1. General rule (how-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to the work being cataloged)
2. Cataloging treatment (how-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) corresponding to the cataloging treatment of the work)
3. Number of headings (what is the number of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) required in a catalog record)
4. Specificity (in assigning Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
5. Depth of indexing (how-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) that most closely correspond to the overall coverage of the work)
6. General topic and subtopic; principle vs. specific case (how-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) if a work discusses a general topic with emphasis on a particular subtopic, or presents a principle and illustrates the principle with a specific case or example)
7. Two or three related headings (how-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) if a heading exists, or can be established, that represents the two or three topics discussed in a work)
8. Rule of three (when it is appropriate to assign up-to three Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
9. Rule of four (when it is appropriate to assign up-to four Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
10. Multi-element topics (How-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) if a work discusses a complex or compound topic for which a single heading neither exists nor can be practically constructed or established)
11. Additional aspects (How-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) with important additional aspects, such as limitation to a specific place or time, focus on specific named entities, and presentation in a particular form)
12. Concepts in titles (How-to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to bring out concepts in titles and subtitles)
13. Additional headings (How-to assign additional Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) which are required because of the complex nature of certain topics, or special practices that have been developed for particular topics)
14. Objectivity (Principle to avoid assigning Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) that label topics or express personal value judgments regarding topics or materials)
15. Constructing headings (Examples of different types of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
16. Complete subject heading strings with subdivisions (Addition of subdivisions to Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to complete subject heading strings)
Major Steps in the subject cataloging process: Principles of SLAM
To remember the major steps in the subject cataloging process, think of the word SLAM:
- Scan (First, scan the subject-rich portions of the item: Title page, table of contents, preface, introduction, text, bibliography, index, dust jacket, container, label, title screen)
- Look for (Look for key words and concepts that describe what the resource is about. Is it in a particular form (bibliography, encyclopedia, fiction) – or, beginning to think in terms of LCSH, will this item need a form heading or subdivision? What is the author’s intent? Is there an intended audience or special viewpoint? For example, if you are cataloging legal materials, is the item intended for the legal profession or for the general public? (In LCSH the form subdivision –Popular works is used under legal topics to distinguish resources intended for a general audience.)
- Ask yourself (Ask yourself what the resource is about. Is one topic discussed, or several? If several, are the topics discussed in relation to each other, or separately? Is one predominant? Is there a specific object, product, condition, or phenomenon? Is an action or process involved? Is there a focus on a particular place – will you need a geographic heading or subdivision? Is there a focus on a particular time – will you need a chronological heading or subdivision? Is there a focus on a particular person or other named entity – will you need to have a subject heading for a name?)
- Mentally compose (Mentally compose a statement beginning: “This resource is about….”)
- Search LCSH (You may begin directly in LCSH. Follow USE references to identify the authorized heading for a concept, and consider the approaches shown in See Also references. Use the hierarchical reference structure of broader and narrower terms to help you identify the most specific heading for your topic. Scope notes can help you decide whether or not a particular heading should be used for your topic. Keyword search capability (as in Classification Web) can be a great help in identifying subject headings.)
- Search in library catalogs or utilities to find similar items; examine subject headings assigned (You may find it helpful to begin by searching bibliographic records in library catalogs or utilities. Keyword searches can be useful in identifying resources on the same or similar topics, and you can then examine the subject headings that have been applied for ideas on where to begin.)
- Search authority files (You may prefer to begin searching for subject headings in the authority file.)
Note: The print-ready PDF file of SHM Instruction Sheet H 180 is available from the Library of Congress website. Links to SHM file H 180 can also be had from Cataloger's Reference Directory of RDA Blog.
Note: There are certain works to which the Library of Congress assigns no subject headings because of their very general or amorphous nature, for example, a general periodical or a collection of essays with no discernable theme. In addition, it is Library of Congress practice not to assign subject headings to texts of sacred works or to individual works of belles lettres with no identifiable theme or specific form (cf. H 1775 sec. 3.c.).
Note: As many as ten Children's Subject Headings (formerly called Annotated Card Program (AC) headings) may be assigned to a juvenile work in addition to the assigned Library of Congress subject headings.
Title: Beginning gymnastics.650 #0 $a Gymnastics.[Do not assign separate headings for parallel bars, balance beam, horizontal beam, vaulting horse, tumbling, etc., instead of, or in addition to, Gymnastics.]
Title: Revolutions yesterday and today.[A survey of revolutions with emphasis on the Cuban Revolution of 1959]650 #0 $a Revolutions $x History.651 #0 $a Cuba $x History $y Revolution, 1959.
Title: By land, sea, and air : the story of transportation.650 #0 $a Transportation $x History.
Title: In praise of single parents : mothers and fathers embracing the challenge.650 #0 $a Single parents $z United States.
[not 650 #0 $a Single mothers $z United States.650 #0 $a Single fathers $z United States.]
Title: South Carolina fruit tree survey, 1975 : peaches-apples.650 #0 $a Peach $z South Carolina $v Statistics.650 #0 $a Apples $z South Carolina $v Statistics.
Title: Cancer morbidity and mortality among Danish brewery workers.
650 #0 $a Cancer $z Denmark.650 #0 $a Cancer $x Mortality $z Denmark.650 #0 $a Brewery workers $x Diseases $z Denmark.650 #0 $a Brewery workers $x Mortality $z Denmark.
Title: Lipid metabolism in ruminant animals.650 #0 $a Ruminants $x Metabolism.650 #0 $a Lipids $x Metabolism.
a. Place. Geographic features and jurisdictions can play a key role in the contents of a work in terms of location, setting, derivation, or origin, and need to be reflected in the assigned headings. See H 690 - H 910 for instruction sheets on geographic headings and subdivisions, and H 320 and H 350 for guidelines on national adjectival qualifiers in subject headings.
b. Time. Express the chronological aspects significant to the contents of the work in situations where the Library of Congress subject heading system allows it. See H 620 for a discussion of chronological headings and subdivisions.
c. Named entities. Assign headings from either the name authority file or subject authority file for individual persons, families, corporate bodies, projects, events, buildings, named products, uniform titles, etc., that are significant to the contents of the work. Assign headings of this type when these named entities are critical to the subject of the work as a whole, even if discussion of them does not form 20% of the work. See H 430 for instructions on assigning name headings as subjects and H 405 for a discussion of which file to consult to find authority records for ambiguous named entities.
d. Form. Assign form headings and subdivisions to represent what the item itself is, that is, its format or the particular type or arrangement of data that it contains, in situations where headings or subdivisions for these types of materials exist, and it is Library of Congress practice to designate them. Consult the instruction sheets for particular types of materials in the Subject Headings Manual, for example, dictionaries (H 1540); genealogy (H 1631); illustrations (H 1659); juvenile materials (H 1690); software (H 2070); treaties (H 2227).
- If the title is misleading, euphemistic, or cryptic, do not use the title as a guide to the contents of the work.
- If the topic is one that as a matter of policy is not expressed in subject headings, do not bring out this aspect in the assigned subject headings. For example, do not assign specific headings to reflect a narrow time period in the history of a village. Instead, apply a general free-floating century subdivision (cf. H 620, sec. 3.d.(1)).
- If the title is general but the work is actually on a more specific topic, assign heading(s) for the specific topic.
- If many topics are listed on the title page in the manner of a table of contents, treat them as a table of contents.
- Simple nouns: Children; Dogs; Libraries
- Compound nouns: Bioengineering; Electrometallurgy
- Nouns with parenthetical qualifiers: Seals (Animals); Crack (Drug)
- Nouns with adjectives: Gifted children; Wild dogs; Academic libraries; Sculpture, American; Science, Ancient
- Phrases with prepositions: Teachers of gifted children; Photography of dogs; Photocopying services in libraries
- Compound phrases: Children and animals; Bolts and nuts; Comic strips, books, etc.
- Complex phrases: Names carved on trees; Infants switched at birth; Monkeys as aids for people with disabilities
- Topical, name, or form/genre headings with subdivisions: Taxation--Effect of inflation on; United States--Civilization--African American influences; Woodwind trios (Bassoon, clarinet, flute)--Scores and parts
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