Aliens Belong in Space

Update 2016-04-13

I added the headings which will be replacing the older headings below each of the older headings


I don’t mean to say that I don’t welcome visitors from other planets to Earth. If you’re out there, come say hello, we’ll probably kill you, but imagine the political circus!

Okay anyway — as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Library of Congress has issued a statement that they’ll be changing ‘Illegal aliens’ as a subject heading. Text of the full statement.

While the usage of ‘illegal’ was the main focus of the push to change the heading, (see for instance ‘Drop the I Word‘ from Race Forward, the changes announced by LC are actually much farther reaching than that.

  • ‘Aliens’ will be replaced by ‘Noncitizens’
  • ‘Illegal aliens’ will be replaced by ‘Noncitizens’ and ‘Unauthorized immigration’

As part of this, every instance of ‘Aliens’ (in the immigrant sense, not in the ET sense) will be changed to ‘Noncitizens’. (Edit — Tina has informed me (and as a primary figure on this change, she’d know! that this will not be a 1-to-1 replacement, ‘Alien’ to ‘Noncitizen’, phrase headings may vary, stay tuned) For those of you whose headings will update as a cascade when LCSH changes (is that anyone? is that possible? (edit — I’ve been informed by Violet Fox and Jessica, that it is indeed possible!) — great you’re all set. But for the rest of us, there are a lot of headings with the term ‘Alien’ that will need to be updated manually.

I’ve talked before about manual updating of headings before — I’ve been exporting records from Alma as MARCXML, and then using XSLT to target the exact heading changes. This time around though, I want to explore MarcEdit’s tools for replacing headings.

So to save you the trouble, here are all the headings you’ll have to change:


Alien criminals

Noncitizen criminals


Alien detention centers

Noncitizen detention centers








Aliens in art

Noncitizens in art


Aliens in literature

Noncitizens in literature

Aliens in mass media

Noncitizens in mass media


Aliens in motion pictures

Noncitizens in motion pictures


Aliens (Greek law)

Noncitizens (Greek law)


Aliens (Islamic law)

Noncitizens (Islamic law)


Aliens (Jewish law)

Noncitizens (Jewish law)


Aliens (Roman law)

Noncitizens (Roman law)


Children of illegal aliens

Children of noncitizens

Unauthorized immigration


Church work with aliens

Church work with noncitizens


Illegal aliens


Unauthorized immigration


Illegal alien children

Noncitizen children

Unauthorized immigration


Illegal aliens in literature

Noncitizens in literature

Unauthorized immigration in literature


—Officials and employees, Alien


Women illegal aliens

Women noncitizens

Unauthorized immigration


False positives to watch out for either because they’re referring to Extraterrestrials, or they’re a proper-name that isn’t going to be updated:

Alien abduction

Alien abduction in literature

Alien and Sedition laws, 1798

Alien films

Alien plants

Human-alien encounters

Human-alien encounters in literature

One thought on “Aliens Belong in Space

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s