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Harmful and Challenging Content in the Miskatonic University Digital Archives

Within the Digital Archives of Miskatonic University, users may come across materials that contain harmful or challenging content, including:

  • Reflections of supremacist ideologies and imperialist views, encompassing racist, sexist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes.

  • Discrimination and exclusion of diverse perspectives on sexuality, gender, ableism, religion, and more.

  • Graphic depictions of historical events such as violent deaths, medical procedures, crimes, post mortem photography, wars/acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other unsettling subjects.

  • Demonstrations of bias and exclusion in the university's collection and digitization policies.


At Miskatonic University, we maintain a commitment to collecting, preserving, and providing materials to our patrons freely and openly, without censorship. As a result, our archives encompass a wide range of materials, including depictions and records of traumatic experiences. Our objective is to strike a balance between preserving historical context and being sensitive to how these materials are presented and perceived by our users.

Describing the Material: Addressing Harmful Terminology

When describing the materials within the Digital Archives, our librarians, cataloguers, and archivists consider the following factors:

  • Language choices: The professionals involved choose the language used, bearing in mind that some descriptions were written years ago and reflect the accepted terminology of their time.

  • Reuse of language: Language provided by the creators or previous owners of the material is often utilized to provide important context. However, it is essential to acknowledge that such language may also contain biases and prejudices.

  • Standardized terms: Our professionals often employ standardized terms, such as the Miskatonic University Subject Headings, to describe the materials. It is worth noting that some of these terms may be outdated, offensive, or insensitive.

  • Representation and control: Historically, communities with limited access and privilege in libraries and archives have had less control over how they are represented and described.

  • Commitment to improvement: Miskatonic University is dedicated to working collaboratively with its staff and patrons to assess and update descriptions that may be harmful.



Efforts to Address the Issue and Enhance User Understanding

Our librarians, cataloguers, and archivists actively engage in the following actions to address the problem and help users gain a better understanding of potentially challenging content:

  • Direct collaboration: Working closely with misrepresented and underrepresented communities to improve the representation and portrayal of their experiences within the archives.

  • Providing context: Informing users about the presence and origins of harmful content, providing necessary contextual information to facilitate comprehension.

  • Revised descriptions: Revising existing descriptions and incorporating more respectful language alternatives. Supplementing standardized terms with additional respectful alternatives or creating new standardized terms.

  • Research and collaboration: Conducting research, attentively listening to patrons' feedback, experimenting with solutions, and sharing findings to develop effective strategies.

  • Evaluating policies: Thoroughly evaluating current collection and digitization policies to identify and rectify exclusionary practices and institutional biases that may favor specific cultures or groups.

  • Commitment to DEIA: Miskatonic University has made an institutional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.



Reporting Harmful Content

Please note that reporting harmful content is specifically applicable to language found within metadata descriptions of items in the Miskatonic University Digital Archives, rather than altering the content of original research materials.

To assist us in addressing potentially harmful language, you can contact us at


Kindly provide the following details:

  • The link to the item within the Digital Archives.

  • Specific instances of language you find.

  • If you have one, suggest an alternative language.

Miskatonic University will evaluate whether to change or remove the terms from item descriptions, taking into consideration potential harm, input from affected communities, accurate preservation of the historical record, professional best practices, and staff resources.

Notice: The Miskatonic University Digital Archives website is currently undergoing updates, and users may encounter errors when using the search function.


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