Some material in the collection and the language that describes them may be harmful.
Items in the National Library of Scotland's collections range from rare historical documents to online journals, covering every subject.
When using our catalogues, collections, and online resources you may encounter text, images, film or sound clips which include outdated, discriminatory, or harmful opinions or portrayals.
These may relate to:
- Race and ethnicity
- Sexual orientation
- Religious belief
- Other areas of cultural sensitivity, such as contested geographical references.
Describing and interpreting the collections
At the Library we have a responsibility to describe, interpret, and present the collections in ways that make them useful to a wide variety of people. It is also important for us to be welcoming, inclusive and reflective of contemporary society, and language is central to this.
We want to ensure that we describe and interpret material in a way that is accurate, respectful, and responsive to the people who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage.
To do this, we are reviewing our descriptive content, including catalogue records, exhibition panels, articles, blogs and web content.
While we can change the way we interpret and present the collections, we also believe all items have research value. So we are also careful not to censor or erase any part of the original material, no matter how problematic.
Instead we want to make sure that people are aware of the nature of this content before they see it.
How you can be involved
We need your help. We have millions of items in our collections and it will take us a long time to go through all the content that describes them.
We would love it if you were able to help us.
If you discover any harmful or discriminatory language in any of our descriptive content at the National Library of Scotland, please use our online enquiry service to tell us.
We value your feedback.