Search across all USC Libraries' archival collections for detailed information contained in finding aids and collection descriptions.
Statement on Anti-Racist Description
USC Libraries contains a wealth of archival materials collected and donated over many decades. Our current archivists and librarians charged with stewarding these materials attempt to describe them in ways that are respectful and equitable. However, we acknowledge that this goal has not always been successful, especially in the earlier years of our collecting activities. Our patrons may encounter language that is racist, sexist, xenophobic and/or homophobic in our finding aids. Some instances of this language originated with our staff and others with the creators and/or donors of these records -- the latter is often a reflection of the times in which these individuals lived. This potentially offensive language is often included in finding aids (for example in folder titles) because it provides context, and standard archival practice dictates that we retain these contexts for evidentiary and informational purposes.
When we encounter such language that can be changed (language written by an archivist as opposed to the creator of a collection), we will make all attempts to balance preserving the historical context with description that acknowledges the oppressive or otherwise problematic language. In so doing, we hope to create description that is inclusive and anti-racist. This will be an on-going process, and we encourage our patrons to alert us to any language they find that can be interpreted as racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive or problematic. We recognize that language is constantly evolving and we are committed to regularly assessing our descriptive practices. We are currently exploring different tools for gathering suggested corrections to our archival description. For now, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggested corrections. Suggested corrections may address oppressive language in a finding aid or they could report simple inaccuracies, such as misspellings, incorrect dates or misidentified individuals, places or events.