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African American Studies Librarians Interest Group(AASLIG): SACO African American Funnel Project

Libguide will serve as a website for the activities and projects of the AASLIG, as well as current information in African American Studies

Mission & Purpose

What is our mission?

The African American Subject Funnel Project creates and updates subject headings related to African American culture and history.

The Funnel promotes the aims of the African American Studies Librarians Interest Group (AASLIG) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). These aims are to support research and services associated with identifying, preserving and disseminating information on the study of African American life.

What is our purpose?

The Funnel works as part of the Library of Congress Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) to provide input and guidance on terminology that accurately reflects the African American experience. For a more extensive overview of the group's mission and values please consult the Funnel Bylaws.

Contact Us!

Current Funnel leadership:

Cataloging Chair, Michelle Cronquist, Special Collections Cataloger, UNC Chapel Hill 

Subject Chair, Erica Bruchko, African American Studies and US History Librarian, Emory University

Coordinator, Kaylin Blount, Metadata Project Librarian, University of Pennsylvania

Past Leadership, 2017-2023

Cataloging Co-Chair, 2021-2023, Staci Ross, Cataloging/ Metadata Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Coordinator, 2022-2023, Catrina Davis, Resource Description Specialist, Sr., Emory University

Chair (Interim), 2020-2021, Tahirah Akbar-Williams, MLS, MA (she/her/hers), University of Maryland, College Park

Co-Chair, 2020-2021, Deborah Tomaras (she/her/hers), Metadata and Resource Management Librarian, Marist College

Chair, 2017-2019, Gemmicka Piper, PhD, Humanities Librarian, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Membership & Bylaws

Who can join the African American Subject Funnel?

Librarians, library staff, and students with interest or expertise (such as cataloging experience, work with relevant materials, or a background in the subject area, etc.) are invited to join. Individuals with all levels of expertise are encouraged to join, as long as they have an interest in our work. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Funnel coordinator Kaylin Blount.

Where can I get more information? 

The African American Subject Funnel Project Bylaws cover the following aspects of group governance: the group's object, relationship to AASLIG, membership and dues, officers, nominations, meetings, elections, committees, vacancies and amendment of the bylaws. 

SACO Funnels

What is a Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO) Funnel?

A group of librarians who join together to propose new or updated subject authority records for inclusion in the Library of Congress Subject Headings database.

Members of SACO Funnels, like the African American Subject Funnel, have expertise or a shared interest in a particular subject or region. SACO funnels are part of the larger Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC).

Importance of SACO Funnel: The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) established individual groups composed of catalogers and subject specialist, called funnels, whose primary goal is the creation of new subject headings for areas and ethnicities of particular interest. The Funnels represent the Library of Congress’s attempt to bring diversity to the world of cataloging. Individuals serving on a funnel group generate and consult on the creation of new subject headings relative to their area of focus. In this case, the African American Funnel group works to create new or modify existing subject headings pertinent to the African American experience having direct national level impact on the access and discoverability of African American scholarship and artifacts.

Recent Approved Proposals

Selected New Headings Added

  • Atlanta Race Massacre, Atlanta, Ga., 1906
  • Storefront churches
  • Historically Black colleges and universities
  • Environmental racism
  • Great Migration, ca. 1914-ca. 1970
  • Middle Passage
  • Transatlantic slave trade
  • Slave auctions
  • Slave marriage
  • Slave markets
  • African American barbershops
  • Anti-lynching movements
  • Night riders
  • Night riding (Racial violence)
  • Racism against Black people
  • Black wall streets
  • Blackface

Changed Headings

  • Slaves → Enslaved persons 
  • Blacks → Black people

See this full list of proposals submitted by the Funnel since 2018.

Training Documents


AASLIG Midwinter Meeting (presentation on the Funnel, February 2, 2024)

Perspectives from SACO Funnel Coordinators (panel discussion at Metadata Justice in Oklahoma Libraries & Archives Symposium, July 20, 2023)

Reparative Description Through LCSH Improvement (presentation at SAA Controlled Vocabularies in Practice webinar, April 12, 2023)

Collaboration, Successes, and Challenges in the African American SACO Funnel (OCLC Cataloging Community Meeting, June 3, 2022)

Controlled Vocabularies and You: A Panel Discussion on Addressing/Redressing Terminologies Through New and Existing Vocabularies (RBMS webinar, April 29, 2022)

Black Subject Headings in LCSH: Successes and Challenges of the African American Subject Funnel Project (Core webinar, July 28, 2021)

Decolonizing the Catalog: Anti-Racist Description Practices from Authority Records to Discovery Layers (RUSA webinar, July 7, 2021)