January 16, 2022

A Fight Over “Aliens”: The New York Times Publishes Editorial Re: Library of Congress Subject Headings

It’s not often (if ever?) does an issue involving LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) become the focus of a New York Times editorial.

From The NY Times:

The library changes or eliminates thousands of subject headings each year as language, meaning and connotations evolve. The term “Negro,” for instance, was retired as a subject heading in 1975; “insane” was abandoned in 2007 and replaced with “mentally ill.”


Despite the Democrats’ efforts, the amendment seeking to retain the term made it into the House appropriations bill. The Senate version does not include a similar provision. When the bills are reconciled in the coming weeks, lawmakers should consider if fighting to preserve an anachronistic and offensive term is worthwhile.

Read the Complete Article

For background on this issue, see, “GOP Insists Library of Congress Retain ‘Illegal Aliens” (June 9, 2016)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.