Conscious Editing Initiative

word cloud of terms related to the Conscious Editing Initiative: North, Carr, address, white, Durham, South, netgo, race, example, lynching, rights, protection, slavery, soldiers, addresses, monuments, Sam, War, Violence, dedication, Cabin

The Special Collections Technical Services unit launched the Conscious Editing initiative to explore issues of past use of marginalizing language in descriptive practices, focused primarily on archival description but with an interest in parallel conversations around Library of Congress subject headings.

The Conscious Editing Steering Committee will support the work of Special Collections Technical Services in regards to moving forward guidelines and best practices for remediating legacy description of materials held by the Wilson Special Collections Library.

The committee will develop a principles statement and style guide for reparative description and explore connection points for conscious description and its impact on curatorial, reference, and teaching practices. While this work focuses on legacy descriptions, the committee may also engage with new special collections intake workflows to align descriptive practices for new materials with this remediation work.

This is a steering committee instead of a task team to support what will be ongoing work. Special Collections Technical Services has led this work and will continue to carry it out, and the goal of the committee is to engage this work with other functional and curatorial work across Wilson Library. The committee will expand not just the conversation but the responsibility and engagement beyond technical services. It will define and help achieve desired outcomes, advise and support technical services, and help communicate with audiences within the larger Libraries.

Committee membership

  • Meaghan Alston
  • Michelle Cronquist
  • Monica Figueroa
  • Laura Hart, Co-Chair
  • Dawne Lucas
  • Sonoe Nakasone, Co-Chair
  • Rachel Reynolds
  • Aaron Smithers
  • Kimber Thomas

Past members

  • Jennifer Coggins
  • Jackie Dean
  • Tierra Thomas


Dean, J. “Conscious Editing of Archival Description at UNC-Chapel Hill.” Journal of the Society for North Carolina Archivists 16 (2019): 41-55.

Hart, L. “Conscious Language for a Jim Crow Archive.” Carolina Digital Repository, 9 April 2020. 

Thomas, T. (2020). A Case Study of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library Conscious Editing Steering Committee.