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In the Central Discovery Index (CDI), Ex Libris indexes metadata from over 2,000 content providers and sources from around the world. We rely on the diligence and discretion of content providers to provide appropriate and rich metadata for each record. There are some cases though, whether found in our own metadata review or reported by customers, where subject headings are considered inappropriate or offensive.
As an organization we strive to deliver services that are built for and serve everyone equally and ensure that our pursuits reflect community values and are representative of diverse populations. As a result, when such incidents do arise and it’s determined that subject headings are extremely offensive, we reach out to the respective provider.
There are some difficult situations that we find ourselves in sometimes, as it’s both a challenging and impossible path to get these incidents all resolved. It’s unfortunate when these cases arise, especially when our customers’ users are confronted with subject headings through a discovery system that we supply and that the library uses. Consequently, in some exceptionally rare cases we remove the extremely offensive terms in subject headings from the index though the terms may still appear and be searchable in the abstract and title. Here is a list of these subject headings.
You can report subject headings that you consider offensive to Anti-Bias@exlibrisgroup.com. Each report will be carefully reviewed and a determination on whether the subject heading should be removed for being extremely offensive will be made. It’s certainly recognized that many words are ambiguous and can appear as legitimate subject headings in one context, but as offensive words in another. Word and terms in such cases will not be removed.
We are committed to working with content providers and the library community on this topic. A core part of our effort includes working with the DEI working group, established by the ELUNA and IGeLU user groups in cooperation with Ex Libris. This group is currently defining a process to add and vet additional subject headings to the list that may be reported as offensive by the community. In addition we work with external consultants. Longer term we are considering other solutions such as providing options to mark and contextualize problematic language on the discovery user interfaces.
More about Ex Libris’ support for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) can be found on our website. As it notes on that page, we encourage you to use Anti-Bias@exlibrisgroup.com for any other DEI concerns or suggestions you may have in relation to Ex Libris and its services.