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Statement on language in archival and library catalogs

Middlebury Special Collections works to describe materials in a way that is respectful to the communities we serve. We recognize that some of our catalog records and finding aids—created years or decades ago—may contain offensive or harmful language. Such language represents biases that have long contributed to the silencing of underrepresented and marginalized voices, and may require updating.

Please contact specialcollections@middlebury.edu if you encounter language that you find offensive or harmful in our finding aids, catalog records, digital archive, social media, exhibitions, or elsewhere. Special Collections staff will consider updates that preserve the historical context while expressing an awareness of the potential for language to do great harm.

Reparative Cataloging Project

The Reparative Cataloging Project (RCP) is part of the Middlebury Libraries’ commitment to update racist or outdated catalog records and to amplify underrepresented voices.

This project seeks to address catalog records that are historically inaccurate, offensive, discriminatory, or harmful. It also seeks to make records for works by authors from historically marginalized populations more discoverable by providing greater description and subject access. The RCP began in Special Collections and has led to the updating of library catalog records throughout the Middlebury Libraries. 

Read Special Collections’ news post, New and improved (and inclusive) subject headings in Special Collections.

Read Special Collections’ news post, What Angelina Weld Grimké taught me about Black authors in Special Collections.

See the Middlebury Libraries’ anti-racist statement