Inclusive Description


This is an evolving list of resources for archivists seeking guidance on how to describe collections in a more inclusive way. Inclusive description is description which recognizes that no archival function is neutral, including description, but that actions can be taken to remediate and avoid bias and harmful language in finding aids, catalog records, and other description. It is the hope of the Description Section that providing a centralized list of these resources will assist archivists in remediating and avoiding language which harms BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, working class people, and other marginalized groups of people.

The resources listed herein are crowd-sourced and, with the exception of the Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia Anti-Racist Description Resources and the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, are not formally endorsed by SAA or the Description Section. Please carefully consider the context of each of the following resources when deciding whether or not to implement ideas from them. While the Description Section Steering Committee will not include resources it determines to be harmful, we are not able to review all submitted resources in their entirety. We also recognize that we may overlook some problems due to our own implicit biases. Resources provided herein are shared with the intention of promoting respect for all people. Any content or information about resources provided herein that is perceived to malign any group, individual, or community, or that conflicts with the SAA Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics, should be brought to the attention of the Description Section Committee Chair for review and potential removal from the list. We welcome and appreciate your feedback.

Last update: May 9, 2024


Descriptive Notes, the blog of the Description Section, presents an ongoing series of posts relating to inclusive and reparative archival description.

Case studies

Controlled vocabularies and glossaries

  • Website - AustLang (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) - 2023

  • Website - Homosaurus, an International LGBTQ+ Linked Data Vocabulary (Digital Transgender Archive) - 2023

  • Google Sheet - Native American Names Cross Reference (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) - 2016

Cultural protocols

 Manuals and guidelines

Research and theory (articles, academic papers, etc.)

Resource lists 

Sample statements about harmful language in archival description 

Style guides

Home | Annual Reports | Standing Rules | Description Expo | Descriptive Notes | Minutes | Reports & Presentations | Section Leadership

Padern says:
strategy embodies

In my opinion, the strategy embodies the foundation's goals and principles and is both clear and succinct. The objectives of establishing resource leverage, promoting collaborative partnerships, and supporting the complete diversity of archivists, archives, and communities are particularly appealing to me. These objectives seem pertinent and significant to the archive field soccer random