I can't answer your last question.

But while I share your concerns about this heading, I would think the best approach is probably just to go ahead and apply the heading despite misgivings. The reason being: if Congress ever gets out of our way, and PSD can make the change, there will surely be some effort to update those headings in LC. If you try to come up with some creative workaround right now, your record won't be updated.

Problematic headings are problematic. But my thinking is, the problems need to be solved, as much as possible, on the level of the authority file, not individual records.


Benjamin Abrahamse
Cataloging Coordinator
Acquisitions & Discovery Enhancement
MIT Libraries

From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Liz Adams
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 2:38 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] Alternatives to using "Illegal aliens" subject heading


I recently cataloged a photobook comprised mainly of portraits of undocumented immigrants to the United States. The "correct" Library of Congress subject heading is "Illegal aliens," but I am very conflicted and very hesitant to use it in a record. Given the plans to change the heading and the recent issues around legislation of this and other subject headings, how are other institutions handling works about undocumented immigrants? Are you using the heading as it currently exists? Does anyone know when we can anticipate hearing from SACO on the status of the proposal to change the heading?

Many thanks,


Liz Adams
Special Collections Cataloger
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Duke University
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