Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Archives

Our Commitment to Immediate and Long-Term Action

Thank you for visiting the Woodson Research Center website. In our archival organization, we strive to describe all resources using anti-racist, inclusive, and conscious description; however, we also acknowledge the growing awareness among cultural institutions that our descriptive practices can reinforce bias and exclusion. We recognize that we are often describing communities we are not part of, and many of these communities are historically marginalized and underrepresented in the archives. 

Woodson Research Center embraces our responsibility to describe the collections and their creators respectfully, carefully, and accurately. Staff are implementing practices to reexamine the existing finding aids and collections in recognition of the inherently oppressive and discriminatory nature of many archival institutions and record-keeping practices. Our team will work to identify instances of outdated, harmful, and/or offensive language and create solutions that extend the reach and inclusiveness of those archives.

Our action items include reviewing the language in our archival collection guides and subject headings, as well as analyzing and improving our book collection for representation of marginalized voices. Our Statement on Harmful Content in Archival Description can be found here.

Reparative archival description is iterative work, and we anticipate that descriptive language practice and values will continue to evolve over time. We also recognize that we may sometimes fail and are committed to a process of continual reflection and improvement. If you have knowledge about a particular collection or group, or if you encounter language in our collections that you find offensive or harmful, please contact us so that we can learn and adjust our practices.

Please contact Woodson staff with suggestions, feedback, and questions about our work and our archival description at woodson@rice.edu or 713-348-2586.