Tisch Library statement on potentially harmful language in our catalogs

If you encounter language in the Tufts JumboSearch or Tufts Digital Library catalog that you find harmful or offensive, we welcome your feedback. You can also email us directly at metadataservices@tufts.edu.

As reflected in the Tisch Library values statement, we are committed to advancing initiatives that make the libraries accessible and welcoming. We commit to making meaningful progress addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in libraries, at Tufts, and in the world. We work to understand and dismantle structural inequality in our systems and culture. We value the lived experience each person brings to bear.

We adhere to national standards in the creation of metadata records, and the library catalog reflects a mix of current and past practices as they have evolved over time. Although we work to balance historical terminology with current accepted practice, we acknowledge that some of the language used to describe materials in the library collections may be outdated and offensive, harmful, or hurtful to our users. We are committed to reviewing and addressing biases in our metadata and classification systems.

We acknowledge that the established standards we use to describe and classify material in the catalog such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Library of Congress Classification (LCC) can contain language that is offensive or harmful. We commit to:

  • Approaching our work with an ethic of care, seeking to eliminate further marginalization or oppression of any groups. To do this, we will:
    • Engage in an ongoing review of how materials are described in the catalog; identifying and correcting harmful language;
    • Engage in an ongoing review of our call number assignments to ensure that our materials are responsibly and accurately classified.
  • Proposing changes and additions to national and international bodies to correct harmful language; and suggesting alternatives that promote more inclusive and accurate description and access to materials.
  • Investigating and adopting, when feasible, alternate vocabularies that more accurately and easily provide access to materials by marginalized voices.
    • We will work with our service providers to ensure that these vocabularies are supported at the same level as Library of Congress and National Library of Medicine authorities.
  • Researching how communities represented in our catalog describe themselves and their histories.
    • We will strive to incorporate inclusive language in our bibliographic description.

Our catalogs are meant to represent our collections and facilitate access to the wide array of resources available. Researching, identifying and updating records is an iterative process which we commit to undertake. While we endeavor to correct past practices that are harmful, you may still encounter language that is harmful or offensive. We welcome your feedback, concerns, and questions. You can use the Tisch Library feedback form where your name and email are optional, or you can email us directly at: metadataservices@tufts.edu. We will review all feedback and provide updates to the community via the Tisch Library website.

Additional sources