Library of Congress to Remove the Subject Heading “Illegal Aliens”

It’s not often that cataloging issues are considered newsworthy in the library profession at large, but this news is most definitely worth sharing.

The Library of Congress recently announced that it will soon be removing the subject heading Illegal aliens (and all related headings) from its list of authorized subject headings.

Library of Congress Subject Headings photo by liltree, cc by-nc-nd 2.0The decision comes on the heels of a year and a half of lobbying efforts which originated here in the Dartmouth College Library. Research and Instruction Services librarians Amy Witzel and Jill Baron had worked closely with the campus student group CoFIRED (Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality, and DREAMers), who expressed strong concerns about the use of the term “Illegal aliens” in library catalogs and other discovery tools. Amy, Jill and I prepared the necessary documentation to make a formal petition (through our Library’s membership in the SACO program) to the Library of Congress to change the subject heading. After months of deliberation, the Library of Congress denied our petition on the grounds that Dartmouth’s proposed replacement heading (Undocumented immigrants) was problematic in the context of their internal terminology.

At the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston in January of this year, one of my colleagues on ALA’s Subject Analysis Committee continued to pursue the issue of removing the subject heading Illegal aliens within various components of ALA and succeeded in bringing the matter before ALA Council as a resolution. ALA Council overwhelmingly passed this resolution, urging the Library of Congress to replace this subject heading.

In February of this year, the Library of Congress again considered the request, this time at a much higher administrative level, and agreed to remove the heading Illegal aliens and replace it with two new headings: Noncitizens and Unauthorized immigration. It should be noted that it is extremely rare for the Library of Congress to make changes to its subject headings based on community pressure.

This decision represents a great victory not only for the Dartmouth students who initiated the process, but for all undocumented library users in the United States and those who champion their rights and dignity.

For more information, see: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/illegal-aliens-decision.pdf

(Photo by liltree, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

John DeSantis, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian and Bibliographer for Film, Theater and Russian Language and Literature

Library Teaching Quarterly: WI16

Keeping you up to date with Library teaching and outreach activities.

House Librarians
by Laura Barrett, Director of Education & Outreach

Founders Day -- School House

A student signs the School House book during Founders Day in Baker-Berry Library.

On February 26, Dartmouth’s new housing communities were launched! All current non-graduating students were invited to Founders Day at Baker-Berry Library where they learned their house affiliations, met their house professors, signed the house founders books, and received house scarves and t-shirts. The Library’s role in the new house system runs deeper than being the happy hosts to Founders Day, though. Each of the house communities has its own house librarian. The house librarians will be active members of the house communities and will partner with house professors to enrich the intellectual engagement of the communities.

House Librarians

House Librarians, from L to R: Andi Bartelstein (South House), Ridie Ghezzi (McLaughlin Cluster), Laura Barrett (West House), Jill Baron (East Wheelock House), Katie Harding (School House), Pamela Bagley (North Park House), Caitlin Birch (Allen House)

Biomedical Writer’s Retreat
by Heather Johnson, Research and Education Librarian

Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library

Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library

The Biomedical Libraries held its first Biomedical Writer’s Retreat January 29-30, 2016. The purpose of the retreat was to support researchers in the process of manuscript preparation; the retreat organizers provided access to writing support, research assistance, and a quiet space to facilitate the writing process. To help participants develop their writing skills, the retreat was structured to balance protected writing time and programming. The program included time with a writing specialist who met individually with each participant to give feedback on a sample from their draft manuscript and to discuss steps to improve logic, clarity, and the writing process. The Biomedical librarians also met with each participant to discuss best practices for literature searching, strategies to increase article and personal research impact, and things to consider when selecting a journal for manuscript submission. Participants also attended three seminars, one of which was led Jen Green and Barbara DeFelice from the Library’s Scholarly Communication, Publishing and Copyright program. A full description of the event and the agenda are available online.

Participants provided positive feedback on all aspects of the retreat, and provided suggestions to improve future iterations of the retreat. The Biomedical Libraries hope to offer a second retreat this summer.

30 Tools for 30 Days
by Katie Harding, Physical Sciences Librarian
30tools30days During winter term, librarians in the Kresge Physical Sciences Library used their blog to share ideas with the Dartmouth community about some exciting tools in scholarly communication. 30 tools for 30 days is a series of blog posts about 30 innovative websites, programs, and apps designed to assist researchers in each of six phases of the research cycle – discovery, analysis, writing, publication, outreach, and assessment.

Kresge librarians Katie Harding, Lora Leligdon, and Jane Quigley identified tools that would be of interest at Dartmouth, and each day posted a synopsis of a new tool. Inspiration for the blog series came from the poster 101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication: The Changing Research Workflow by Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer at Utrecht University. The 30 tools for 30 days posts can be found on the Kresge Physical Sciences Library and Cook Mathematics Collection blog.

DartmouthX: Creation
by Memory Apata, Music Library Specialist

The American Renaissance team on site in Salem, MA.

The American Renaissance team on site in Salem, MA.

The American Renaissance: Classic Literature of the 19th Century, a massive open online course (MOOC) by DartmouthX, opened for students around the world February 16th, 2016. The course is being taught by Professors Jed Dobson and Donald Pease, who also taught a residential version of the course by the same name in the Winter 2016 term. The course explores seven authors from the antebellum period: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Substantial contributions from Library staff were key components in the development of the MOOC. As the subject specialist for English, Laura Braunstein was a member of the course team from the beginning, consulting on course development, reading selection, and learning goals. Barbara DeFelice, Director of Digital Resources and Scholarly Communication, consulted on rights for secondary reading materials, including essays by the professors. Jay Satterfield, Head of Rauner Special Collections Library, presented in a video titled, “The Plurality of the Whale,” in which he examines different editions of Moby Dick to discuss how the physical manifestation of a text affects the student’s reading of that text. For example, if a book is marketed as a classic, the student often recognizes the book as such and disregards any moments of misunderstanding as a fault of their own rather than a fault of the text. You can read more about the fall 2015 exhibit on the various and diverse editions of Moby Dick in Rauner’s collections. Memory Apata, Music Library Specialist, is the lead teaching assistant for the MOOC and curated an exhibit in the Paddock Music Library called “Music and the Writers of the American Renaissance.” The exhibit runs through April 9th and showcases scores, books, recordings, and video of music inspired by the authors being read in the course.

Baker Tower