Statement of acknowledgement

Carleton University Library provides access to a diverse range of materials held within our collections, as well as access to materials held at other libraries. These collections, which are discoverable in Omni, use national and international controlled vocabularies and bibliographic standards to describe library materials, including Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Library and Archives Canada Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) and the Library of Congress Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO).

These metadata standards have been developed over a long period of time and include outdated language to describe racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. We acknowledge that these outdated terms are considered inequitable, offensive, or harmful. We are working to correct their presence in our descriptive metadata in several ways, as described below.

Actions we are taking

Updating and revising the records in our catalogue is an ongoing and iterative process that will take some time. These are the approaches that we are taking:

1) Critically reviewing our cataloguing practices to ensure our Library’s cataloguing policies and procedures are up to date with current national and international standards as they are updated and/or evolve.

Example 1. Implementation of updated Canadian Subject Headings (CSHs) for Indigenous-related content, which is part of the Library and Archives Canada Indigenous Heritage Action Plan.

Example 2. Use the Cataloguing Code of Ethics to enhance cataloguing practices by raising awareness of ethical issues in the creation of metadata records and addressing systematic barriers to inclusion that have traditionally been present in library catalogues. The Cataloguing Code of Ethics is currently under review by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) for approval by the CFLA Board of Directors.

2) Implementing automated tools in Omni to batch update subject and name headings as they are updated by LCSH, CSH, and NACO.

3) Working with partners such as the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) and the National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA) to support and promote inclusive metadata description.

4) Reviewing and responding to all feedback we receive. We will respond to concerns by updating metadata records when updated terms are available. We will assess our in-house cataloguing practices to explore alternative solutions when immediate action is not possible.

Links to resources and other statements

We gratefully acknowledge statements made by other libraries that inform and guide our work in this area:

Western University Libraries. Problematic language in the library catalogue.

Library and Archives Canada. Historical language advisory.

Temple University Libraries. SCRC Statement on potentially harmful language in archival description and cataloging.

Duke University Library. Statement on Inclusive Description.

Tufts University. DCA Statement on potentially harmful language in archival description.

Contact us

If you encounter inequitable or problematic language in our library records or have questions about our resource description practices, please contact us at

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