Monthly Archives: April 2016

Aliens will become Noncitizens (LCSH)

All over the world people leave their homes due to politics, war or economical problems.  Library of Congress has revised the subject headings Aliens and Illegal aliens. The message below is from the American Library Association (ALA), Cataloging and Metadata Management Section (CaMMS), Subject Analysis Committee (SAC).

From: [] On Behalf Of Young, Janis
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2016 8:51 AM
To: pcclist;;; TGMED
Subject: [camms-sac] LC to cancel subject heading “Illegal aliens”

[This message has been distributed to multiple groups, please excuse any duplication.  Feel free to forward it to any other interested groups or individuals.]

In response to constituent requests, the Policy and Standards Division of the Library of Congress, which maintains Library of Congress Subject Headings, has investigated the possibility of cancelling or revising the heading Illegal aliens. PSD also explored the possibility of revising the broader term Aliens. It concluded that the meaning of Aliens is often misunderstood and should be revised to Noncitizens, and that the phrase illegal aliens has become pejorative. The heading Illegal aliens will therefore be cancelled and replaced by two headings, Noncitizens and Unauthorized immigration, which may be assigned together to describe resources about people who illegally reside in a country.

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. All of the revisions will appear on a Tentative List and be approved no earlier than May 2016; the revision of existing bibliographic records will commence shortly thereafter.

For background on the history and purpose of the headings Aliens and Illegal aliens, the rationale for the revisions to LCSH, and a description of the scope of the project, please see the full announcement on the LC website at

Questions or comments on these revisions may be directed to Libby Dechman ( in the Policy and Standards Division.

Janis L. Young

Policy and Standards Division

Library of Congress