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Reparative Archival Description Task Force: Home

Introduction

The Reparative Archival Description Task Force (RAD) is charged by the Archival and Manuscript Description Committee (AMDECO) with creating recommendations regarding principles and practices for reparative archival description work. Reparative archival description aims to remediate or contextualize potentially outdated or harmful language used in archival description and to create archival description that is accurate, inclusive, and community-centered. 

In its pilot project, RAD created reparative archival description recommendations and tested those recommendations by remediating Yale Library finding aids and catalog records on Japanese American incarceration during World War II.  

RAD’s long term goals include developing guidelines for repositories about finding, remediating, and documenting instances of outdated or harmful language in archival description; improving access to Yale’s archival collections, by removing or contextualizing outdated or harmful language in archival description and access points; making archival description more transparent to researchers by documenting changes to description; developing public-facing documentation that details the scope and aim of the task force’s work; and exploring avenues for researchers to report archival description that contains outdated or harmful language.

History

The Reparative Archival Description Task Force was formed in November 2019 after AMDECO identified a need for legacy description remediation. Task force members identified a need to focus on the acknowledgement and repair of past harms caused by archival description, and took inspiration for its name from Lae'l Hughes-Watkins’ article, Moving Toward a Reparative Archive: A Roadmap for a Holistic Approach to Disrupting Homogenous Histories in Academic Repositories and Creating Inclusive Spaces for Marginalized Voices.

 

Committee members

Bredbenner, Stephanie, Beinecke, 2019- present

Clemens, Alison, Manuscripts and Archives, 2019- present

Peebles, Catherine, Yale Center for British Art, 2019- present

Spicher, Karen, Beinecke, 2019- present

Tai, Jessica, Beinecke; Chair, 2019- present

Thompson, Timothy, Technical Services, 2019- present