Skip to Main Content

Resources for Creating Inclusive and Conscious Archival Description

This guide provides information and learning resources for writing inclusive and conscious archival description.

Tools, Style Guides, and Resources by Area of Focus

“Ability + Disability.” Conscious Style Guide.

Adler, Melissa, Jeffrey T. Huber, and A. Tyler Nix. “Stigmatizing Disability: Library Classifications and the Marking and Marginalization of Books About People with Disabilities.” The Library Quarterly 87, no. 2 (2017): 117-35.

American Psychological Association. “Disability.” APA Style. Updated September 2019.

Brilmyer, Gracen. “Archival Assemblages: Applying Disability Studies’ Political/Relational Model to Archival Description.” Archival Science 18 (2018): 95-118.

Brown, Lydia. “Glossary of Ableist Phrases.” Autistic Hoya (blog). Updated February 27, 2021. "Examples Of Ableist Language You May Not Realize You’re Using." Word Facts (blog)., March 2, 2023.

“Disability Language Style Guide.” National Center on Disability and Journalism.

Glossary of Disability Terminology. Singapore: Disabled People's Association, 2015.

Guidelines: How to Write about People with Disabilities. 9th ed. Lawrence: Research and Training Center on Independent Living, University of Kansas, 2020.

Koford, Amelia. “How Disability Studies Scholars Interact with Subject Headings.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 52, no. 4 (2014): 388-411.

Rinn, Meghan R. “Nineteenth-Century Depictions of Disabilities and Modern Metadata: A Consideration of Material in the P. T. Barnum Digital Collection.” Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies 5, no. 1 (2018).

American Psychological Association. “Socioeconomic Status.” APA Style. Updated September 2019.

Brewer, Celeste. "Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks for Herself: Identifying 1,257 Married Women by their Full Names." News from Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library (blog). Updated March 19, 2022.

“Global Terms.” Digital Transgender Archive.

Kapitan, Alex. “The Radical Copyeditor's Style Guide for Writing About Transgender People.” Radical Copyeditor (blog). August 31, 2017.

López, Quispe. "8 LGBTQ+ People on Whether They Prefer 'Latinx,' 'Latine,' or Neither." Them, October 10, 2022.

Rawson, K.J. “The Rhetorical Power of Archival Description: Classifying Images of Gender Transgression.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 48, no. 4 (2018): 327-51.

Sakurai, Shige. Resources on Personal Pronouns.

The Trans Journalists Association’s Style Guide.

The Trans Metadata Collective, Jasmine Burns, Michelle Cronquist, Jackson Huang, Devon Murphy, K.J. Rawson, Beck Schaefer, Jamie Simons, Brian M. Watson, and Adrian Williams. Metadata Best Practices for Trans and Gender Diverse Resources. Updated June 22, 2022.

Yale University Library. "ArchivesSpace Agents Reparative Task Force for Women's Names." February 2022.

Solomon, Akiba. "The Language Project." What Words We Use — and Avoid — When Covering People and Incarceration. Last modified April 12, 2021.

"The Language Project." The Marshall Project. Last modified April 12, 2021.

This category covers both the use of plain and accessible language in description so that it can be more readily and easily comprehended by more people, as well as description of materials in the language that the document is written in and/or the language of the communit(ies) being described so that they can access the materials.

“Choose Your Words Carefully.”

“Five steps to plain language.” Center for Plain Language.

Linn, Mary S. “Living Archives: A Community-based Language Archive Model.” In “Language Documentation and Archiving,” eds. David Nathan and Peter K. Austin. Special issue, Language Documentation and Description 12 (July 2014): 53-67.

“What is plain language?” Plain Language Association International.

American Philosophical Society. “Protocols for the Treatment of Indigenous Materials.” Last modified November 2017.

Antracoli, Alexis A., Annalise Berdini, Kelly Bolding, Faith Charlton, Amanda Ferrara, Valencia Johnson, and Katy Rawdon. “Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia: Anti-Racist Description Resources.” Last modified October 2020.

Bauer, Brooke, and Elizabeth Ellis. "Indigenous, Native American, or American Indian? The Limitations of Broad Terms." Journal of the Early Republic 43, no. 1 (Spring 2023): 61-74.

Committee for the Development of Subject Access to Chicano Literatures. Chicano Thesaurus for Indexing Chicano Materials. Berkeley: Chicano Studies Library Publication Series, University of California, Berkeley, 1979.

Dean, Courtney. “Redescribing Japanese American Collections at UCLA.” Descriptive Notes: Newsletter of the SAA Description Section (Summer 2019): 6-8.

Duarte, Marisa Elena, and Miranda Belarde-Lewis. “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53, no. 5-6 (2015): 677-702.

First Archivists Circle. “Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.” April 9, 2007.

Foreman, P. Gabrielle, et al. “Writing about Slavery/Teaching About Slavery: This Might Help.” Community-sourced document.

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. Indigenous Peoples: A Guide to Terminology, Usage Tips, and Terminology. 2020.

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. “Indigenous Peoples Terminology Guidelines for Usage.” Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® (blog). July 20, 2016.

López, Quispe. "8 LGBTQ+ People on Whether They Prefer 'Latinx,' 'Latine,' or Neither." Them, October 10, 2022.

National JACL Power of Words II Committee. Power of Words Handbook: A Guide to Language about Japanese Americans in World War II. San Francisco: Japanese American Citizens League, 2020.

Native American Journalists Association. Reporting and Indigenous Terminology.

Native American Journalists Association. Tribal Nations Media Guide.

Native Land Digital. Native Land.

O'Neill, Shannon. "Righting (and Writing) Wrongs: Reparative Description for Japanese American Wartime Incarceration." NYU Libraries (blog). January 11, 2021.

Pringle, Jonathan. “Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library and the Protocols.” Case #2 in Case Students on Access Policies for Native American Archival Materials. April 2019.

“Racial Equity Tools Glossary.” Racial Equity Tools.

Rawson, Katie, and Trevor Muñoz. “Enhancing Description to Make African American Materials More Discoverable.” The Design for Diversity Toolkit. November 29, 2018.

Sentance, Nathan. “Maker unknown and the decentring First Nations People.” Archival Decolonist (blog). July 21, 2017.

Society of American Archivists Native American Archives Section. Protocols of Native Archives Archival Materials Webinar Series (5 parts).

“Terminology.” Densho: The Japanese Legacy Project.

Religion Newswriters Association. “Religion Stylebook.”

“Thesaurus of Religious Occupational Terms.” Anti-Racism Digital Library.

Baucom, Erin. “An Exploration into Archival Descriptions of LGBTQ Materials.” The American Archivist 81, no. 1 (2018): 65–83.

Brewer, Celeste. “Processing LGBTQ Collections Then and Now: The Ben Duncan and Dick Chapman Papers Come Out.” Archival Outlook (May/June 2018).

Ganin, Netanel. Queer LCSH. Last updated March 6, 2021.

GLAAD. GLAAD Media Reference Guide. 10th ed. New York: GLAAD, 2016.

Homosaurus: An International LGBTQ Linked Data Vocabulary.