May 21, 2022

Video Recording: “Reimagining Description for Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections: an Anti-Racist Approach”

The video recording from OCLC embedded below was presented at the ACRL 2021 conference on April 13, 2021.


Mary Sauer Games, VP Global Product Management, OCLC
Merrilee Proffitt, Senior Manager OCLC Research


Description, subject analysis, classification, authority control, and cataloging practices are part of a powerful naming and labeling process in bibliographic cataloging. Metadata is laden with outdated, harmful, and even racist terminology. Though many areas of librarianship and archival work have evolved, core ontologies and taxonomies at the heart of descriptive and classification practices remain biased and rooted in white supremacy. This presentation will cover how OCLC has sought to learn and advance knowledge for member libraries though research and programming. Additionally, we will share information about an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and OCLC that will produce a consultative community agenda. This agenda will inform research, learning, and other actionable steps that libraries, archives, and allied organizations can take to reimagine descriptive practices in the records they steward, and will establish a foundation for future community engagement and reciprocal consultation.


Reimagining Description for Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections: an Anti-Racist Approach

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.