TRLN Discovery Subject Remapping

In an effort to improve the subject terms used in TRLN’s discovery layer to better represent diverse populations, and to change existing subject terms that may be exclusionary or divisive, the Metadata Team is collecting suggestions to overlay existing problematic subject headings with alternative vocabulary terms.

TRLN has the ability to overlay these problematic subject headings in our shared discovery layer. Some examples of terms that have already been overlaid include “Illegal aliens” (overlaid with “Undocumented immigrants”) and “Poor” (overlaid with “Poor people”). Access the full list of overlaid terms.

Remapping a subject heading does not change the MARC record data or search results, but rather 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”.

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, but 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.

For questions about this program, contact metadata@trln.org.