Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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 Statement

The African American Studies Librarians Interest Group (AASLIG) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) broadly addresses the research and services associated with identifying, preserving and disseminating information on the study of African American history, culture and life.  Working collaboratively with the Library of Congress Program for Cooperative Cataloging, it has created a committee to provide input and guidance on terminology that accurately reflects the African American experience.  It is critically important that scholars and researchers have relevant accessibility to subject classifications for information and resources in the field.

The funnel project is concentrating on the creation of new subject headings and the changing or updating of old subject headings relating to the African American experience. Through this project participants of the funnel will focus on providing and improving access to African American resources. To date, a variety of headings have been proposed such as: African American---Reparations and African American social reformers. Subject changes have also been proposed and accepted which include changing the heading Afro-American to African American.

Interest in becoming a participant in the funnel project should be addressed to: Tahirah Akbar-Williams (Interim),

Incorporating documents, AFAS/AASLIG Funnel Project History (Word : 14KB)

Please refer to for more information.

SACO Workflow Process


Recommendations for Preservation

  • Materials related to organizational history

a) ALA items- President Notes, AFAS Documents, etc.

b) AASLIG Newsletters

  • Items produced by or about active SACO Chairs/by the SACO Group

a) White papers produced internally

b)  Meeting Notes/Agenda items

c) Recordings

  • Links to various media documents or objects referencing the SACO

  a) PCC Newsletter

b) LOC Cataloging Newsline

  • Scholarly Contributions produced both by members and by others referencing the work of the group.
  • Preserve track record of successful subject Heading Proposals
  • Preserve track record of rejected subject heading proposals and reasons given for rejection.

Links for further clarification to Preservation Recommendation (all of these are materials I found and cobbled together to better understand the history of the SACO African American Funnel and its impact) .

LOC Cataloging Newsline Links:

Validates at least one subject heading change


Origins-Africana Subject Funnel

SACO-Related Articles:

LOC Cataloging Newsline Archive

We will need to search from roughly 2000-2012 to see if there are any other mentions of changes made by the African American Funnel Project.


Dorothy Ann Washington’s Blog

This implies that there were at least three subject changes that the Funnel group implemented, so far I have only been able to validate the last one: Afro-American to African American (2000). 


After some back and forth with Paul Frank, LOC rep. they were able to pull works using the code InWlP-BC, which is proposal submissions keyed into Purdue Black Cultural Center Library. I was able to validate three more submissions under this code. But frankly I doubt the integrity of the search conducted. The email didn’t mention how the search was constructed in terms of year.


ACRL Board of Directors Diversity Taskforce Whitepaper (2007)

Purdue Announcement for the Black Cultural Center Liaison 

Indiana Black Librarians Group

Dorothy Ann Washington Writings:

(see note 6, pg. 4)

(Papers from her time in Uganda-Box 11), International Relations Office

SACO African-American Funnel Group Leadership, 2019-2021


Tahirah Akbar-Williams, MLS, MA

College of Education & African American Studies 

McKeldin Library, 7649 Library Lane

Office # 4235

College Park, MD 20742-7011

Pronouns: she/her/hers



Deborah Tomaras

Metadata and Resource Management Libraria

James A. Cannavino Library

Marist College

3399 North Road

Poughkeepsie, NY 12601




Aaron M. Wilson

Database Editor/Copy Cataloger
Continuing Resources & Database Management | University of Maryland Libraries
2200 McKeldin Library, 649 Library Lane, College Park, MD 20742-7011
pronouns: he, him, his

SACO Position Descriptions

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 (historical, cultural, linguistic, etc.). The person selected to serve in this role would be having direct national level impact on the access and discoverability of African American scholarship and artifacts.

Position Description for Chair: The chair for the SACO African American Funnel Group should have subject knowledge of issues pertinent to the African American experience and current practices within the field of African American Studies. The core of the position deals with the following aspects:

  • Represent the funnel and its interest at the AASLIG (African American Subject Librarians Interest Group) meeting held during ALA midwinter or ALA annual meetings
  • Liaison to various national group of interests including: ALA-AASLIG, BCALA, & ASALH
  • Liaison with various institutions in regards to legacy and other special collections/archives.
  • Establish a flow of transparent communication out to the funnel members
  • Establish a workflow for handling and responding to emails communications and requests received from outside of the group.
  • Consult on questions related to subject headings
  • Develop handouts or other training related documents on an as needed basis.

Position Description of Co-Chair: The co-chair for the SACO African American Funnel Group should have expertise in cataloging, as well as access and experience with Classification web. As a cataloger-this person will be charged with ensuring the completeness of any subject heading proposals put forth by the group. The cataloger will also be tasked with supporting the group in the following ways:

  • Maintaining a complete record and documentation of subject heading proposals and decisions made in regards to those proposals.
  • Prepare annual reports of funnel activity for the PCC Communication Board
  • Liaise with LOC representative on behalf of the group in regards to any internal questions that may arise with procedure or application of the LOC rules for subject headings.
  • When new members are recruited, ensure that they are directed to the proper self-training resources and tools.
  • Consult on questions related to subject headings raised by individuals external to the group.

Position Description for Coordinator: The coordinator is responsible for handling the scheduling of the meetings, sending out agenda items or materials beforehand to prepare for internal discussion. In addition, the coordinator has the role of ensuring the meeting stays on task and that all agenda items are discussed in the planned timeframe.

  • Recruit and maintain an appropriate quorum of Funnel Members
  • Schedule and host regular meetings with Funnel Members
  • Maintain online presence of group (ACRL Libguide, LOC webpage)
  • Ensure that any scholarship related to the work of the African American funnel group is properly acknowledged and linked onto public facing sites.