Subject headings review

As part of our commitment to providing access to inclusive and diverse collections, the Library is participating in the WorldCat Discovery Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative.

Becoming more inclusive

Like all university libraries, the University of Bristol Library uses subject headings to classify items and make them easier find.

However, there is growing recognition that some of the language used for subject headings is outdated or harmful, perpetuating bias and discrimination.

Our participation in the WorldCat DEI Initiative will enable us to begin remapping current subject headings to alternatives. The new subject headings will be more inclusive, respectful, and reflective of the diversity of experiences and perspectives of our readers.  

What we're doing

A cross-team working group of Library staff have begun to identify and research areas of concern.

Some headings have already been discussed in wider communities, and we will reference this work when making decisions. We recognise, however, that establishing preferred headings in other areas may also require discussion with subject matter experts and other stakeholders.

We welcome any suggestions of changes to existing subject terms in our library catalogue. If you would like to suggest a change, please use the form below.

A person holding a pen about to write on a post it notes. Suggest a book purchase

We welcome suggestions of books that will diversify our collection. If you have one, just fill in this form.

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Take a look at this short zine which provides you with information on the colonial legacy of libraries.

A pile of textbooks on a desk. Change the Subject

This documentary follows a team of students and staff in the US trying to change outdated subject headings.

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