This statement is intended to provide context on the language and terminology that can be found throughout this resource.

Editorial decisions relating to Life at Sea have been made with great care, consideration, and sensitivity. As such, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is embedded in everything AM does. You can learn more about AM policies on Diversity and Representation.

Every effort has been taken to preserve the historic authenticity of the documents included in this collection. Due to the age and nature of this material, some items may reflect outdated, biased, and offensive views. With this in mind, terminology that would no longer be deemed acceptable may be found within the digitised sources. This includes offensive language and stereotypes directed towards underrepresented communities. It may also include upsetting descriptions – and occasionally images – of graphic violence, which have been preserved for their historical significance. 

As part of AM's commitment to ensuring the discoverability of primary sources within our collections, we are grateful to receive metadata from source archives which is then supplemented and enhanced by our editorial team. Please note, in some instances, metadata provided by the archive may have been created many years ago. AM may retain, replace or contextualise this metadata. We acknowledge that historic cataloguing processes may privilege the dominant narrative and undertake the following processes to ensure the metadata we publish is appropriate: 

  • Our editorial teams spend time conducting research and consulting with our expert editorial boards on how best to represent and describe the communities or marginalised groups who are present in our collections.
  • Where possible, we consult individuals from communities who are discussed within our collections to ensure they are described in their preferred terms.
  • We aim to have open conversations with archivists and scholars to understand more about how sources have been collected, stored, described and used for research.
  • Where primary sources contain biased or offensive views, we commit to providing searching guides and contextual materials – such as essays, case studies, interviews, and exhibitions – to help researchers find hidden voices where historic cataloguing practices may have obscured them. 

We may sometimes retain outdated terminology if it provides additional historical value to our metadata, for example in the title of a source or the name of an organisation. If such terms are retained within description fields, we will clearly indicate that this is a historical or contemporaneous term using quotation marks or square brackets. We welcome feedback on the language used in our sites and will use this feedback to implement specific changes and shape our use of language in future.

We believe that technology can play a positive role in redressing the imbalance of representation in historic materials such as these. Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software have been applied to these documents, enabling scholars to search the original text of the historic sources freely. The ability to search in this way can improve the discoverability of underrepresented narratives and help minimise historic or unintentional biases that could be present within metadata. When searching for marginalised groups or peoples within these sources, scholars should consider contemporaneous terms that may have been used to describe such groups in nineteenth and early twentieth century society. To find out more about how best to optimise and filter your results, visit the Searching Guide

If you are interested in learning more about the editorial considerations that shaped the list of sources available in Life at Sea, please read the Selection Criteria.

We are committed to continually improving our editorial processes and welcome feedback on diversity and representation within our products. To contact us, please email