Language Used in Records and Descriptions Illinois State Archives

The Illinois State Archives’ mission is to preserve and make accessible the official records of the State of Illinois. The Archives’ Descriptive Inventory, in-house finding aids and online databases provide the public with access to many millions of digital copies of records and descriptions of those records.

The State Archives cannot change an official record that was created by the state. As a result, some of the materials at the Illinois State Archives may reflect outdated, biased, offensive and possibly violent views and opinions. This includes the digital copies of those records that we have on our website.

The Illinois State Archives does create the descriptions of these records that are used in our Descriptive Inventory and in other types of finding aids. Staff is currently conducting an extensive review of all finding aids to remove harmful language and to amplify the voices of historically marginalized communities. In doing so, we are committed to working with staff, members of the public, interested communities, and peer institutions to continually assess and update existing descriptions to ensure that they do not contain language that is harmful or oppressive. We also are committed to establishing standards and practices for description creation to prevent the use of such language in the future.

If, while going through our Descriptive Inventory or other finding aids, you find something you consider offensive or insensitive, please do not hesitate to contact this office and we will handle the matter promptly.

David Joens, Director
Illinois State Archives
Margaret Cross Norton Bldg.
Capitol Complex
Springfield, IL 62756
217-782-3492
217-524-3930 (fax)
djoens@ilsos.gov