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Statement on Potentially Harmful Content: Home

Yale Library's statement on potentially harmful content in our collections and catalogs.

Statement on Potentially Harmful Content

Yale Library’s collections document human expression and lived experience. Some content within our collections contains images or language that library users may find harmful, offensive, or inappropriate. Some of these images and language are now recognized as offensive and unacceptable; some may have been viewed as unacceptable when they were created. Inclusion of such content in this digital library is not an endorsement of its language, images, or ideology. Yale Library openly rejects oppressive views reflected in our collections, and we believe in the importance of fostering access to our collections in a responsible and transparent way that preserves historical evidence of social conditions and attitudes.

Yale Library strives to describe and provide access to all the content in its collections in ways that are inclusive, respectful, and do not cause harm to those who interact with the collections. This includes people who create, use, and are represented in the collections Yale stewards.

The library grounds decisions about online access to its materials in the following principles:

  • Yale Library is committed to providing broad, equitable access to our digitized surrogates and born digital materials, and constantly strives to improve collection access to users
  • Yale Library is committed to equal and unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of work, and the viewpoints of both the author and the receiver of information
  • Yale Library respects legal and ethical access restrictions, including applicable laws, regulations, cultural protections, donor contracts, and privacy requirements
  • Yale Library aims to collaborate meaningfully with stakeholders (including creators, subjects, researchers, donors, colleagues, and others) in our approach to sensitive materials in digital collections
  • Yale Library accepts requests from our community and the public to review sensitive materials in our digital collections
  • Yale Library addresses review requests promptly and equitably with respect, empathy, and transparency

We welcome your feedback on the words we use to describe the content in our collections and how we provide access to those collections. We encourage you to contact the repository with your questions. If you would like to flag content for review, please contact the repository that holds the content via email or submit feedback via the “Feedback” link at the bottom of each page on the Digital Collections site. Yale Library staff will review and respond to this feedback.

For more information on how Yale Library staff describes archival collections, please see the Yale Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.