Please note that this is older content and may include details or links that are out of date or no longer accurate.

OCLC to convene a diverse group to 'Reimagine Descriptive Workflows' in libraries, archives

Convening is part of eight-month project to explore inclusive descriptive practices

DUBLIN, Ohio, 30 March 2021OCLC has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to convene a diverse group of experts, practitioners, and community members to determine ways to improve descriptive practices, tools, infrastructure and workflows in libraries and archives. The multi-day virtual convening is part of an eight-month project, Reimagine Descriptive Workflows.

Working in consultation with Shift Collective, a nonprofit consulting group that helps cultural institutions build stronger communities through lasting engagement, along with an advisory group of community leaders, OCLC will:

  • Convene a conversation of community stakeholders about how to address the systemic issues of bias and racial equity within our current collection description infrastructure.
  • Share with member libraries the need to build more inclusive and equitable library collections and to provide description approaches that promote effective representation and discovery of previously neglected or mis-characterized peoples, events, and experiences.
  • Develop a community agenda that will be of great value in clarifying issues for those who do knowledge work in libraries, archives, and museums; identifying priority areas for attention from these institutions; and providing valuable guidance for those national agencies and suppliers.

OCLC occupies a critical place in the bibliographic ecosystem for library technical services and global discovery. OCLC staff and thousands of member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections.

"As a steward of the world's library data, OCLC has an important role to play to help create inclusive descriptions," said Mary Sauer-Games, OCLC Vice President, Global Product Management. "We are honored to work with community partners to examine and address obsolete, discriminatory and harmful language in bibliographic descriptions. This project is a significant step forward to address these issues on a scale that will result in lasting change."

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

OCLC, WorldCat, WorldCat.org and WorldShare are trademarks and/or service marks of OCLC, Inc. Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks and/or service marks of their respective owners.


  • Bob Murphy

    Manager, Media Relations

    O: +1-614-761-5136

Stay connected with OCLC Abstracts

OCLC's digest of news, events, and research

OCLC Abstracts sample issues

Subscribe now