This Statement outlines the commitment by UCLA cataloging and metadata practitioners to assess and align our cataloging and metadata work toward more critically and ethically informed anti-racist description practices.
This LibGuide was created by members of the Ethical Description Sub-Team, a component of the UCLA Library Anti-Racism Initiative (ARI) Collections Project Team. It is a resource for catalogers and metadata practitioners interested in critical cataloging and ethical description issues. It does not represent UCLA Library or its policies.
This LibGuide is meant to aid metadata creation and revision when approaching library resources having content that is considered harmful.
Critical cataloging and ethical description issues are complex. Depending upon the types of materials being described, library or department policies, and which cataloging conventions are being used, metadata practitioners and catalogers may find themselves transcribing offensive words in a title, making notes about marginalized individuals or painful circumstances, or adding subject headings that are outdated. This LibGuide attempts to guide decision-making in these circumstances and to consider their impact on the user. It should be considered a tool for creating a more inclusive, equitable, diverse, and anti-racist environment for library staff and patrons.
This LibGuide is a living document. We encourage additional examples or requests for guidance if a particular circumstance isn’t addressed in this guide. It will be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains useful, relevant, and up-to-date.
This guide is organized into sections by the metadata elements that may include problematic language. It includes examples and suggested actions that catalogers and archivists can take for making catalog records or finding aids more inclusive.
Created in 2023 by Ethical Description Sub-Team Members: