Using Library of Congress Subject Headings
Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) complement the Library of
Congress Classification, a system of grouping books with similar topics. Subject
headings are those words assigned to books that describe what the book is about.
You can use the Library of Congress Subject Headings to help choose appropriate
words or subject headings to search in WorldCat UMD, and
Suppose that you are writing a paper about sports. Look up
"sports" in the Library of Congress Subject Headings books,
located by any UM library information desk. You will see this:
Sports (May Subd Geog)
Physical education and training
Sports under military services, e.g.,
United States. Army --Sports; and under ethnic groups
Age and sports
What it means:
- "May Subd Geog" (next to the word "Sports") stands for "may be
subdivided geographically." In other words, it might be possible to search
specifically for aquatic sports in California, for example. This subject search
could be done in the Catalog by keying in the terms "aquatic sports California."
- UF stands for "Used For." This means that the subject
heading "sports" is used to find information on "field sports," "past times,"
and "recreations" as well as "sports."
- BT stands for "Broader Terms." In the example above, "BT
Recreation" signifies that the term "recreation" can be used in a subject search
if the term "sports" is too specific for your needs. The broader term
"recreation" is moregeneralthan the term "sports."
- RT stands for "Related Terms." These terms are neither
broader or narrower than the term "sports," but may be used to find more
material related to sports.
- SA stands for "See Also." This reference gives hints for
finding information related to your topic within other subject headings.
- NT stands for "Narrower Terms." These are subject search
terms that can be used to find material on more specific topics, or sub-topics
of the subject "sports."
- Other terms can be tagged on to the subject headings to narrow your subject
search. These terms are preceded by dashed lines (--) in LCSH. For example,
under sports some of the subtopics provided are "--Accidents," "--Economic
aspects," and "--Rules."