This resource attempts to describe the principles that underlie the structure of the Library of Congress subject headings system and the policies that govern the assignment of subject headings to LC MARC records.
Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are increasingly seen as 'the' English language controlled vocabulary, despite their lack of a theoretical foundation, and their evident US bias. In mapping exercises between national subject heading lists, and in exercises in digital resource organization and management, LCSH are often chosen because of the lack of any other widely accepted English language standard for subject cataloguing. It is therefore important that the basic nature of LCSH, their advantages, and their limitations, are well understood both by LIS practitioners and those in the wider information community. Information professionals who attended library school before 1995 - and many more recent library school graduates - are unlikely to have had a formal introduction to Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Paraprofessionals who undertake cataloguing are similarly unlikely to have enjoyed an induction to the broad principles of LCSH. This is the first compact guide to LCSH written from a UK viewpoint. Key topics include: • background and history of LCSH • subject heading lists • structure and display in LCSH • form of entry • application of LCSH • document analysis • main headings • topical, geographical and free-floating sub-divisions • building compound headings • name headings • headings for literature, art, music, history and law • LCSH in the online environment. Readership: There is a strong emphasis throughout on worked examples and practical exercises in the application of the scheme, and a full glossary of terms is supplied. No prior knowledge or experience of subject cataloguing is assumed. This is an indispensable guide to LCSH for practitioners and students alike.