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Inclusive Metadata Statement

Max Chambers Library is committed to serving historically overlooked communities through our Inclusive Metadata Initiative. One way we accomplish this is through our dedication to accurately and respectfully describing materials relating to historically overlooked communities. In response to HLC Criterion 2.E’s call for an accredited institution’s policies and procedures to have responsible acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge by faculty, staff, and students, we further acknowledge that standards for descriptive practice are entrenched in systemic discriminatory concepts. These practices which inflict harm on any dimension of diversity directly affect our users as metadata rooted in discrimination may be visible to our community in Central Search, SHAREOK, the library's website, or the library's digital collections. We are actively taking steps to ameliorate these problematic practices that directly affect the Central community's access to library resources. 

Libraries and archives are not without biases - both conscious and unconscious - that affect policies and practices. In the case of cataloging and metadata, the classification of library resources reflects how a cataloger views and interprets the subject matter. We primarily use the classification standards maintained by the Library of Congress, which have been created by people with their own biases and judgments from their specific cultures and time periods. In the case of archival description, the archives contain materials that reflect systemic discrimination and violence; however, these materials have been collected and are preserved for educational purposes. We endeavor to describe these materials with respect and sensitivity.  

By acknowledging weaknesses and flaws in these standards and other areas of librarianship, we aim to support the University's inclusive community initiative through the following practices:

  1. Cultivate a supportive and safe environment where staff feel encouraged to acknowledge their biases and engage in constructive discussions.
  2. Continue to identify areas of bias in the library and archives.
  3. Apply metadata using the standards provided by the Library of Congress in a selective manner and use professional judgment for incorporating alternative controlled vocabularies.
  4. Commit to actively learning about controlled vocabularies that improve access to resources by or about historically overlooked communities.

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the activities of our Inclusive Metadata Initiative:

Report Offensive/Outdated Terminology Strategic Plan (PDF) Inclusive Metadata Strategies  Annual Symposium FAQ