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Reparative Description and Digitization at the National Archives


December 19, 2023: NARA updates the Reparative Description Appendix to the Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide with preferred terms suggested by stakeholders.

July 20, 2022: NARA publishes the Reparative Description Appendix to the Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide with new guidelines for reviewing and updating harmful terms in archival descriptions.

April 15, 2022: The Archivist blogs about the recent OCLC report and discusses the work of the Reparative Description and Digitization Working Group in the context of the archival profession.

April 14, 2022: NARA publishes the National Archives and Records Administration Agency Equity Action PlanThis action plan summarizes the near and long-term actions NARA will take to advance equity and expand opportunities for Americans in underserved communities. The plan includes sections on reparative description and digitization. See our Equity Action Plan page for more information.

January 18, 2022: The Archivist blogs about Guiding Principles for Reparative Description

January 10, 2022:  The National Archives publishes Guiding Principles for Reparative Description   

July 23, 2021: The National Archives  publishes the Potentially Harmful Content web page.

July 16, 2021: The Archivist charters the Reparative Description and Digitization Working Group to develop guidance, standards, and processes relating to archival description and equity and to recommend digitization and transcription efforts to records relevant to underserved and underrepresented communities.

June 14, 2021: The National Archives publishes a Harmful Language Alert to advise users that historical records and their descriptions may contain harmful wording.  The Alert was discontinued August 24, 2023.


January 20, 2021: The Administration publishes Executive Order 13985
Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government