OhioLINK replaces alternative subject headings with updated Library of Congress subject headings

May 5, 2022

Based on a recommendation from OhioLINK’s Database Improvement and Discoverability (DIAD) Policy Team, OhioLINK removed the alternative subject headings from the Central Catalog in favor of using the updated Library of Congress subject headings. This change was approved by OhioLINK’s Library Advisory Committee, comprised of member library deans and directors. Updated records were provided to member libraries for local use.

In November 2021, the Library of Congress (LC) decided to implement changes to the subject headings that used “aliens” to mean “noncitizens.” Their Summary of Decisions, Editorial Meeting Number 2111, explains: "On list 2111b, the subject heading Aliens was changed to Noncitizens, and the heading Illegal aliens was split into: Illegal immigration and Noncitizens. At the same time, all related derivative terms, scope notes and instructions, and subdivisions were updated with the new terminology."

These LC-implemented subject headings, however, differ from those suggested by the ALA Subject Analysis Committee. This has increased discussions in the library community about inclusive cataloging and the descriptive terms used in metadata, who describes libraries' content, and whether problematic subject headings have a historical context worth retaining in the catalog.

OhioLINK and its members remain engaged in and apprised of this topic for future OhioLINK discussions.