OhioLINK adds alternative subject headings to Central Catalog MARC records

Apr 30, 2021

OhioLINK, Ohio's academic library consortium, has added inclusive, alternative subject headings to MARC records for shared electronic resources that include the word alien as a term to mean non-citizens. The additions addressed proposed, but not yet implemented, changes for twelve Library of Congress (LC) subject headings. These additional subject headings display as keywords and are searchable in the OhioLINK Central Catalog.

LC Subject Headings

Alternative Headings

Alien criminals

Noncitizen criminals

Alien detention centers

Immigrant detention centers



Aliens in art

Noncitizens in art

Aliens in literature

Noncitizens in literature

Aliens in mass media

Noncitizens in mass media

Aliens in motion pictures

Noncitizens in motion pictures

Children of illegal aliens

Children of undocumented immigrants

Illegal alien children

Undocumented immigrant children

Illegal aliens

Undocumented immigrants

Illegal aliens in literature

Undocumented immigrants in literature

Women illegal aliens

Women undocumented immigrants

In 2016, the Library of Congress decided to change their subject headings “Aliens” to “Noncitizens” and “Illegal aliens” to “Undocumented immigrants” but due to legislative delays, did not actually make the change. In June 2020, a report from ALA’s Subject Analysis Committee provided guidance for libraries wanting to make the change. OhioLINK’s Database Improvement and Discoverability (DIAD) Policy Team began discussing what it would mean for member institutions and created guidelines for local changes. Numerous libraries and library consortia already have made these local changes to their library catalogs and discovery systems.

These changes were approved by OhioLINK’s Library Advisory Committee, comprised of member library deans and directors. Updated records also were provided to member libraries for local use. Member libraries should consult DIAD’s “Guidelines for Addressing Outdated or Offensive Subject Terms” from November 2020 for more information and various local options.


About OhioLINK: Connecting libraries, learning and discovery.

Established in 1992, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium, serving 88 institutions plus the State Library of Ohio. Delivering both IT infrastructure and content negotiation, OhioLINK provides students, researchers, faculty, and staff with access to valuable digital research collections at a fraction of the cost if those collections were purchased by individual institutions. OhioLINK also connects library services, print and digital collections among its member institutions and manages collaborative services aimed at reducing students’ cost of higher education in Ohio, including eTutoring and Affordable Learning. A member of the Ohio Technology Consortium of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, OhioLINK creates a competitive advantage for its member institutions and supports student and researcher success across Ohio. Learn more at ohiolink.edu.