More on the proposal to replace LCSH “Aliens” and “Illegal aliens”

Janis L. Young of the Policy and Standards Division, Library of Congress, has posted the following to several discussion lists:

In response to requests from constituents who consider the phrase illegal aliens to be pejorative and disappearing from common use, the Policy and Standards Division of the Library of Congress, which maintains Library of Congress Subject Headings, has proposed that the headings Aliens and Illegal aliens both be replaced.

If approved, the heading Aliens will be replaced by Noncitizens, which is currently a Used For (UF) reference to Aliens. Illegal aliens will be replaced by two headings: Noncitizens and Unauthorized immigration. Other headings that include the word aliens or the phrase illegal aliens (e.g., Church work with aliens; Children of illegal aliens) will also be revised.

Proposals to revise Aliens, Illegal aliens, and all of the related headings appear on Tentative List 1606a, which may be accessed at

The Library of Congress is accepting comments from the library community and the general public through July 15, 2016. Because of the high volume of comments that is expected, comments will be accepted only through an online survey, the link to which is available at the top of Tentative List 1606a.

Review of the comments by the Policy and Standards Division will begin after July 15, 2016. Final disposition of the proposals will be announced later this year.


Author: R.A. Stewart

Librarian, poet, sometime musician, father, grandfather, codger; as of November 9, 2016, second-class citizen of a banana republic.

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