Description Practices from Authority Records to Discovery Layers"  webinar scheduled for Wednesday, July 7, 2021 @ 12:00pm Central sponsored by the History Section of the Reference and User Services Division.

Hear directly from a panel of experts as they explore recent efforts to draw attention to and and amend harmful language in library records related to the African American experience in the United States. The 90-minute webinar will be divided into three parts:

First, Elizabeth Hobart, Special Collections Cataloging Librarian, Penn State University, will discuss the inadequacy of current subject headings related to anti-racism and the difficulties that patrons face in locating anti-racism books in the library catalog. She will draw from her recently published article in C&RL Antiracism in the Catalog: An Analysis of Records.  Hobart’s discussion will be followed by a presentation that explores one effort to update subject authorities related to African American Studies in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

Staci Ross, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, University of Pittsburgh,  and Michelle Cronquist, Special Collections Cataloger, University of North Carolina, will detail their work as Co-Chairs of the African American Subject Funnel Project. They will describe the process that they go through to update subject headings, and assess the successes and challenges that they’ve faced in getting revisions approved. 

Kelly Farrell, Program Officer at Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN),  will discuss local efforts by by the TRLN to remap problematic, outdated, and offensive LC Subject Headings by “replacing” these terms in their public catalog/ discovery layer. 

This webinar is open to any librarian or library staff but would be of particular interest to librarians, library staff and archivist who work with or create catalog records and other forms of metadata. 

Register here today! 

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more at