Tag Archives: Subject headings

Take a look at VIAF (the virtual international authority file)

As all catalogers know, name and subject authorities differ from country to country.  That is why your library has to set the ground rules for which authority file you are going to follow and stick with that one.

Just in case you were unaware, there exists a virtual international authority file (VIAF) in which you can search a name or subject and get all the various authorities associated with that topic/name.

For example I searched my favorite novelist, Ruth Rendell.  Here is the result of my search:viaf capture



Sewing NOT Dressmaking


Just cataloged an instructional DVD titled “Sewing beyond the basics: kitchen accessories”.  The DVD includes a bonus CD-ROM with patterns.

I wanted to add the subject heading: 150 — |aSewing|vPatterns  but this is invalid.

Instead it is a reference for 150 — |aDressmaking|vPatterns  or

sewing-machine-close-up150 — |aTailoring|vPatterns

the DVD’s accompanying patterns are NOT about dressmaking – they are about sewing kitchen accessories.


I catalog a lot of fiction.  A popular topic  involves the historic Christian military order the Knights Templar – an organization that existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle AgesKnights Templar

When cataloging works about this historic order I notice that a lot of libraries incorrectly use the subject heading:

Knights Templar (Masonic order)  n 80001259

which is an international philanthropic group affiliated with Freemasonry

For works about the historic Christian military order of the Knights Templar the correct subject heading is:

Templars    n 80113860

These groups are easily confused.  I hope this posting sheds some light on this topic…



Cataloging Service Bulletins: do you miss them?

ImageI mourn the discontinuation of the Cataloging Service Bulletins.  I found them to be a vital resource for keeping up-to-date on new and changed subject headings and name authorities.  The Library of Congress site states that they are a discontinued publication. All back issues are available (in html) for free, but we need NEW issues.

Do you miss them as much as I do???

Survival SH change

Survival GuideA wee ‘heads-up’ to the fact that LC has changed the subject heading Survival skills to Survival.

See the LC authority dated July 29, 2011

LC control no.: sh 85130882
LCCN permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/sh 85130882
HEADING: Survival
000 00598cz a2200217n 450
001 4779704
005 20110729121600.0
008 860211i| anannbabn |a ana
010 __ |a sh 85130882 |z sh 85130878 |z sj 96006221
035 __ |a (DLC)sh 85130882
035 __ |a (DLC)8554065
035 __ |a (DLC)sp 85130882
035 __ |a (DLC)491711
040 __ |a DLC |c DLC |d DLC
053 _0 |a GF86
150 __ |a Survival
450 __ |w nne |a Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc.
450 __ |w nne |a Survival skills
906 __ |t 1109 |u tc03 |v 0
952 __ |a 423 bib. records to be changed
953 __ |a xx00 |b td13

Queens of England?

Always confusing is the England vs. Great Britain issue in subject cataloguing.    When cataloguing works of history you cannot use England–History, rather the rule is to use Great Britain–History.

However… What about Queens?  Former practice was to subdivide Queens by Great Britain.  Now it would appear that the Library of Congress have changed their minds.  I searched under Queens–England–Biography in the LC catalogue and found 22 records attached all with dates 2004 onwards.

I did not catch the LCRI update that mentions this change and would appreciate it if anyone can direct me to the correct document.

My library has made a local decision to use Queens–England  for works about queens BEFORE the year 1707  (the year Scotland was united with England and Wales to form Great Britain)   For queens after the year 1707 we will use the subdivision Great Britain.

Family relationships


Today I came across an instance which gave me a little ‘project’ to do.



I noticed when cataloguing an item that there were two similar subject heading strings in our database:

Drug addicts–United States–Family relationships


Drug addicts–Family relationships–United States

Obviously only one was correct.  So… I looked up Family relationships and found that it had this lovely little note after it (May Subd Geog) which alerted me to the fact that the second instance above is the correct one.

I wondered if it was something I should be concerned about.  I then searched subject keyword Family relationships and found that there were 80 instances in our database where the place was input before Family relationships incorrectly.  Another project…. just what I need.  😉   Since many of these records were imported from other libraries, I thought I’d give you a ‘heads up’.

The rule is:

Place $z geographic subdivisions after the last subject heading or subdivision that can be subdivided geographically.