Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives


OCLC Research is convening community conversations around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the library field. EDI cuts across many areas of librarianship from staffing to collections and beyond. We hope to support libraries as they work through these issues and are working on a number of initiatives in that effort.

Current Work

Towards respectful and inclusive description

A summary of interviews with librarians about the difficulty of and barriers to cataloging topics relating to Indigenous peoples in respectful ways. Interviewees characterized the harms that arise from the current situation, and also suggested potential solutions.

Digital stewardship training courses

OCLC’s WebJunction, in partnership with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, is creating a series of 10 free online courses for staff at tribal archives, libraries, museums (TALMs), and small public libraries on digital stewardship and community-centered collaborative curation of cultural collections.

The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance: overview and Australian activities

The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance focus on appropriate use and reuse of Indigenous data. This blog post summarizes a webinar co-hosted by National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA) and the OCLC Research Library Partnership. Panelists shared updates and examples of their work, as well as lessons they’ve learned.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the OCLC Research Library Partnership Survey

In 2017, the OCLC Research Library Partnership (RLP) conducted a survey to explore if and how our 150 Partner institutions are modifying library and archival collections, practices, and services through the lens of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Our objective was to capture a snapshot of efforts across the Partnership to inform next steps, reveal possible directions to explore, and serve as a starting point for further discussions and action regarding EDI in the library field.

Read all about the survey and summary results.

Training Resources

WebJunction offers free webinars, trainings, and resources to help library staff create a welcoming environment that represents their communities’ needs around access, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Distinguished Seminar Series

OCLC Research has hosted the Distinguished Seminar Series since 1978, and beginning in 2016, the series began a focus on EDI issues. Here are the most recent presentations.

For the Greater (Not) Good (Enough): Open Access and Information Privilege

Char Booth addresses the concept that open access has had a huge impact on publishing and scholarly communication, yet who you are, what you earn, and how you research still create serious barriers to information availability.

We Have Never Been Neutral: Search, Discovery, and the Politics of Access

Dr. Kimberly Christen addresses the concept that library and archive practices are neutral and non-biased, trace the often violent histories of collecting and the construction of the public domain, unpack their connections to the foundations of libraries and archives, and open a space to provide a framework for ethical engagements and reciprocal practices through culturally responsive tools and engagements.

Welcome to the Library: Success of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

In this presentation, Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian at the University of Delaware, reviewes the work of the ALA Task Force for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which he co-chaired, and also examines the diversity and inclusion efforts at several libraries.

Wikipedia’s gender gap, and what would Hari Seldon do about it?

Distinguished Seminar Series featuring Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, Women Writers Project.

Why so Few? The Underrepresentation of Women in Technology and Software Development

Sandy Payette, founding CEO of DuraSpace, discusses the alarming gender disparity in computing as a cultural issue in the areas of technology and software development.

View the full series.

OCLC Research Library Partnership Webinars

In addition to the Distinguished Seminar Series, the OCLC Research Library Partnership hosts a Works-in-Progress webinar series. Recent webinars that involve EDI include:

Works in Progress Webinar: Umbra Search African American History

Learn about an effort lead by University of Minnesota to facilitate access to African American history through a website and search widget; digitization of over 500,000 items; and workshops around the country about access to culturally diverse collections.

This Wasn’t for You Yesterday, but It Will Be Tomorrow—Digitization Policy to Counteract Histories of Exclusion

This webinar explores the intersection of digitization policy and anti-racist action, using LSU Libraries’ experience as a lens to explore the state of the field.

Works in Progress Webinar: Decolonizing Descriptions: Finding, Naming and Changing the Relationship between Indigenous People, Libraries and Archives

This webinar examines how two different organizations—the Association for Manitoba Archives and the University of Alberta Libraries—began the processes of examining subject headings and classification schemes as they relate to Indigenous people.

Works in Progress Webinar: Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Work in the MIT Libraries’ Collections Directorate

This webinar explores how MIT Libraries have implemented the recommendations of its Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Task Force, with a focus on the work of the Scholarly Communication and Collections Strategy department.

Works in Progress Webinar: Dynamics of change—continuing the conversation on library naming, finding, and relationship-building with Indigenous peoples

Learn about how the University of Toronto Libraries is reckoning with both cultural change and the development of culturally appropriate metadata on a system-wide scale.

Works in Progress Webinar: Operationalizing the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance

What are the CARE Principles? Learn how they work to address the historical legacy of data inequities that impact Indigenous Peoples. Presenters will also discuss how the CARE Principles promote a broader understanding of the FAIR Principles when applied to Indigenous data and collections.


Explore equity and access resources on WebJunction.


As we continue to expand our efforts, we will add them here.


Early in our work, we consulted the definitions in the American Library Association’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:

“Equity” takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups.

“Diversity” can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual.

“Inclusion” means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.