Library of Congress
Subject Headings
Lecture 1
Purpose of Subject Headings
• Provide additional access to the
work via the subject content
Growing petunias in Poughkeepsie
• Bring together in the catalog
items on the same subject using
the same terminology
Cyberterrorism, electronic warfare…
• Provide a formal description of
the subject content of any
bibliographic unit in the most
precise terms possible Guppies
Cataloging a book on Koi
245 04 |a The essential book of koi /
…
650 _0 |a Koi.
Subject
heading
Koi
Subject
heading:
Koi
Title
Essential book of koi
Koi
Complete introduction
to koi and garden
pools
Koi
Professional's book of
koi
Specificity of heading
245 04 |a The essential
book of koi /
…
650 _0 |a Koi.
650 _0 |a Fishes.
Subject heading Title
Fishes
Advances in fish research
Fishes
Genshoku gyorui daizukan = Illustrated
fishes of the world in colour
Indexing
The process of analyzing a
bibliographic entity and
creating entries for it,
especially subject entries, in
an index.
Subject cataloging – two
main steps
1) Conceptual analysis - decide
what the book is about
2) Translation - conversion of the
conceptual analysis into a
particular set of authorized
terms
Lists of authorized terms
• Library of Congress Subject
Headings (LCSH)
• Subject headings for children
(used in conjunction with LCSH)
• Sears List of Subject Headings
• Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
Controlled vocabulary
Books
Authorized
Terms
Alligators
Asparagus
Bananas
Bears
Corn
Problem: Ambiguity
Books
Term
?
Faults
Specify single meaning per
term
Books
Authorized
term
Faults (Geology)
Problem: Synonyms
Books on UFOs
Authors’ Terms
Flying saucers
Unidentified
flying objects
Alien
spacecraft
Single authorized term per
subject
Books
Authorized
term
Unidentified
flying objects
Flying saucers
See Unidentified
flying objects
Controlled vocabulary (1)
• Restricted to authorized
terms
• Increases precision — fewer
"false drops"
• Out-performs keyword
searches
Controlled vocabulary (2)
• Expensive — requires human
knowledge
Controlled vocabulary (3)
• Implemented in two ways:
– Pre-coordinate indexing
– Post-coordinate indexing
Pre-coordinate subject
heading
String built at time of indexing using
the rules of the indexing language
Examples:
Railroads—Right of way—Massachusetts
Children as inventors
Post-coordinate descriptors
Terms put together at time of retrieval
Railroads
AND
Right of way
AND
Massachusetts
Children
AND
Inventors
Railroads Right of
way
Massachusetts
Pre-Coordinate Indexing (1)
• Indexing using terms that are chosen
and coordinated at the time of
indexing
• Usually a person trained in indexing
assigns the terms
• Can be one term or a combination of
terms but they are pre-determined
(i.e., they are “authority controlled”)
Pre-Coordinate Indexing (2)
• Older; associated with books
• Associated with card catalogs
• Usually referred to as subject
headings
• Examples:
–Children as air pilots
–Humor in education
Advantages of Pre-Coordinate
Indexing (1)
• Consistency - we all use the
same terms to mean the same
things
• More precise - we can obtain
things specifically about our
topic
Advantages of Pre-Coordinate
Indexing (2)
• Prevents false drops - because the
phrase has been constructed in a
manner that has a specific meaning
Children as inventors would obtain
works dealing with children in the
role of inventors rather than
inventors creating objects for
children
Disadvantages of Pre-coordinate
Indexing (1)
• Assumes that users know the
indexing language--both its
vocabulary and syntax.
• Everyone has to use the same term;
if I don't know the predetermined
term or if I have a different
perception of the same thing then I
may not find the item.
Disadvantages of Pre-coordinate
Indexing (2)
• Some systems will not allow user to
search on subordinate term
For example, if you have:
Seeds—Cleaning—Equipment and
supplies
The system may not allow you to search on
equipment and supplies and find this
subject heading
Searching for subject heading
France—History—Revolution, 1789-1799—
Art and the Revolution—Catalogs.
Searching for subject heading
France—History—Revolution, 1789-1799—
Art and the Revolution—Catalogs.
Searching for subject heading
France—History—Revolution, 1789-1799—
Art and the Revolution—Catalogs.
Searching for subject heading
France—History—Revolution, 1789-1799—
Art and the Revolution—Catalogs.
Searching for subject heading
France—History—Revolution, 1789-1799—
Art and the Revolution—Catalogs.
Searching for subject heading
France—History—Revolution, 1789-1799—
Art and the Revolution—Catalogs.
Post-Coordinate Indexing (1)
• Coordination takes place at
time of retrieval
• Example would be ERIC
descriptors
• Newer; associated with
documents
Eric descriptors
Profiles; Cognitive Ability; Gifted; Cognitive
Development; Bilingualism; Monolingualism;
Socioeconomic Status; Quasiexperimental Design;
Children; Hispanic Americans;
Measures (Individuals); Cultural Influences
Post-Coordinate Indexing (2)
• Associated with computers and
Boolean logic
• Usually referred to as descriptors
• Examples:
– Children
– Gifted
– Foreign countries
Gifted children in China
gifted children china
Gifted children in China
Gifted children—China
Gifted children—China—Anecdotes
Gifted children—China—Biography
Gifted children in China
Gifted children in China
Gifted children in China
gifted
children
china
Gifted children in China
No results were found.
Gifted children in China
gifted
children
foreign countries
Gifted children in China
97
Gifted children in China
Intelligence, Gifted, Brain, Children,
Comparative Analysis, Foreign Countries
Advantages of Postcoordinated Indexing
• Allowed the freedom to
combine authorized terms
that are relevant
• Can do Boolean logic
Disadvantage of PostCoordinated Indexing
• Lack of precision: Few items really
can be described by a single descriptor;
most searches involve Boolean logic,
truncation, etc. These techniques, while
powerful, result in obtaining things we
don't want (e.g., children AND inventors
will retrieve items about people who
invent things for children as well as
children as inventors).
In general…
Post-coordinated indexing increases
recall (retrieves more items) but
decreases precision. If both the
indexer and the searcher know the
indexing language, and both do their
jobs well, then pre-coordinate indexing
will do as well as or better than postcoordinate indexing.
Cutter's Rules for a
Dictionary Catalog (1)
Published 1904
• The reader as focus:
Use terms that the user uses
Housefly
Musca domestica
Cutter's Rules for a
Dictionary Catalog (2)
Published 1904
• Unity
Objective is to unite all the books about
a specific subject under one heading
Cutter's Rules for a
Dictionary Catalog (3)
• Usage
Common usage (determined by
literary mandate)
What happened in Hawai`i in 1893?
Old term: Hawaii—History—Revolution of 1893
New term: Hawaii—History—Overthrow of the
monarchy, 1893
Cutter's Rules for a
Dictionary Catalog (4)
• Specificity
The terms should be as specific
as possible (e.g. Calico cats)
In applying headings, rather than
using broader subject heading
use 2 specific headings if apply
Rule of 3: If more than 3 related
subject headings use the broader
term (e.g., 4 dog breeds)
Library of Congress Subject
Headings
• Established ~1898*
• Adopted by many libraries around the
world
• Now published annually
• Now five volumes
• Referred to as LCSH or “The Big Red
Books”
• Subject authority records available
online
*or 1902 or 1909
Types of LCSH headings
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Single nouns
Two word headings
Adjectival headings
Conjunctive headings
Prepositional headings
Glossed headings
Proper nouns
Authorized terms
Authorized terms are in
BOLD print
Authorized terms in bold
Aztec dance
Aztec drama
USE Nahuatl drama
Aztec Eagle, Mexican order of the
USE Orden Mexicana del Aguila
Azteca
Aztec ethics
authorized
terms
Headings — Nouns
• Concepts — usually singular
Love
Viscosity
Bereavement
• Objects — usually plural
Birds
Bookmobiles
Korean-Japanese dictionary
Korean-Japanese dictionary
Title:
Chosŏnŏ sajŏn
Subject(s): Korean language
Dictionaries Japanese.
Japanese language
Dictionaries Korean.
Headings — Nouns (cont'd)
• Exceptions to the singular/plural
generalization
Bibliography
• Movement toward singular nouns
• Authorized terms in BOLD print
New terms
Cyberspace (May Subd Geog)
BT Space and time
RT Computers
Telematics
— Religious aspects
— — Buddhism, [Christianity, etc.]
Cyberterrorism (May Subd Geog)
Here are entered works on attacks
or threats of attack against any
portion of an information
infrastructure.
Library of Congress. Subject
Authority Cooperative Program
Two word headings
• Adjective & noun
• Normal word order (current
policy)
Chariot racing
• Inverted form — used to bring
noun into initial position
Charities, Medical
Inverted heading
Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861
Adjectival headings (1)
• Common adjective
Dental records
• Ethnic, national, or geographic
adjective
African American librarians
• Participial (verb form used as
adjective) modifiers
Applied anthropology
Adjectival headings (2)
• Common noun used as a
modifier
Household pests
• Proper noun used as modifier
Disney characters
Conjunctive phrase
headings (1)
• Two or more nouns connected by
and or ending with etc.
• Established to describe a
relationship
Conjunctive phrase
headings (2)
• May include similar elements
Wit and humor
• May be opposites
Right and wrong
Prepositional phrase
headings
• Express relationships
Art in education
• Inverted (no longer added)
Plants, Effect of alcohol on
(New term: Plants—Effect of
alcohol on)
Prepositional phrase heading
examples
• against
Offenses against property
• as
Alfalfa as feed
• for
Sports for children
• of
Illustration of books
• to
Ceramic to metal bonding
Glossed headings
• Also called parenthetical qualifiers
• Used to reduce ambiguity, clarify
identical terms
Annuals (plants)
Bear (Fictitious character : Henson)
COGNAC (Computer)
UF Combined geometric-network
analog computer (Computer)
Headings — Proper nouns
• Any proper name can be used as a
subject heading
• Not all will appear in LCSH
• Correct form in LC's Name
Authority File (NAF)
• Name established in accordance
with LC's interpretation of AACR2R
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Gandhi family
Components of entry
• Heading
• Subdivision for heading
• Syndetic information
• Class numbers
• Scope notes
Main terms
Peabody picture vocabulary test
[BF432.5.P42]
BT Intelligence tests
Psychological test for children
Vocabulary tests
Peabodys (Awards)
USE Peabody Awards
Peace
Use references
Direct user from unauthorized heading
to authorized heading
Pacifists, African American
USE African American pacifists
Use-for references
See-from reference. UF term should
point to authorized term.
Unidentified flying objects
[TL789-TL789.6]
UF Flying saucers [Former heading]
Saucers, Flying
UFO phenomena
UFOlogy
UFOs
MARC authority record for
Unidentified flying objects
150__ |a Unidentified flying objects
450__ |a Flying saucers
450__ |a Saucers, Flying
450__ |a UFO phenomena
450__ |a UFOlogy
450__ |a UFOs
USE and UF references
Reciprocal
Ahimsā
.
UF Non-harming (Ethics)
Non-injury (Ethics)
Non-harming (Ethics)
USE Ahimsā
.
NT - Narrower terms
Cereal products (May Subd Geog)
[TP434-TP435]
UF Grain products
BT Seed products
NT Alimentary paste products
Cereal-soy blends
Cereals, Prepared
Enriched cereal products
…
Narrower and broader terms
Fairies
BT Folklore
NT Changelings
Elves
Fairy poetry
Gnomes
…
Elves
BT Fairies
RT - Related terms
Stars
UF Sedereal system
BT Galaxies
RT Circumstellar matter
SA names of individual stars, e.g.
Sirius; and headings beginning
with the word Stellar
NT Alpha Centauri
…
Related terms - reciprocal
Librarians
BT Information scientists
Library employees
RT Libraries
NT Acquisitions librarians
…
Libraries
BT Documentation
Public institutions
RT Librarians
…
Syndetic structure
BT
RT
RT
Term
RT
RT
NT
Topical subdivisions
Decoration and ornament (May Subd Geog)
...
— Chippendale style
…
— Queen Anne style
…
Headings appear in card catalog as:
Decoration and ornament — Chippendale
style
Decoration and ornament — Queen Anne
style
Period subdivisions (1)
Church and state (May Subd Geog)
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
Germany
— History
— — 19th century
— — 1933-1945
— — 1945Ireland
Mexico
…
Period subdivisions (2)
Church and state (May Subd Geog)
—
—
—
—
—
Germany
— History
— — 19th century
— — 1933-1945
— — 1945-
Heading appears in card catalog as:
Church and state — Germany — History — 1945-
Geographic subdivisions (1)
Musical instruments (May Subd Geog)
— Africa
— Andes Region
— Arab countries
— Armenia
— Asia, Central
…
Heading appears in card catalog as:
Musical instruments — Africa
Geographic subdivisions (2)
Musical groups (May Subd Geog)
Heading appears in card catalog as:
Musical groups — Italy
Geographic subdivisions (3)
Construction industry (May Subd Geog)
— Finance
— — Law and legislation (May Subd
Geog)
Allowed headings:
Construction industry — Italy
Construction industry — Italy — Finance
Geographic subdivisions (4)
Construction industry (May Subd Geog)
— Finance
— — Law and legislation (May Subd
Geog)
Allowed heading:
Construction industry — Finance —
Law and legislation — Italy
most specific part that can be
subdivided geographically
Building heading with
geographic subdivision
Construction industry (May Subd Geog)
— Finance
— — Law and legislation (May Subd
Geog)
1) Select or construct heading without place
Construction industry — Finance —
Law and legislation — Italy
3) Add geog. subd.
2) Determine most specific point
where heading can be subdivided
Scope notes
Bongo music
[M146]
Here are entered compositions not in a
specific form or of a specific type for one
performer playing bongos, and collections
of music in several forms or types for one
performer playing bongos.
scope note
Class references
Asteroids (Not Subd Geog)
[QB377-QB379 (Planetary
theory)]
[QB516 (Observations for solar
parallax)]
[QB651 (Descriptive astronomy)]
class reference
Subject headings in the card
catalog
Bahamas
— Anniversaries,
etc. — History
Bahamas
Call
— Antiquities
no.
Cole, Octavia Jane
— Description and
travel
A history
of the Bahamas / by Octavia
Jane Cole. — Pittsburgh : Gambit Press,
— History
1975.
127 p. : col. Ill. ; 28 cm.
Bibliography: p. 125-127
1. Bahamas — History I. Title.
Subject headings: MARC format
Bahamas
— Anniversaries, etc.
— Antiquities
— Description and travel
— History
651 0 Bahamas $x History.
Library of Congress Subject
Headings
MARC subject access fields
600 - Subject Added Entry--Personal Name (R)
610 - Subject Added Entry--Corporate Name
(R)
611 - Subject Added Entry--Meeting Name (R)
630 - Subject Added Entry--Uniform Title (R)
648 - Subject Added Entry--Chronological
Term (R)
650 - Subject Added Entry--Topical Term (R)
651 - Subject Added Entry--Geographic Name
(R)
MARC record with subject headings
100 1_ |a Johnson, Whittington Bernard, |d 1931245 10 |a Race relations in the Bahamas, 17841834 : |b the nonviolent transformation
from a slave to a free society / |c
Whittington B. Johnson.
260 __ |a Fayetteville : |b University of Arkansas
Press, |c c2000.
300 __ |a xxi, 250 p. : |b ill. ; |c 24 cm.
440 _0 |a Black community studies
504 __ |a Includes bibliographical references (p.
205-241) and index.
650 _0 |a Free Blacks |z Bahamas |x History.
651 _0 |a Bahamas |x Race relations.
651 _0 |a Bahamas |x History.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, Lecture 1