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How To Manage Harmful Content

Managing a Collection Documentation

Members of the Arctos Consortium recognize that we manage historic information that may contain harmful or offensive language.

Arctos Acknowledgment of Harmful Content

This document will provide guidance for those managing data in Arctos for handling harmful or offensive language in both shared and institutional resources.


Please note that this document may use and refer to offensive terms and include images of labels and documents to provide examples.

General Guidelines

Offensive language should not be redacted, or removed from images of collection material, so materials remain searchable and accessible. It can, however, be recorded using quotation marks to identify the offensive nature of the wording. Following traditional transcription guidelines, we suggest the use of square brackets after the offensive language to include contextual information not included on the original label, such as new or currently used place names including Indigenous language spellings if possible. For example, a historical specimen collected from the Rocky Mountain peak near Canmore, Alberta, Canada formerly called “Squaw’s Tit” [Bald Eagle Peak, Anû Kathâ Îpa] would have the updated locality name, in both English and îyârhe Nakodabi (Stoney Nakoda Language).

Shared Resources

Much of the data in Arctos is shared by all of the consortium members. Harmful or offensive language in shared resources should be handled via community agreement in Github issues unless a policy for handling such items exists.

Common Names

Place Names (Specific Locality)

Institutional Resources

Harmful or offensive language in data that is not shared by the members of the consortium should be addressed with annotations to the appropriate catalog record(s).

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