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Alma Resource Management

Working with the Metadata Editor in the Institution and Network Zones. Includes indication and normalization rules.

Change the Subject Project

In 2014, a group of Dartmouth students along with the help of a Dartmouth librarian worked to get the Library of Congress to change subject headings containing the term "illegal aliens." The Dartmouth students and librarian worked with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Library of Congress to change subject headings that contain "illegal aliens" and replace them with subject headings that remove bias and promote inclusion within library catalog records. This project highlights the importance of words and word choices within our library catalogs to either embrace or exclude users. The grassroots effort started by Dartmouth students, with the support of the ALA, to “Change the Subject” has garnered support from libraries across the country. SUNY Library Consortia is among one of a growing number of libraries acknowledging the need for and embracing the "Change the Subject Project."

Historical background: 
In March 2016 the Library of Congress announced their plan to change subject headings containing "illegal aliens" with two new headings: "Noncitizens" and "Unauthorized immigration." Republican lawmakers made several attempts to prevent the Library of Congress from making revisions to subject headings containing "illegal alien." The House proceedings for the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017 contained language arguing against changing "illegal alien" subject headings stating the Library of Congress should retain legal terminology used in United States Code without revision, such as the subject heading “alien", for cataloging and searching purposes. The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act , 2017 passed the House of Representatives containing the provision requiring the Library of Congress to retain the subject heading "illegal alien." The final bill that was approved in Congress on May 5, 2017, H.R.244 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, does not contain language restricting the Library of Congress from changing subject headings containing "illegal alien." In an explanatory statement associated with Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 it outlines the process the Library of Congress must follow before making changes to Library of Congress subject headings. The explanatory statement on page 4033 states the Library of Congress is required to be transparent, get input from stakeholders, and consider terminology used in law, as well as, other appropriate sources before making changes to subject headings. To date the Library of Congress has not to changed subject headings containing “aliens” or “illegal aliens” in their bibliographic records. 

Visit Darmouth's site to watch the "Change the Subject Project" film to learn more.

Other resources related to the "Change the Subject Project:"

SUNY Local Subject Heading Initiative

In January 2020, the SUNY Library Consortia proposed and accepted an initiative to change Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) containing the terms "illegal aliens" and "aliens" to "undocumented immigrants." 

Read the SUNY Library Consortia proposed and accepted initiative here:

SUNY Library Consortia Announcement/Communication

Phased Roll Out of the Local Subject Heading Initiative

In June 2020, the SUNY Library Consortia began implementing the Local Subject Heading Initiative to change Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) from "illegal aliens" and "aliens" to "undocumented immigrants," "immigrants," or "noncitizens." Due to the complexity of this project, the Local Subject Heading Initiative will be rolled out in phases:


Phased Rolled Out Impact


Display Normalization Rules for PrimoVE Display

Phase 1: IMPLEMENTED on 6/19/2020!

PrimoVE "subject" display normalization rules have been changed for MARC fields 600 and 650 to:

  • Display local subject headings in the full records display in PrimoVE, instead of the LOC subject headings in the bibliographic record. 
  • Allow 650 _7 with $2 Change the Subject Project to display once phase 2 and 3 have been implemented
  • Incorporate library customizations with changes to the "subject" display normalization rules 

Searching for resources in PrimoVE with LOC subject headings containing "illegal aliens" and "aliens" will:

  • Still be required to be searched by the LOC authorized subject headings containing "illegal aliens" or "aliens." Note: Due to the Display norm rules, the records will not display LOC authorized subject headings with "illegal aliens" or "aliens."

NOTE: The subject heading "aliens" has been omitted from displaying due to the complexity of discerning which records use "aliens" as a subject heading to reference extraterrestrials or for human beings.  

Display Normalization Rules script is available below:

CDI Records Display in PrimoVE

CDI is the Central Discovery Index that PrimoVE uses to index ebooks and ejournals. This indexing allows eresources to be searched in PrimoVE at the title, chapter, and article level. CDI bibliographic records are not impacted by Alma normalization or PrimoVE display norm rules. These records will continue to display subject headings containing "illegal aliens" and "aliens." 

How to Identify a Record's Source:

  • How to view the Source Record Id, Display CTO and Show PNX
  • CDI Records may have the vendor name as the Source in the full record display. If they have no Source in the full record display, it is safe to assume it is coming from the CDI
    CDI Source

    Source Omitted is a CDI Record
  • IZ, NZ, and CZ records will display Library Catalog as the Source in the full record displayIZ, NZ, and CZ Source


Normalization Rules Applied to Physical Bibliographic Records


Normalization rules will be applied to all existing physical bibliographic records in Alma at both the Institution (IZ) and Network (NZ) Zones and IZ only electronic records that contain LCSH with "illegal aliens" and "aliens." The same normalization rules will be applied to all Import and Integration Profiles that are being used for IZ only physical and electronic bibliographic records and for NZ linked physical bibliographic records.

Local Subject Heading (LSH) Initiative normalization rules in Alma will:

  • Change the second indicator for LCSH containing "illegal aliens" or "aliens" in MARC 650 to "7" 
  • Add $2 Change the Subject Project to MARC 650 _7. $2 Change the Subject Project allows the user to identify the bibliographic records that have been modified by the SUNY LSH Initiative normalization rules in Alma.

IZ only physical bibliographic records and electronic records that contain LCSH with "illegal aliens" or "aliens" will be changed upon import to reflect the Normalized Subject Headings in the chart below. 

Searching for IZ only records will need to be search in PrimoVE using the SUNY LSH in the chart below.

Please note: The term "aliens" has not been impacted by normalization rules due to the inability to distinguish when the term is being use to describe human beings or extraterrestrials. The subject heading "aliens" will use "subject" display normalization rules to omit the LCSH from displaying in the full record view in PrimoVE.

The Local Subject Normalization Rule is available to view below:

The SUNY Normalization Rule for Import and Integration Profiles impacting physical bibliographic records in Alma is available to view below:

Record without the local subject heading normalization rules applied:

Alma Bib Record Display Without Norm Rules Applied

Record with the local subject heading normalization rules applied:

650 Second Indicator 7 with Subfield 2 Change the Subject Project

Display in PrimoVE:

PrimoVE display of with Alma Norm Rules Applied