The Duke University Libraries are committed to reckoning with systemic injustice and making every aspect of our services, including our collections and the way we describe them, inclusive and accessible. Acquiring contemporary and historical resources and describing them are not neutral activities. Our library's collecting and cataloging history reflects Duke University's origins as a predominantly white institution, and past practices and choices by library practitioners may have classified or codified racist and harmful language about marginalized and underrepresented communities on our website, in our catalog, and in other descriptions of materials.
Some materials in our collections may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. By providing access to these materials in physical or digital form, we recognize that they can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past. In addition, please be advised that our collection guides and other catalog descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials. We strive to place any outdated or offensive terminology in context. We recognize that we may not always make the right decision, and welcome feedback from all sources so we can listen, learn, and adjust our practices.
Learn more about our commitment to repairing library description and improving our practices:
- The Duke University Libraries Technical Services Statement on Inclusive Description
- Rubenstein Libraries’ Technical Services Guiding Principles for Description
Please contact us if you encounter problematic language on our website. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.