Decolonizing the Catalog: Anti-Racist Description Practices from Authority Records to Discovery Layers

Wednesday, 7/7/2021
  • 1:00 PM-2:30 PM (Eastern)
  • 12:00 PM-1:30 PM (Central)
  • 11:00 AM-12:30 PM (Mountain)
  • 10:00 AM-11:30 AM (Pacific)

A panel of experts will explore recent efforts to draw attention to and amend harmful language in library records related to the African American experience in the United States. This 90-minute webinar will be divided into three parts:

First, Elizabeth Hobart 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 and Michelle Cronquist, 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. 

The webinar will end with a final discussion of local efforts by the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) to remap problematic, outdated, and offensive LC Subject Headings by “replacing” these terms in their public catalog/ discovery layer. Kelly Farrell a Program Officer at TRLN will be presenting on this collaborative effort.

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during the final 30 minutes of the webinar. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this webinar, the participant will be able to: 

  • Understand the inadequacy of current subject headings related to anti-racism in order to remediate harmful language at their institutions.
  • Identify harmful language related to the African American experience in the United States
  • Explore several efforts to update LC subject authorities/metadata related to African American Studies. 

Who Should Attend

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


Elizabeth Hobart, Special Collections Cataloging Librarian, Penn State University

Staci Ross, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Michelle Cronquist, Special Collections Cataloger, University of North Carolina

Kelly Farrell, Program Officer, Triangle Research Libraries Network



Individual registration rates are as follows:

  • RUSA members: $45
  • ALA members: $55
  • ALA student & retired members: $25
  • Non-members: $77

Group rate: $99 single login

*DURING THIS TIME OF COVID-19 RELATED LIBRARY CLOSURES: For purposes of group registration, RUSA will define a group as up to 20 staff from a single library system working remotely and logging in individually from multiple locations to participate in the live webinar broadcast. It will be the responsibility of the registrants to share the webinar login information with members of their staff who wish to participate.

How to Register

Register online 

Tech Requirements

This webinar will be offered using Zoom. Please ensure that you have internet connection. Audio for these sessions will be streamed over computer speakers and via a teleconference line. You will be able to ask questions and interact with the presenter and other webinar participants via chat. 

For assistance for the deaf or hard of hearing, please send your request via email to Ninah Moore at by June18, 2021.


Questions about your registration should be directed to

Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Ninah Moore, RUSA Program Officer-Continuing Education, at

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!