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Petition to change LC subject heading from “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants”

Here’s a little backstory behind the recent news that the ALA Council approved a resolution to change the subject heading “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants”:

In February 2014, a broad-based coalition of student activists at Dartmouth College carried out a series of protests on campus.  These students co-authored a document called the “Freedom Budget” which proposed change in eight different areas of campus life.  Among the points was a provision for the removal of offensive language from the library’s discovery systems – most notably, the subject heading “Illegal Aliens.”  This point was raised by a subgroup of student activists, the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers (Co-FIRED).

A group of Dartmouth librarians met with Co-FIRED members and over the course of discussion, alighted on the thought of the students and the library jointly undertaking a proposal to change the subject heading through Dartmouth’s membership in SACO, the Subject Authorities Cooperative of the Library of Congress.  Together they gathered research and prepared the proposal.  It was submitted to the Library of Congress in July 2014.  Unfortunately, the proposal was eventually denied.  The Library of Congress Policy and Standards Division, the body which considers SACO proposals,  gave the following explanation of why the proposals were not approved:

“Undocumented immigrants [and five related proposals]

This proposal was made to change the wording of the existing heading Illegal aliens to Undocumented immigrants.  Illegal aliens is an inherently legal heading, and as such the preference is to use the legal terminology. The U.S. Code, Title 8, Aliens and Nationality, uses the terminology “illegal aliens.”  In addition, the 9th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary includes the headword “illegal alien” with a cross-reference from “undocumented alien.”  The Legislative Indexing Vocabulary used by the Congressional Research Service follows suit by authorizing the heading “Illegal aliens,” with a reference from “Undocumented aliens.”  The meeting also notes that in some legal systems, a person may be an undocumented alien without being in a jurisdiction illegally; general works on undocumented legal aliens are covered by the heading Aliens. Finally, Immigrants – the proposed broader term for the revised heading – is not an inherently legal heading.  Mixing an inherently legal concept with one that is not inherently legal leads to problems with the structure and maintenance of LCSH, and makes assignment of headings difficult.
All of the above argue against revising the heading. A UF Undocumented aliens was added to the record in 1993 to provide additional access, and reflects the fact that the common terminology is fluid.  
The proposals were not approved.”

In this case, the principle that LCSH terms for groups of people should not be pejorative is in conflict with LC’s stated need to use the terminology that appears in the U.S. Code.

Having recently been appointed to the CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee (known as SAC, the charge of which is to “study problems and recommend improvements in patterns, methods, and tools for the subject and genre/form analysis and organization of library materials, including particularly classification and subject headings systems”), Tina Gross contacted John DeSantis, the Dartmouth cataloger who had worked on the proposal, to ask if it would be helpful to raise the issue with SAC. At the SAC meeting at ALA Annual 2015, the committee agreed that a larger discussion was warranted. At the Midwinter 2016 meeting, SAC voted to form a working group charged with investigating and providing a report.

Also at Midwinter 2016, Tina Gross submitted the Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading “Illegal Aliens” with “Undocumented Immigrants,” written in collaboration with others (and with input from Sandy Berman), to the Social Responsibilities Round Table(SRRT), which voted to bring the resolution forward for consideration by ALA Council. Members of REFORMA, EMIERT, and SALALM helped spread the word and garner support. The resolution was also supported by the Intellectual Freedom Committee  (IFC), the Intellectual Freedom Round Table(IFRT), and SAC, and it passed at ALA Council nearly unanimously on January 12, 2016.

Jill Baron and Tina Gross

Princeton Acquires Papers of Alejandro Rossi

“]
Alejandro Rossi at his desk [Alejandro Rossi Papers, 1812-2010, Box 31, Folder 6.
The Princeton University Library’s Manuscripts Divisionhas recently added the papers of Alejandro Rossi (1932-2009) to its extensive collection of archives, manuscripts, and correspondence by Latin American writers and intellectuals.

Alejandro Rossi was born in Florence, Italy, to an Italian father and a Venezuelan mother.  He studied philosophy in Mexico, Germany, and England, before settling in Mexico City, where he became professor of philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 1958. His book on analytical philosophy, Lenguage y significado (1968), confirmed his status as a philosopher, but when Octavio Paz asked Rossi to contribute articles to the literary magazine Plural, Rossi began to enter the world of letters.

The writer Juan Villoro has described Rossi as the consummate conversationalist, a quality that characterizes his prose writing. With his friends Octavio Paz, Salvador Elizondo, and Juan García Ponce, Rossi helped found the influential literary journal Vuelta in 1978. A member of Mexico’s El Colegio Nacional since 1996, and winner of the Premio Xavier Villaurruita for his novel Éden, vida imaginada in 2007, Alejandro Rossi enjoyed a long distinguished career, and with great pride became a Mexican citizen in 1994. He died in Mexico City in 2009.

The archive contains a wide range materials, including notebooks, drafts of writings, correspondence with writers, editors, philosophers, and artists, and materials related to conferences and lectures in Mexico and abroad.  A detailed finding aid, recently created by new SALALM member Jill Baron, is available at http://findingaids.princeton.edu/getEad?eadid=C1422.

Feel free to contact me or the Manuscripts Division for additional information about this collection.

 

Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez
Princeton University Library

Welcome, new members!

Bruce Bachand received a B.A. in Anthropology and minor in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 19 ago before setting out to become a Mesoamerican archaeologist. At UMass, he worked as a shelver, serials assistant, and overall book worm for three years in the library to defray college expenses. After graduating, he taught English in Japan for the JET Program and upon returning spent a year or so haunting the Tozzer Library while moonlighting as a clerk at the Harvard Coop bookstore. In subsequent years, he obtained anthropology degrees from Brigham Young University (MA) and the University of Arizona (PhD). He was a Fulbright Scholar in Chiapas, Mexico during the 2009-2010 academic year and is currently a Pre-Columbian reader at the Dumbarton Oaks Library in Washington, DC. Bruce’s scholarly activities have placed him in Mexico and Guatemala for periods totalling about five years. He’s looking for a stable career where his research skills and love of books will transfer, and would like to become a subject specialist librarian. Bruce is completing an MSLS at the University of Kentucky and will be an intern at the Library of Congress next spring. He’s also a new HAPI indexer, and look forward to collaborating with Orchid and the other SALALMistas.

Jill Baron

Jill Baron is an archivist for Latin American literary manuscript collections at Princeton University.  In this position, which she has held since September 2011, she has processed the personal and working papers of writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Lorenzo García Vega, Saúl Yurkievich, Alejandro Rossi, and the nineteenth-century letters of Gabriel Iturri (friend and character study for Marcel Proust).  She has a B.A. in French and Comparative Literature from Bryn Mawr College, and spent many years working as a chef, including a long sojourn in kitchens in Andalucía, before moving to New York to pursue an MFA in fiction and poetry at The New School.  She received her MLIS from Rutgers University in December 2011, where she gained invaluable mentoring from Melissa Gasparotto and other Rutgers librarians.  At Princeton she takes great pleasure in working with manuscript materials, participating in the vibrant Latin American studies community, and working for Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, fellow SALALMista.

 

Daria Carson-Dussán | Photo by Evie Hemphil

 

Daria Carson-Dussán joined the WU Libraries staff this year as the new Romance Languages & Literatures / Latin American Studies Librarian.  Daria graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature and a fine arts certificate in art history from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.  In 2005, she received her M.L.S. from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University.  She began her professional career as a reference librarian at Indiana State University and worked at Franklin College as a reference/instruction librarian.

 

Lisa Gardinier is the new Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian at the University of Iowa.  She recently finished a M.A. in Latin American studies at the University of Arizona, including an internship at the CEPAL headquarters library in Santiago, Chile. She completed her M.L.S. at Indiana University, including an internship with Luis González.  Her first post-M.L.S. job was as the technical services & information literacy librarian at Cochise College in Douglas, AZ.  Most of her experiences and academic interests in Latin America are in Chile and the Southern Cone or the U.S.-Mexico border.  She is looking forward to participating in SALALM and being a part of a great professional community.

 

Sara Levinson joined the Resources Description and Management section at UNC Chapel Hill as an original cataloger in 2009, working mostly on Spanish and Portuguese language materials both in the main collection and, more recently, in the Rare Books Collection. Sara graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Spanish and Anthropology. She received her M.L.S. from the Palmer School in 2000 and began her professional career at the New York Historical Society cataloging some of their massive backlog. She later cataloged at Touro College while working part-time cataloging serials in the special collections in the Tamiment Library at NYU.

Berlin Loa

 

Berlin Loa is a graduate of the Knowledge River Program at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science.  Her professional background is in non-profit management, fundraising and program development.  Her undergraduate degree is in English Literature with a thematic minor in anthropology, folklore and Africana studies. Berlin is currently participating in an internship as a Museum/Archives Technician and looks forward to developing a career in collections that represent Latino, Native American or Africana cultures.

 

 

José Ignacio Padilla

 

José Ignacio Padilla received his B.A. in Latin American Literature at the Universidad de San Marcos in Lima. He then moved to Princeton, where he completed a Ph.D. in the Spanish Department. His research has always focused on Latin American Poetry and Visual Arts. Three years ago he moved to Spain and started working at Iberoamericana Vervuert where he collaborates in editorial projects, but mostly works as the manager of the bookstore.

 

 

 

 

Deb Raftus | Photo by John Pai

Deb Raftus is the Romance Languages & Literatures Librarian and Assistant Instruction Coordinator at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle.  She serves as liaison to the divisions of French & Italian Studies, Spanish & Portuguese Studies, and the Center for European Studies.  Her interests include the role of libraries in digital humanities scholarship, 21st century reference services, mentoring, and learning communities.

 

 

Tad Suzuki has been an academic librarian at University of Victoria  (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) for the last 17 years and was only recently appointed to Hispanic & Italian Studies. His academic backgrounds are anthropology/linguistics, theology, and biblical studies. A practicing artist specialized in highly realistic acrylic canvas, his other subject area for the library is Fine Arts. Tad has been teaching himself Spanish off and on for the last several years, and just recently spent two weeks in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala for language training. While there, he also spent a weekend with a Q’anjob’al Mayan family in Santa Eulalia in the north-western region of Huehuetenango.

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