Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is used by more libraries worldwide than any other controlled vocabulary system. Yet, many librarians and paraprofessional staff do not have any formal education or training in LCSH. They find themselves having to decipher or construct LCSH strings and don’t know where to begin.
Here’s a resource that uses language non-catalogers can understand and provides hands-on, user-friendly training in LCSH.
Here Karen Snow transfers her popular LCSH workshops and continuing education courses to book form for those who can’t attend her courses.
This book offers material on the basics of subject analysis, the importance of controlled vocabularies, and the main features and principles of LCSH. It explains and provides guidance on the application of LCSH. Library of Congress’ instruction manual for LCSH, the Subject Headings Manual, is discussed at length.
Several chapters concentrate on assigning LCSH to resources of a certain focus or genre: fiction works, biographical works (or works that focus heavily on a certain person or their works), and resources that emphasize a geographic location. A separate chapter on encoding subject information in the Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) standard will be particularly useful for library staff.
Most chapters contain exercises (with answers at the end of the book) that test a reader’s understanding of the chapter material and provide opportunities to practice applying LCSH and subdivisions.
Karen Snow is an associate professor and PhD program director in the School of Information Studies at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois. She teaches cataloging, classification, and metadata courses and has written many journal articles on cataloging topics and cataloging education. She is the author of A Practical Guide to Library of Congress Classification published in 2017. Snow holds a Master’s degree in library science and a PhD in information science from the University of North Texas (UNT), where she cataloged for UNT’s main library, the Rare Book Room, and the University Archives.Snow has taught many LCSH workshops to continuing education groups and teaches LCSH in her courses at Dominican.
Chapter 1 - Library of Congress Subject Headings in a Nutshell
Chapter 2 - Basic Principles of Subject Analysis
Chapter 3 - Searching and Browsing LCSH in Classification Web
Chapter 4 - Subdivisions and Free-Floating Subdivisions
Chapter 5 - MARC Coding of LCSH
Chapter 6 - The Subject Headings Manual (SHM)
Chapter 7 - Geographic Subject Headings and Subdivisions
Chapter 8 - Personal Name Subject Headings and Biographies
Chapter 9 - Fiction
Chapter 10 - Conclusion; LCSH Resources
Appendix A: Answers to End-of-Chapter Exercises
Appendix B: Free-Floating Subdivisions: Form and Topical
Appendix C: Free-Floating Subdivisions: Names of Places
Appendix D: Free-Floating Subdivisions: Names of Persons
Snow masterfully analyzes the Library of Congress subject headings, which libraries worldwide use to indicate topics for library resources. Snow delves into the subject in a straightforward way, providing plenty of exercises and examples to explain the concepts and functionality of subject headings, even to non-catalogers. In a simple and methodical style, she helps readers construct complicated strings of subjects that include several subdivisions, such as topical, form, chronological, and geographic. She delineates the history, components, scope, relationships, and patterns of subject headings, thereby covering the fundamentals and intricacies of subject headings. Of particular interest to library staff will be her explanation of MARC coding for subjects. Particularly noteworthy is the chapter on usage of the classification web tool to explain hierarchical, associative, and equivalence relationships; classification numbers; and free-floating subdivisions. Snow's analysis and application of the Subject Headings Manual takes readers' understanding to the next level. This book provides guidelines for correct usage and in-depth knowledge of constructing subject headings. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty, professionals, and students in two-year programs.
Snow once again offers a straight-forward, uncomplicated discussion of a long-standing cataloging resource. Applying the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is not without its challenges, but Snow provides readable explanations that cover both the why and how of subject analysis and exercises that explain the application of LSCH for subject representation within the catalog system. This text is ideal for use in cataloging and classification courses or for the practicing librarian seeking to expand their understanding of subject analysis and subject cataloging skills.
Learning how to assign Library of Congress Subject Headings can be quite challenging. Karen Snow provides a knowledgeable introduction to LCSH with clear instruction and helpful exercises that break down complicated concepts. This book would help students and practitioners understand how this important tool provides subject access to collections.
Accessibly written for students and practitioners. The chapter on free-floating subdivisions, which so often perplexes students, provides a straight-forward explanation for one of LCSH’s more complicated facets. This is a must-have text for anyone learning or applying subject analysis.
After reading this textbook the reader will have acquired a strong foundational knowledge of how to find and assign LCSH. In conclusion, I highly recommend this book for every person starting their cataloguing journey.
The author has taught many LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) workshops—and it shows. The inexperienced person shouldn’t experience any difficulty finding their way around this book - it is very well laid out, concentrated and succinct. It clearly points out any areas of confusion or error. Non-catalogers will understand the language used (there is a glossary at the end) and the style is user-friendly throughout. The chapters are just the right length. Some concepts can be quite challenging; however, the material is delivered almost like a discussion which helps to build up confidence…. After reading this textbook the reader will have acquired a strong foundational knowledge of how to find and assign LCSH. In conclusion, I highly recommend this book for every person starting their cataloging journey.