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Reparative Archival Description Task Force: Standardized descriptive notes

Standardized descriptive notes

The following documentation outlines standardized descriptive notes for findings aids and MARC records to be adapted for use 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.


ArchivesSpace

Processing information

Note to be adapted for all reparative redescription:

This finding aid was revised in [year] to address [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful descriptive language. During that revision, description was changed in [general description of descriptive sites, e.g. the scope and contents notes of Series I and Series II].  [Specific information about what was changed, see examples below, in the "Specific subject/topical notes about changes made" section.] Previous versions of this finding aid may be available. Please contact [repository] for details.  If you have questions or comments about these revisions, please contact the [repository or the Archival and Manuscript Description Committee]. For more information on reparative archival description at Yale, see see <ref href="https://guides.library.yale.edu/specialcollections/statementondescription">Yale’s Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.</ref>

If original creator folder titles are present in the finding aid, you can add one of the following to the processing note: 

Folder titles were revised to enclose original creator-supplied titles in quotation marks [in accordance with Yale University Library/repository policy] in [year]. Original folder titles may include [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful descriptive language. Original folder titles have been maintained to preserve the original context of how the creator labeled their files. 

This finding aid contains original creator-supplied titles.  [Devised titles are enclosed in brackets, and all other folder titles are original.] [All folder titles in this finding aid are original.]  Original folder titles may include [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful descriptive language. Original folder titles have been maintained to preserve the original context of how the creator labeled their files. 

Use of original descriptive language in titles/description

This finding aid contains original descriptive language for materials that may contain [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful language. This may include [transcribed captions of photographs/transcribed titles of printed works]. The use of this description is not an endorsement of the language it contains. Original descriptive language has been retained to promote searchability and discoverability of the collections.

Revision statement

Revision date: YYYY-MM-DD

Revision description: Finding aid revised to [remove/replace] [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful descriptive language. See the processing note for more information. 

Biographical/historical

When a record lacks proper historical context, a standard biographical/historical note should be added. For specific notes, see the corresponding subject area style guide. 


MARC

NOTE: only add this note if actual language was revised in the catalog record. Put the processing information note from the finding aid (see above) in a 954 field, changing “finding aid” to “catalog record.” 

If the collection/item does not have a finding aid, add a note similar to the following in a 954 (Reparative description) field. NOTE: only add this note if actual language was revised in the catalog record. 

This record was edited in [year] as part of ongoing revision of [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful descriptive language. in cataloging. Previous versions of this catalog record may be available. For more information, contact the [repository]. 

When a record lacks proper historical context, a standard biographical/historical note should be added. For specific notes, see the corresponding subject area style guide. 

If the record includes the use of original descriptive language in titles/description, you can add the following text to a 954 note:

This catalog record contains original descriptive language for materials that may contain [racist/sexist/euphemistic/oppressive], outdated, [and/or] harmful language. This may include [transcribed captions of photographs/transcribed titles of printed works]. The use of this description is not an endorsement of the language it contains. Original descriptive language has been retained to promote searchability and discoverability of the collections.

Specific subject/topical notes about changes made

Racist [language/descriptors was/were] removed and replaced with [community recommended/currently accepted] terminology, such as “African Americans” and “enslaved people” in [year]. 

Inaccurate or outdated names for Native American tribes were removed and replaced with [community recommended/currently accepted] terminology such as [currently recognized name of tribe] in [year]. 

References to Japanese-American “relocation,” “evacuation,” and “internment” during World War II were removed and replaced with [community recommended/currently accepted terminology] in [year], such as “Japanese American incarceration.” 

Racist, euphemistic, and harmful descriptive language referring to colonization, colonizers, and Native American people was [removed and/or replaced] in [year].