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Reparative Archival Description Working Group: Recommendations


The following recommendations were made to the Archival and Manuscript Description Committee (AMDECO) in March 2021. Although the recommendations were developed within the specific context of Yale University Library, RAD encourages the use of the following as general guiding principles and practices for reparative archival description work. 

  1. Implement the use of standard notes for indicating remediation in all records: RAD recommends implementing standardized descriptive notes for findings aids and MARC records whenever reparative redescription is completed, in instances when adequate historical context is missing, or to contextualize harmful language when it is deemed appropriate to leave in place.

  2. Provide access to previous versions of records: Processing information and descriptive notes indicate previous versions of finding aids or catalog records may be available, and to contact the appropriate repository to gain access. RAD recommends providing access to previous versions of records to patrons upon request, as well as retaining these records internally.

  3. Apply local or additional alternative headings when harmful language is included in Library of Congress Subject Headings: Prioritize using local subject headings or adding additional alternative headings when possible When harmful language from controlled vocabularies like the Library of Congress Subject Headings is retained, apply a standard processing information and descriptive notes to contextualize the language. Implementation of this RAD recommendation is still being explored as of May 2021.