Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)

Authored by: Janis L. Young

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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Development of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) began in 1898 and the first edition was published in parts between 1909 and 1914. LCSH has undergone many changes over the years, so today’s vocabulary—the most widely used subject vocabulary in the world—is quite different from what its initial developers envisioned. This article provides overviews of the current features of LCSH and the application of headings. It then discusses and evaluates several policy revisions made since the 1970s to take advantage of technology and to simplify cataloging. A final section describes several adjustments to LCSH that are being planned and executed, including those intended to increase LCSH’s viability as linked data.

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