TRLN Discovery Subject Re-Mapping Program

Whether expecting it or surprised to experience it, users encounter metadata in library systems that offend, exclude, and dehumanize people. The complexities of how metadata displays alongside a particular resource is not easily conveyed as users conduct their research without disrupting their experience. Rectifying the use of these metadata, such as outdated Library of Congress subject headings in library systems, takes time and resources libraries may not have, but with modern practices and more flexible technology comes new opportunities for libraries to create a more inclusive search experience.

Technical Solution

The TRLN Discovery development team created an elegant solution to overlay or remap subject headings identified as problematic by users with preferred terms. They created a simple configuration file to capture the problematic term and the preferred term being mapped to it. When a new term is added to this file, each institution re-processes their records using the subject heading to make the change visible to end users. Some examples of terms currently overlaid include “Illegal aliens” (overlaid with “Undocumented immigrants”), “Slaves” (overlaid with “Enslaved persons”), and “Dirty War, 1976-1983” (overlaid with “Terrorismo de Estado, Argentina, 1976-1983”).
Access the full list of overlaid terms.

Remapping a subject heading does not change the MARC record data or search results. It instead changes subject data that displays to the end user. Additionally, remapped headings must be specified at the whole subdivision level. This requires some repetition in the configuration file, but this also accommodates nuance in the remappings. If a user searches for “illegal aliens”, they will return results using this term; however the subject facet and the item record’s subject will display “Undocumented immigrants”. The remapping only applies to subject headings. If “Illegal aliens” displays elsewhere, such as title, then this information will not be overlaid with “Undocumented immigrants”. The change is subtle for end users in the Blacklight discovery layer, but we think this makes a significant impact in creating a more inclusive and representative search experience for users.

About the Process

The technical mechanism to overlay problematic subject headings is somewhat simple. The process to review and decide whether a term is within scope of the program is more complicated.

Users can submit suggested terms to overlay using this form. The TRLN Discovery Metadata Team reviews, researches, and documents decisions made for each suggested term. Some terms have been extensively discussed in broader communities and we can point to this work when making our recommendations. Some suggestions may require collaboration with the TRLN Metadata Interest Group, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders to determine whether a term should be remapped as part of this program and what is the preferred term. Ultimately, the TRLN Discovery product owners review the recommended terms to remap and if they approve, the terms are added to the configuration file and visible to end users. We believe this multi-step decision and approval process opens up additional feedback channels to multiple stakeholders and attempts to make this process more transparent, while the team continues to iterate.

Suggest a Subject Heading

Have a problematic subject heading to suggest for remapping? Use this form and the TRLN Discovery Metadata Team will review and follow up with your suggestion. For questions about this program, contact

Important Links

Latest News Uncategorized

New TRLN Direct Dashboards

We recently published the first iteration of new dashboards for TRLN Direct to help surface and share information about how much our institutions are lending and borrowing across the consortium.

Currently, these dashboards only include data from OCLC/Relais D2D, but we are working on incorporating data from ILLiad and other sources and hope to publish these soon.

These dashboards were created under the guidance of TRLN’s Resource Sharing Working Group to provide centralized reports for TRLN Direct. They are updated every six months and maintained by TRLN staff.

Have ideas for additional information to include in these dashboards? Please reach out to with any feedback or questions.

Special thanks to Geneva Holliday, Mia Partlow, Maurice Parker, Andrea Loigman, and the entire Resource Sharing Working Group for their feedback and expertise in creating these dashboards.


2020 Annual Meeting Call for Proposals

TRLN is now inviting proposals for presentations and workshops for the 2020 Annual Meeting being held virtually on July 30th and 31st.

Due to COVID-19, the Annual Meeting Steering Committee made the decision to offer the annual meeting virtually over 2 half days. Each day will start with a guest speaker, followed by presentations from colleagues across TRLN.

The deadline to submit a proposal is June 17th.

Use the form at to submit a proposal.

Proposals of up to 150 words should be submitted along with an abbreviated abstract version of 50 words for the program on our website.

Who can present at the annual meeting?

Anyone who works in a TRLN member institution. We welcome proposals of any domain, area of expertise, and library. We also encourage partnering with colleagues to co-present.

What topics should presentations be about?

We welcome presentations about interesting activities at your institution. Do you have a completed, current, or upcoming project that other attendees might want to hear about or replicate? Working groups and interest groups are encouraged to share updates about their projects and accomplishments.

If you are planning on presenting or leading a workshop at another virtual conference later this year, we also encourage you to present during the annual meeting to share your exciting work and to practice presenting during a virtual conference.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Technologies, infrastructure, and/or vendor relations;
  • Collections and resources;
  • Policy, legal, and accessibility issues;
  • Project management, design, or implementation;
  • Assessment;
  • Education and/or professional development; 
  • Partnerships with university presses;
  • Social contexts and ethics/responsibility;
  • Leadership and management; and
  • Implications on our work as a result of COVID-19

How long can presentations be?

Presentations ranging from 5 minute lightning talks, 25 minute presentations, or longer workshops will be considered. Sessions on July 30th and 31st will be grouped into 30 minute blocks, but if you have an idea for a longer workshop, please submit your idea and if selected, TRLN staff can coordinate scheduling this workshop around the same time as the annual meeting.

When will I hear if my proposal has been accepted?

All submissions will be reviewed by the Annual Meeting Steering Committee and selections will be announced by July 1st.

Can I pre-record my presentation?

Yes! If you prefer to pre-record your presentation, TRLN staff can work with you to record your presentation and stream it during a scheduled time in the program for attendees. You can also present live and we expect most will do so, but we want to try and accommodate as many presentation preferences as possible. Regardless of presenting live or pre-recording, there will be a live Q&A with the presenters.

Reach out to if you have any questions!