• Description

OCLC, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, sponsored the Reimagine Descriptive Workflows project to better understand and address harm caused by cultural institutions' collection descriptions.

The Reimagine Descriptive Workflows project convened a group of experts, practitioners, and community members to determine ways of improving descriptive practices, tools, infrastructure, and workflows in libraries and archives. The result, this community agenda, is offered to the broad library and archives community of practice. The agenda draws together insights from the convening, related research, and operational work that is ongoing in the field. All institutions hold power to make meaningful changes in this space, and all share collective responsibility.  

The agenda is constructed to instruct and chart a path toward reparative and inclusive description. The agenda is divided into two distinct parts.

  • The first part provides contextual information regarding the project, the convening, and the methods used to create this agenda. It also frames the historical, local, and workflow challenges and tensions to consider when approaching inclusive and reparative metadata work.
  • The second part offers a framework of guidance that suggests actions and exercises that can help frame institutions' local priorities and areas for change, and also provides examples to inspire local work.

OCLC, as an organization that plays a significant role in the stewardship of library metadata, is very pleased to be able to facilitate the production of this community agenda. The agenda and its recommendations will also be an important guide for OCLC as it charts its own way forward. The work of confronting and addressing harmful description practice is not easy, and we are grateful for community contributions that have informed and shaped this project and publication.

Reimagine Descriptive Workflows: A Community-informed Agenda for Reparative and Inclusive Descriptive Practice